The Educational Research Centre has been involved in implementing and reporting on National Assessments of Mathematics and English Reading (NAMER) since 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.
What is NAMER?
NAMER stands for National Assessments of Mathematics and English Reading. The ERC has designed, implemented and reported on these assessments at the request of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) since 1972.
Historically, the National Assessments have focused on a range of domains and grade levels. However since 2009 pupils have been assessed in English Reading and Maths at the end of Second and Sixth classes, to coincide with the end of the Junior and Senior cycles at primary level. NAMER measures pupils’ achievement in English Reading and Maths based on their performance in curriculum-based tests. Contextual information is also gathered through the administration of questionnaires to pupils, parents/guardians, teachers and principals.
Assessment frameworks aim to address three key questions:
- What is assessed
- How it is assessed
- Why it is assessed
The Mathematics and English Reading components of the National Assessments are based on separate assessment frameworks. In each cycle, the frameworks are built on those used in previous National Assessments. This helps to ensure continuity across cycles and allows for the accommodation of curriculum changes and recent research findings.
To access the assessment frameworks from previous cycles, click here.
Why is NAMER carried out?
NAMER informs policy decisions taken by the DES. For example, the National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy 2011-2020 (published by the DES in 2011) contained specific targets related to English Reading and Mathematics proficiency. These targets (for example, to increase the proportions of higher-achieving pupils in schools and reduce the proportions of lower-achieving pupils) were identified using findings from NAMER 2009. When pupils’ performance in NAMER 2014 demonstrated that the targets had been achieved, new targets were identified for 2020.
How is NAMER carried out?
NAMER is implemented by the Educational Research Centre on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. Implementation is overseen by an advisory committee, which advises on all major aspects of the study. This includes the review of test instruments and questionnaires and providing input into national reporting.
A representative sample of schools is selected (reflecting a mixture of schools by size, location, type, and gender and socioeconomic composition).
Schools are asked to nominate a staff member to act as NAMER coordinator and liaise with the ERC throughout the project.
Who takes part?
Questionnaires are posted to the school and administered to Second and Sixth class pupils, their parents/guardians, Second and Sixth class teachers, and school principals. Completed questionnaires are returned to the ERC by post for analysis.
Schools select two days for testing, out of a window of approximately six weeks. On one day, pupils in Second and Sixth classes complete a test of English Reading; on the other day they complete a test of Mathematics.
No names are collected from any participants. Pupils are assigned ID numbers. These are applied to their questionnaires, their parent’s/guardian’s questionnaires and their test booklets, so that these can all be linked.