During your child’s time in primary school he or she will complete standardised Numeracy and Literacy tests towards the end of every school year. In our school, we administer the Micra-T standardised test for English reading and the Sigma-T standardised test for Maths for 1st to 6th class.  The results of these are presented to you in your child’s end-of-year report. Adapted from information on the website for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, here we explain what standardised tests are and how they can help your child’s learning.

Further information about the standardised testing can be found here at the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s website. However, if you have any questions, we would be delighted to answer these.

 

A standardised test is another kind of test. The standardised tests in English reading and maths measure a child’s achievement compared to other children in all schools at the same class level or age level. This English reading test gives information about how well your child can understand what he or she has read and these are not used to test your child’s written or spoken English. The maths test finds out how well your child can use numbers for different purposes and solve maths problems.
As the standardised tests are based on the curriculum, there are different levels of the tests which relate to your child’s age and the curriculum for that class level. For example, a child in 3rd class will sit the test appropriate for his or her age and class level.
Standardised tests are not intelligence tests. The main purposes of using standardised tests are to help the teacher plan your child’s learning, and to inform you about how well your child is doing in English reading, maths and Irish reading. When the test scores are used alongside other information gathered by the teacher through observing your child at work, talking with him or her and looking at his or her work, they show how your child is getting on in English reading and maths, and this helps the teacher to identify your child’s strengths and needs.
Standardised tests are used
  • - to report to you as a parent on your child’s achievement in English reading and maths
  • - to help to find out if your child has learning difficulties in English reading and maths and so that the school can put appropriate supports in place
  • - to help to find out if your child is a high achiever in English reading and maths so that appropriate learning experiences can be provided for him/her
  • - to help your child’s teacher plan for further learning across the curriculum because your child’s achievement in English reading, maths and Irish reading is important for all of his or her learning.
A small number of children might not take the tests. For example, if your child’s first language is not English, the teacher may decide that he or she should not take the English reading test. Your child may, however, take the maths test. If your child has a learning or physical disability, the teacher may decide not to give the test but to use a different way to check on your child’s progress. In all cases, the teacher will use the information he or she has about your child to decide whether or not your child should take the English reading or the maths test.
No. Standardised tests are one source of information about your child’s achievement in English reading and maths. The teacher gathers information about your child’s learning all the time. Your child will take the standardised tests on a regular school day as part of the daily work in the classroom. Indeed, your child may not even realise he or she has taken the tests!
Your child’s class teacher will share the test results with you in the end-of-year school report.

STen score

What the score means

Approximate proportion of children who get this score

8-10 Well above average

1/6

7 High average

1/6

5-6 Average

1/3

4 Low average

1/6

1-3 Well below average

1/6

A STen score of 1, 2 or 3 suggests that your child may have difficulties in English reading or in maths. One test score by itself does not give a complete picture of your child’s learning in English reading and maths.

The teacher might decide to gather more information about your child from other tests, as well as his/her observations in class. You too will have additional information from helping your child with homework, and hearing him/her talking about schoolwork. The teacher may ask the learning support teacher to look at your child’s test scores and other assessment information. They may decide that your child would benefit from extra support with reading or maths. However, if this were the case, you would be involved in all steps in this process.

A high score on the test may suggest that your child is a high achiever in English reading or maths. As with low scores, one high score is not enough to confirm this. Your child’s teacher will use information from other classroom assessments to understand more clearly how well your child is doing in English reading, maths and Irish reading.

You know your child best. No matter what the score is, you play an important role in encouraging your child to do his or her best, and in helping your child with English reading and maths. If the score is low and your child needs extra help with reading or maths, it may be helpful to talk to him or her about this and to see the help in a positive way.

Further information about the standardized testing can be found here at the NCCA’s website. However, as always, if you have any questions, we would be delighted to answer these.