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Press Releases 2016

Cautious Welcome for Revised Pupil Assessments

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has issued a cautious welcome to the Ministerial correspondence to schools relating to the End of Key Stage assessment arrangements for 2015/16.

Mr Gerry Murphy, Northern Secretary of INTO, said the Minister’s letter is another step in the rebuilding of the confidence of teachers in the assessment process. The search for an effective assessment process to support the Revised Curriculum has been difficult and challenging. The previous proposals have damaged the confidence of teachers that their voices would be heard and that assessment arrangements would reflect their professional input.

Gerry Murphy emphasised ‘INTO engaged in the Ministerial lead discussions positively and with an aim of developing an assessment system that was ‘workload proofed’ and ‘fit for purpose’.  As a result of our engagement we have secured significant changes to the previous proposals for the end of key stage assessment which were roundly rejected by the teaching profession.’ 

Mr Murphy continued,

‘The excessive workload generated by pupil portfolios and a heavy overbearing moderation process have been replaced with a process where schools submit internally agreed samples of work to demonstrate their understanding of the Levels of Progression.’

It has always been INTO’s view that assessment is a task best performed by teachers, and the Minister’s acknowledgment of this is a welcome step in repairing the damage in relation to pupil assessment arrangements  in the past.

Mr Murphy further welcomed the Minister’s commitment on limiting the use of the system level data collation.

Mr Murphy concluded,

‘As a result of these successfully negotiated changes INTO issued a new directive to members.  Members have been instructed to attend training, submit data if involved in Shared Education Signature Project and to only be involved in moderation when they had volunteered to do so.’

INTO continues to have significant concerns about two other areas of assessment:

  • The operation of the assessment process at Key Stage 3;
  • The relevance of the current ICT model and the availability of appropriate hardware, software and connectivity.

INTO will continue to review to keep assessment and assessment arrangements to the fore.  We will endeavour to ensure that assessment is teacher lead and that the arrangements are fit for purpose and that they do not create an excessive burden of work for an already overstretched and stressed profession all aspects of the process at the end of this assessment cycle –training, assessment processes, moderation and the use of data. INTO will then decide upon the level of engagement for the 2016/17 year to reflect the feedback from our members.

ENDS