The Centre has been involved in implementing and reporting on National Assessments of Mathematics and English reading (NAMER) since the 1972 on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.
While earlier National Assessments covered various class levels and domains, the Department of Education and Skills decided that, from 2009, National Assessments would be implemented in the Second and Sixth classes, and would assess both English reading and mathematics.
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.
The next, and ninth, NAMER takes place in the spring of 2020 in a nationally representative sample of schools. For the first time, the design of NAMER 2020 will incorporate nationally representative samples of urban and rural DEIS schools in order to make robust comparisons on the achievements of pupils in non-DEIS, DEIS urban and DEIS rural schools (see the page on DEIS for further information on that strand of work). A field trial (to try out assessment instruments, questionnaires and procedures) takes place in the spring of 2019. One objective of NAMER 2020 is to further assess the results against the 2011-2020 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy targets.
National Assessments 2009-2014
Results from the previous national assessment, NAMER 2014, are published in two volumes – a performance report (Shiel, Kavanagh & Millar) was released in early 2015, and a context report was published at the end of 2015.
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, 2011) and a main report, also in English and Gaeilge, was published in 2012 (Gilleece, Shiel, Clerkin & Millar, 2012).