Standardised Testing

What are Standardised Tests?  
 
Standardised tests are used to:
  • Report to you as a parent on your child’s achievement in English reading and Maths.
  • Help to find out if your child has learning difficulties in English reading or Maths so that the school can put appropriate supports in place.
  • Help to find out if your child is a high achiever in English reading or Maths so that appropriate learning experiences can be provided for him.
  • Help your child’s teacher plan for further learning across the curriculum because your child’s achievement in English reading and Maths is important for all his learning.
Are Standardised Tests Intelligence Tests?
  
No. 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 and Maths. When the test scores are used alongside other information gathered by the teacher through observing your child at work, talking with him and looking at his work, they show how your child is getting on in English reading and Maths and help the teacher to identify your child’s strengths and needs.
 
When are Standardised Tests carried out?  
 
English-medium schools are required to implement standardised testing in English reading and Maths during the period May/June for all children in 2nd, 4th and 6th classes with effect from 2012 onwards.  
 
How will the results be communicated to parents?
  
Your child’s class teacher will share the test results with you, typically at a parent/teacher meeting or in a school report. You will see the results of the tests on your child’s school report at the end of in 2nd, 4th and 6th classes in the form of a STen score.
 
What is a Percentile Rank?  
 
A percentile score indicates the percentage of pupils that your child did better than in a norming or reference group. Scores range from 1-99.
 
Example 1: A person scoring at the 86th percentile did better than 86% of those in the norming or reference group. (At the relevant class or age group) This student is said to be functioning at the 86th percentile.
 
Example 2: If a student scored in the 66th percentile on a test, that student achieved a score that is higher than 66% of the other students who took the test. So, if 1,000 students took the test, the student in the 66th percentile scored higher than 660 students.
 
Do not confuse percentile scores with percentage correct scores. Percentile Ranks do not indicate the % of test items that your child answered correctly. Percentile scores allow you to compare one student's scores with a group of students who took the test. Percentage correct scores simply reveal the number of items that a student answered correctly out of the total number of items. It is important to note that a large % of pupils fall within the average percentile ranking band as indicated by the diagram below, with a relatively small amount of pupils scoring very high or low on the scale. 
 
 
Should I help prepare my child for these tests?
 
No. 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 his daily work in the classroom. Indeed, your child may not even realise he has taken the tests!  
 
Where can I get more information?
  
A number of relevant online links are available through the ‘Useful Information’ area in the ‘Parent Zone’ of our website, on the NCCA website (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment) or via your child’s Class Teacher. We hope that you have found this information helpful in understanding the purpose of standardised testing and interpreting results!