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The European Commission White Paper on education and training "Teaching and Learning: Towards the Learning Society" which was approved by the Commission in November 1995 has five general objectives, the first of which is to "encourage the acquisition of new knowledge" (objective 1): http://ec.europa.eu/education/doc/official/keydoc/lb-en.pdf.
The White paper states that a multitude of incentives to learn must be provided, and launched an action concerning the recognition of skills at the European level as one of the ways to provide these incentives.
As part of this "Objective 1" of the White Paper, the European Chemistry Thematic Network was awarded a contract for a project entitled "The Evaluation of Core Chemistry".
The common content of first degree courses in chemistry (Core Chemistry) in all EU Member States in the areas physical chemistry, organic chemistry inorganic chemistry, and analytical chemistry have been identified (http://www.fci.unibo.it/~corechem = the webpage has been moved, visit us later to find out the new address).
Computer-based tests have been designed to evaluate competence in these areas.
Tests have also been designed to evaluate competence in general chemistry at two levels - a level equivalent to that of a person at the end of compulsory education (level 1), and a level equivalent to that of someone about to commence a university course in chemistry (level 2).
The tests are available in many languages.
The chemistry project is one of 16 projects funded by the European Commission. For general details about the other projects please consult the website http://www.cpe.fr/ceetok/ (Attention: this is the online archive of the website, provided for information only, as the last updated version was released on July 2003 at the end of this special project period = we can not anymore guarantee functional links from within these webpages = sorry for any inconvenience).
The national curricula at Level 3 have been published as a book "ECTN, Core Chemistry Group, National Reports 1997 & 1998" edited by Prof. Paolo TODESCO from the University of Bologna (Italy).
The tests are being produced using commercially available software QuestionMark Designer for Windows and now QuestionMark Perception for the Internet: http://www.questionmark.com/.
Several types of questions are available: multiple choice, multiple response, numeric, selection, text, graphical 'hot-spot', and problem solving. The software being used will also allow for detailed analyses of the responses to questions.
Attention, in order to display correctly the non-Latin languages, you need to set up an Internet browser allowing the use of the UTF Font encoding, and the question by question delivery mode.
Funded by the European Commission, these demonstrator versions (either on the Windows CD-Rom or available on-line) are samples of the full question database developed and translated by the ECTN (European Chemistry Thematic Network). This is the result of the collaboration of more than 100 departments or institutions of Chemistry from over 30 countries, first by thedefinition of the "Core Chemistry" and then by the creation of the database itself.
We thank all the people who took the time to create, to write, to check, to send comments and advice; those who run the pre-testing allowing us to improve the quality of our database, as well as those who joined us and will join us in the future, and those who will help us either to develop our product or the Association.
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