Standardised testing

 

Standardised tests are used to measure a child’s reading and mathematical achievement, and to determine children’s progress in those areas. Information from the tests is important given the vital role of literacy and numeracy in enabling children to access the full curriculum.

All primary schools are required by the Department of Education and Skills (Circular  0056/2011) to administer standardised tests. Arrangements for standardised testing are set out below.

  • English medium schools are required to administer standardised testing in English reading and Mathematics during the period May/June for all students in 2nd, 4th and 6th classes on an annual basis with effect from 2012 onwards.

  • Irish medium schools are required to administer standardised testing in Irish reading, English reading and Mathematics during the period May/June for all students in 2nd, 4th and 6th classes on an annual basis with effect from 2012 onwards.

Support materials

Information sheets for parents
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The information sheets for parents entitled Your Child and Standardised Testing explain the meaning of standardised test scores and answer other frequently asked questions about standardised testing. Separate information sheets for STen and standard score are available in a range of languages.

In accordance with the Department of Education and Skills (Circular  0056/2011) schools should provide parents with copies of the explanatory information sheet when issuing written reports.

Standardised testing and infant classes
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Many schools opt to administer standardised tests for children in classes in addition to 2nd, 4th and 6th. Whole class standardised testing is inappropriate for infant classes. The results of whole class standardised tests are unreliable for children at this early stage in their learning and development.

Click here for more information including suggestions on screening and diagnostic tests that teachers of infant classes may find useful.
Analysis tool for schools
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The easy to use Excel tool for schools was developed by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and supports the analysis of standardised test scores. The graphed scores promote discussion and analysis of the whole-school data in support of decisions about actions that may need to be taken to improve achievement levels.

This link takes you to the analysis tool on the PDST website.

More Information
con2Find out more about standardised tests and how they are part of a continuum of assessment methods used by teachers in making decisions about a child’s progress and achievement.  The extract is taken from Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum: Guidelines for Schools (2007)

 

Downloads and related links

Supporting Assessment: Standardised Testing in Primary Schools, Circular letter 0018/2012. Department of Education and Skills, 2012 (PDF, 270KB)
Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum: Guidelines for schools (2007)
Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum: Guidelines for Schools (2007) BROWSABLE VERSION
Advice on Standardised Testing in Compulsory Schooling (2005) (PDF,225 KB)
Department of Education and Skills, Circular  0056/2011(PDF 179KB)