Your Child and Standardised Testing




During your child’s time in primary school he/she will complete standardised tests in English reading and in Maths.  Most primary schools in the Republic of Ireland have been using these tests for many years.  A standardised test is used to measure a child’s achievement in English reading and Maths compared to other children throughout the country at the same class level or age level.  The English reading test gives information about how well your child can understand what he/she has read.  This test does not gather information on your child’s written or spoken English.  The Maths test finds out how well your child can use numbers for different purposes and solve Maths problems.


Are Standardised Tests the same as Intelligence Tests?


The main purposes of using standardised tests are to help the teacher plan your child’s learning, and to inform you about how well your child is doing in English reading and Maths.  When the test scores are used alongside other information gathered by the teacher through observing your child at work, talking with him/her and looking at his/her work, they show how your child is getting on in English reading and Maths, and help the teacher to identify your child’s strengths and needs.


How will I know how my Child has done on the Standardised Tests?


Your child’s teacher will share the test results with you, typically at a parent/teacher meeting or in a school report.  Schools are required to use standardised tests twice during your child’s time at primary school – at the end of First Class or at the beginning of Second Class, and at the end of Fourth Class or at the beginning of Fifth Class.  However, in Scoil Chrónáin Naofa, Dromakeenan we use tests in all classes from First to Sixth Class and will be sharing these results with parents on the end of year school report.  Your child’s score will be recorded using the STen Score (standard ten) score.


Understanding STen Scores


STen scores go from 1 to 10.  The table below describes what the different STen scores tell you about your child’s achievement in English reading and maths.


STen Score What the score means Proportion of children who get this score
8-10 Well above average 1/6
7 High average 1/6
5-6 Average 1/3
4 Low average 1/6
1-3 Well below average 1/6


If your child’s STen score is 5 or 6, you will know that his/her performance on the test is average.  About one third of children in Ireland have STen scores in this band.  You can see from the table that there are also STen scores above and below the average.


As with other tests your child does in school, his/her result on a standardised test can be affected by how he/she feels on the test day or by worry or excitement about a home or school event.  This means that each test result is an indication of your child’s achievement in English reading and Maths.  You play an important role in encouraging and supporting your child no matter what he/she scores on the test.


If my Child’s Score is Low – What does this tell me?


A STen score of 1, 2 or 3 suggests that your child may have difficulties in English reading or in Maths.  The teacher might decide to gather more information about your child from other tests, as well as his/her observations in class.  You too will have additional information from helping your child with homework, and hearing him/her talking about school work.  The teacher may ask a colleague called the Learning Support Teacher to look at your child’s test scores and other assessment information.  They may decide that your child would benefit from extra support with reading or Maths.  This extra support may be given by the Learning Support Teacher.  Your child’s teacher will talk to you about this.


If my Child’s Score is High – What does this mean?


A high score on the test may suggest that you child is a high achiever in English reading or Maths.  As with low scores, one high score is not enough to confirm this.  Your child’s teacher will use information from other classroom assessments to understand more clearly haw well your child is doing in English reading and Maths.


Should I Share the Score with my Child?


You know your child best.  No matter what the score is, you play an important role in encouraging your child to do his/her best, and in helping your child with English reading and Maths.  If the score is low and your child needs extra help with English reading or Maths, it may be helpful to talk to him/her about this and to see the help in a positive way.



15 Oct | Comments Off on Standardised Testing