In your annual child’s end-of-year Progress Report Card, one section of this report will record your child’s score in our recently completed tests in Literacy (Micra-T) and Numeracy (Sigma-T). The scores in these tests are presented to you in the form of a STen score. The following link will answer any questions you mighty have; such as, What is a Sten score? Or, What are Standardised Tests? Etc etc.
In very brief summary:
A STen score of 8,9 or 10 indicates a level of attainment well above average.
A STen score of 7 indicates a level of attainment that is high average.
A STen score of 5 or 6 indicates a level of attainment that is average.
A STen score of 4 indicates a level of attainment is low average.
A STen score of 1,2 or 3 indicates a level of attainment well below average.
While the Link ( above) answers every possible question you might have about these test scores, I would like to make a few extra and important observations.
First of all, the test scores are entirely subject to the child’s performance ‘on the day’ and research shows that young children’s performance on any given day can vary quite dramatically.
Secondly, these test scores in Literacy (Micra-T) and Numeracy (Sigma-T) only measure a fairly narrow understanding of what constitutes Literacy or Numeracy as we would understand it both academically and in common-sense. For example; the Literacy test (Micra-T) does not assess a child’s ability to express him/herself either orally or in-writing; neither does it really measure reading comprehension or reading engagement/motivation; nor does it measure one’s creativity in English. Similarly , in the Numeracy test (Sigma-T) this test does not measure problem-solving or the child’s ability to apply mathematical concepts to real life situations. The good news is that we in our school do take on board these broader understandings of Literacy and Numeracy and from the beginning to the end of each school year, on a daily basis, and through the teacher’s own teaching and testing strategies, teach and measure progress across the broader range of Literacy and Numeracy skills and your child’s progress is reported under the headings English and Mathematics in the same annual end-of-year Progress Report Card, and also mid-year in the Parent-Teacher Meeting Progress Report Card.
Thirdly, many of our children do not speak English, or come from homes that do not speak English, as their First or their First-And-Only language. In our school we are happy to see this diversity of spoken languages as a richness and an academic and social ‘strength’ and ‘accomplishment’ that these children have. Quality research shows that it takes eight years of fully immersed usage of ‘new’ language to make it the standard of a ‘first’ language; and many of our children’s excellent fluency in English in the school and playground contexts must not obscure the fact that these children are still in the process of acquiring English as a ‘first’ language. While we are very proud of our chidren’s attainments in fluency in English we, as parents and teachers, must also be patient and ensure build the children’s confidence and motivation.
To conclude, my message re Standardised testing and their results is simple. They are of some limited value and as a school we will use them to help plan our teaching to meet the individual needs of each child. But, and it is a very big BUT, the needs of children to attain the highest levels of standards in Literacy and Numeracy will be achieved in this school, Balbriggan Educate Together, by teaching to the very best of our ability the full National Curriculum in the childcentred manner in which that is intended.
I would very much like to hear your opinions or comments on these issues. Please make a reply.