The Centre has been involved in implementing and reporting on National Assessments of Mathematics and English reading (NAMER) since the 1980s on behalf of the DES.
While earlier National Assessments covered a range of grade/age levels and domains, the Department of Education and Skills decided that, from 2014, National Assessments would be implemented in the Second and Sixth classes, and would include both English reading and mathematics.
In Spring, 2014, over 8,000 pupils in Second and Sixth classes in a representative national sample of 150 primary schools completed secure tests of English reading and mathematics and responded to pupil questionnaires, while their principals, class teachers and parents also completed questionnaires. A performance report (Shiel, Kavanagh & Millar) outlining achievement results was released in early 2015. A context report, which will draw on both performance and questionnaire outcomes, will be published in Autumn 2015.
A main report (Eivers, Close, Shiel, Millar, Clerkin, Gilleece & Kiniry) and a technical report (Eivers, Clerkin, Millar & Close) arising from the 2009 National Assessments, were published in 2010.
In 2010, the national assessments of mathematics and English reading were implemented in a representative sample of Irish-medium schools and comparisons were drawn between the performance of pupils in schools in general (based on the 2009 assessment) and in Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna. A summary report on the National Assessments in Irish-medium Schools (NAIMS) was published in English and Gaeilge in 2011 (Shiel, Gilleece, Clerkin & Millar) and a main report, in both languages, was published in 2012 (Gilleece, Shiel, Clerkin & Millar).
In 2011, as part of the National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy 2011-2020, the Department of Education and Skills set out specific targets related to performance on English reading and mathematics proficiency levels that were developed following the 2009 national assessments. These targets, which include increasing the proportions of higher-achieving pupils in schools and reducing the proportions of lower-achieving pupils, are intended to be met by 2020. The performance report on the 2014 National Assessments provides evidence of progress towards attaining the targets outlined in the strategy.