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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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Student assessment

At the end of compulsory schooling, pupils are assessed in a system of external examinations leading to qualifications recognised throughout the United Kingdom. New pupil assessment procedures support the further implementation of the Northern Ireland curriculum. Teachers are responsible for pupil assessment and must report to parents on their child’s progress on at least an annual basis. A set of learning standards (Levels of Progression) has been developed to support a coherent assessment of pupil progress across Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 in cross-curricular skills. Central computer-based assessments are offered to primary schools to support pupil assessment in Communication and Using Mathematics.

English

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