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Organisational models of gymnasium in Poland

In 1999, as a result of reforms of the education system, a new type of lower secondary school, called gymnasium, was introduced in Poland. The main objectives of introducing the gymnasium were to equalize the educational opportunities of rural youth, improve the level of education and extend general education by one year. The reformers envisioned gymnasiums as an autonomous school, located in new, well-equipped buildings, or as schools functioning alongside existing secondary schools. After 16 years of operation, four structural models of gymnasiums evolved: autonomous gymnasium, aggregate gymnasium in a complex with a primary school, gymnasium in a complex with a primary school having the same catchment area, and gymnasium with upper secondary school. The article investigates the differences in the organisational characteristics for each model of gymnasium, educational outcomes from different types of school, and their geographic distribution. Results show that even though gymnasiums in a complex with an upper secondary school attain on average the best results on the gymnasium completion exam, the highest scores in teaching effectiveness are achieved by gymnasiums in complexes with a primary school having the same catchment area.

Jan Herczyński, Aneta Sobotka, Educational Research Institute

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