Thursday, 9 July 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
1187. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the progress made in regard to the commitment given in the programme for Government to ensure that all children are tested in literacy and numeracy at two stages during their primary school education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29445/09]
Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): My Department issued Circular 0138/2006 in December 2006 to primary schools requesting that they ensure that standardised testing is implemented on an annual basis for all pupils in English reading and Mathematics at the end of first class or the beginning of second class, and at the end of fourth class or the beginning of fifth class, beginning in the calendar year 2007.
The introduction of the measure was supported by a national programme of teacher professional development in assessment for learning. Grants of €1.65m, €1.7m and €1.76m issued to schools in December 2006, December 2007 and December 2008 for the cost of test materials, teachers’ manuals, test scoring services or test-related software.
The implementation of standardised testing at school level is being complemented by a separate programme of national monitoring so that national trends in different categories of school can be tracked over time. Schools in the DEIS programme have already been sampled by the Educational Research Centre for this purpose, the sample of English medium schools has been undertaken this year, and Irish medium schools will be sampled in 2010. The development work for this was completed in 2008.
Guidelines on assessment developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment were published in October 2007 and issued to all teachers to assist schools in developing and implementing a policy on assessment practice in classrooms and on reporting to parents.
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