Northern Ireland

Primary school testing 'fraught with problems'

school Image copyright PA

New computer-based assessments of primary school pupils between 2012 and 2013 were fraught with problems, according to a review.

It was carried out by two independent consultants and strongly criticised the NILA and NINA tests

Several factors were said to have contributed to the problems.

These included the test being brought in too quickly, with too little consultation with schools.

The aim of the review was to identify the factors that had contributed to the problems associated with the implementation of the tests.

It said there was little evidence of checks being carried out to see if schools had enough computers to run the tests successfully.

The review also said that when technical support was needed, it was very slow in coming, almost 18 months.

The report also said there was resistance and concern in schools because principals and teachers feared the tests would be used for selecting pupils for grammar schools, when the 11-plus was scrapped.

The assessments were introduced in 900 primary schools in September, 2012, but hundreds of primary schools complained about the online tests.

The Department of Education paid almost £1m in that year to run the tests, which were designed to check on pupils' literacy and numeracy progress.

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