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OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

image of OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

This book finds that, in many ways, Northern Ireland stands out internationally with its thoughtfully designed evaluation and assessment framework. The major components are well developed, in particular policies for student assessment, school evaluation and school system evaluation. It has been developed using the majority of key design principles recommended by the OECD. The approach to evaluation and assessment combines: central control over policy development and standard setting; transparency over procedures and reporting of results; an increasing responsibility for the implementation of evaluation and assessment among teachers and schools; and central mechanisms to monitor the effectiveness of implementation. For example, while schools and their Boards of Governors are accountable for their educational quality and are accountable to their communities, school development planning processes are also monitored as part of external school evaluation by a central inspectorate. Teachers play a central role in student assessment and their assessment of pupil progress against central standards is moderated by a central agency which engages working teachers in the process. Teachers in primary schools are offered central diagnostic tests to support their assessment of pupil progress. Only teacher appraisal remains entirely school based, but there is a set of common competence standards for teachers.

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School evaluation

For many years, schools have been required to undertake school development planning and offered supporting tools, but recent policies aim to strengthen the role of selfevaluation. A well established system of external school evaluation incorporates quality assurance and transparency of procedures and results. Since 2010, the Education and Training Inspectorate is rolling out a more proportionate and risk-based approach to school inspection, which puts an increased focus on school self-evaluation. The Department of Education produces comparative school performance measures that feed into school evaluation and are used to promote school system improvement. A Formal Intervention Process allows the Department to intervene more actively in schools that are identified as in need of improvement. There is a proposal to reorganise traditional school support services within a new Education and Skills Authority

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