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

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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.



Teacher appraisal

The Performance Review and Staff Development Scheme (PRSD) is a comprehensive teacher appraisal system for all teachers in grant aided schools, based on a number of internationally recognised good principles. The annual process involves two lesson observations, a discussion of these observations between the reviewer and the teacher, and an action plan with objectives for personal and professional development in the following year. Teachers also get feedback during school inspections. A registration system confirms a teacher’s eligibility to teach, but does not involve an appraisal of the teacher’s performance or correspond to a step within the teacher’s career.


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