Overview

This page provides brief descriptions of our main areas of work. Please visit our programme of work page to find out about specific projects. You can also browse/search our publications.

National Assessments of Educational Achievement

As part of the Centre’s role in monitoring the outcomes of education, national surveys of ‎achievement at primary level have been carried out in association with the DES since 1972.

The ‎surveys have been conducted in the areas of English (reading), Irish (reading and oral ‎language) and mathematics.

These assessments are conducted about once every five years at primary level. They involve pupil tests as well as context questionnaires for pupils, teachers, principals and parents.

International Assessments of Educational Achievement

International assessments of educational achievement have been conducted since the 1980s. Currently, the ERC oversees three international assessments covering primary and post-primary levels:

  • Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS; every 5 years, Fourth class)
  • Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS; every 4 years, Fourth class and Second year)‎
  • The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA, every 3 years; 15- and 16-year-olds)‎.

Like the national assessments, they involve tests as well as context questionnaires for learners, teachers, principals, and/or parents, and provide international benchmarks as well as national contextual information.

Research and evaluation in educational disadvantage

Evaluations of initiatives and new programmes in schools to improve the learning and life ‎chances of students in socially-disadvantaged situations are an ongoing focus of our work. ‎Completed projects include the evaluations of the Rutland Street Project, Breaking the Cycle, ‎Early Start, the Home-School-Community Liaison Scheme and a review of Giving Children ‎an Even Break. The current evaluation of ‎Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) is ongoing.

Development of standardised tests and provision of standardised testing support service

Work is carried out on an ongoing basis on the development of tests and profiling systems ‎which teachers use to assess learners in primary and post-primary schools.

At primary level, these include ‎the Drumcondra Primary Reading Test (DPRT-R), the Drumcondra Primary Mathematics ‎Test (DPMT-R), the Drumcondra Reasoning Test (DRT), Triailacha Ghaeilge Dhroim ‎Conrach do Bhunscoileanna Rialta (TGD-R) agus do Bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus Lán-‎Ghaeilge (TGD-G).

From 2019 onwards, newly-normed tests of reading and mathematics are available in both paper (first-sixth class) and online (third-sixth class) formats for primary school pupils.

We also offer the Drumcondra Test of Early Literacy (DTEL) and the Drumcondra Test ‎of Early Numeracy (DTEN).

At post-primary level, we offer online tests of reading, mathematics and reasoning for Second years.

The ERC also offers a scoring service for its paper-based tests.

More information is available at the ERC paper tests and ERC online tests tabs at the top of the page.

Other work

Other work in which Centre staff are involved varies over time and is both commissioned and initiated by staff in the Centre. It includes:

  • analysis of State examinations and attendance data
  • collaboration with the DES on the development of a model for the allocation of resources for Special Educational Needs
  • evaluation of specific programmes (such as the Digital Learning Framework) or aspects of the system (such as teachers’ professional development)
  • research on specific areas of education (such as Transition Years’ experiences, academic resilience, process data from online assessments, and social contexts of schools)
  • consultancy to the DES and other agencies on issues ‎related to assessment, evaluation and research more generally
  • membership of working groups, advisory committees and other national and international bodies
  • publication of the Irish Journal of Education.