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The State Matura exam in Croatia: How argumentative essay as an integral part of the Matura Higher English exam improved students’ foreign language literacy

Mihaela Schmidt

Abstract


The purpose of this article is to enrich the EFL teacher’s understanding of the development of educational standards in Croatia with the special focus on Secondary School Leaving Examination the so called State Matura. The external examinations are a widespread phenomenon which has also influenced Croatian educational system. This new type of assessment, which has been used for over a decade now has positively influenced the language competence of the students especially in reading and writing. Henceforth the argumentative essay, which is a crucial part of the English Matura exam at the higher level, has in great part contributed to such positive changes which were also documentd in the Reports issued by the Croatian Center for External Evaluation of Education, whose role is to govern the whole examination process and in the end to subject the tests and its items to psychometric analyses. Statistical data, rating scales and a sample essay included in this article are of great help in other to demonstrate the positive role the argumentative essay plays at the Matura exam and later at a university level .A study which also speaks in favour of this fact is the study conducted by R.M.Helms, in the USA (2008) which stresses the importance of the writing component of the SAT tests as predictors of college grades. Bearing in mind everything mentioned so far a lot of challenges still lie ahed, but the Croatian educational system will for sure yield even more promising results in the future.

Keywords


Argumentative Essay; State Matura Exam ; Foreign Language Literacy

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