A Thuistí, a chairde,
During May, standardised tests will be carried out in Scoil Uí Cheithearnaigh with all pupils from Rang 1 – Rang 6 in English Reading, Spelling and Numeracy agus Gaeilge.
Standardised Tests are independently set and marked and must be used by schools throughout the country. The most widely used standardised tests are the Drumcondra Tests and Micra-T/Sigma-T tests.
Please remember that as the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) states, Standardised Tests are NOT intelligence tests and their main purpose is to help a teacher identify strengths and weaknesses in individual pupils and to offer some guidance to parents. Standardised tests are only one of a number of ways that we monitor and measure a child’s progress.
They are not an “end of year” test (in some schools they are carried out in Autumn). Standardised tests are not designed as to simply test topics covered by curriculum of a class level. Particularly in Maths, tests can contain questions which might be more suitable to a lower or a higher class level. Results can be useful references for teachers and can be used to help identify if a child has a learning difficulty or, indeed, if a child is a high achiever. A teacher can then plan a learning path for individual pupils accordingly.
A standardised test result may highlight an area that a child ordinarily seems to be comfortable with in in class and/or at home – and may need to be monitored further in that area.
In summary, standardised tests are only one of a wide range of assessment tools used by teachers and results should not be interpreted in isolation.
Procedures for Testing:
The ‘standard’ procedure for administering and correcting the tests is clearly outlined and must be adhered to by any school that administers that test. Teachers do not prepare children for the test – they must not and should not ‘teach with the test in mind’, as this would distort the results. The ‘standard’ manner in which a test is scored must be adhered to by the correcting teacher.
Results may be shared with parents, but schools should not share the corrected test booklet with pupils or parents. The corrected test booklet is kept securely on file for 12 months, after which it is securely destroyed. Test results are recorded in a child’s file, which in accordance with Data Protection Legislation, schools must store securely until a child is 26 years of age.
Understanding results – STens & Standard Scores:
A standardised test differs from traditional tests, which measure how many items a child gets right or wrong, e.g., 7 out of 10. Standardised tests use two scoring systems, either a percentile rank or a STen score. In Scoil Uí Cheithearnaigh we report the STen scores – they are expressed in a scale of 1-10. Unlike traditional tests, a score of 6 does not mean that a child gave incorrect answers to 4 out of 10 questions. It means that the child’s performance in the test was the same or better than 6 out of 10 other children of that age in the country.
• A STen score of 5 or 6 is regarded as average and it should be achieved by about one-third of children in Ireland
• A 7 is a high average, achieved by about one-sixth of pupils
• An 8-10 is well above average and also achieved by about one-sixth of pupils.
• One sixth of children score a low average 4
• Another one sixth score 1-3, which is rated well below average.
A score of 1-3 may indicate difficulties in an area and, in such situations, a support teacher may provide extra support to the individual child If your child’s teacher feels that your child’s results suggest a concern in an area, and warrants further discussion with you, the class teacher will already have been in contact with you to discuss this.
Like all other tests, a child’s performance on any given day can be affected by a range of factors, such as feeling unwell. Whether a score is high or low, one score would not necessarily confirm a child’s achievement level. A child’s score will naturally fluctuate from year to year. As well as reporting the outcomes to parents, since 2012 schools are also required to send them onto the Department of Education, which uses the data to monitor national standards.
Children & their Test Results
At the end of May/early June, we will report the results of the Standardised Tests to you. It is up to you, as a parent to decide if you wish to discuss the exact result with your child.
The school would STRONGLY advise that you only discuss results in general terms with pupils – rather than giving them a numeric value. Comments such as “You should be very proud of your results” and “Your hard work paid off” might be more appropriate with young children, than overly (and possibly incorrectly) analysing. You must consider if it will cause undue worry or stress to your child to share a score every year – they may worry about ‘going up’ or ‘going down’ from year to year, when it is perfectly natural for results to do this.
Particularly this year, with all the time spent at ‘Home School’ and the fact that Standardised tests were not administered last year due to Covid-19, it is very important that we don’t do anything to make children worry unduly about school or ‘results’.
If you do choose to share the results with your child, please remind them to keep the results to themselves, and not to share them with their classmates. Test results should NOT be a topic of conversation particularly in the Senior Classes, as it can cause a lot of undue pressure for children. No matter the results, they have all worked hard across the year, and no doubt did their best and should be praised for doing so.
Communicating with Teachers
If you have any concerns or questions, about your child’s standardised test results once they are received, please do not hesitate to contact the class teacher, or
myself to discuss further.
Mise le meas,
Ruairí Ó hAnnluain.
STen Scores explained – DOWNLOAD