The DES recently released a circular that provides a list of assessment instruments, including ability and achievement tests and web-based resources that are approved for use in guidance and/or learning-support contexts in post-primary schools.
The list is reviewed annually and an updated list is published on the Department’s website at www.education.ie in May of each year. The approved assessment tools are provided under the following headings:
· Achievement Tests – Group Administered Tests: Literacy
· Achievement Tests – Group Administered Tests: Mathematics
· Achievement Tests – Individually Administered Tests: Literacy
· Achievement Tests – Individually Administered Tests: Compilation Instruments
· Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia, dyscalculia): Instruments/Tests
· Ability and Aptitude Tests
· Guidance Interest
· Guidance Resources and Other Assessment Instruments
Two websites in particular feature prominently, namely https://www.hoddereducation.co.uk/ and https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/. Hodder Education publish a wide range of market-focused innovative print resources and digital services and are one of the largest school publishers in the UK. GL Assessment is the leading provider of formative assessments to UK schools.
A couple of the ‘digital’ assessment instruments piqued my interest. The Special Needs Assessment Profile – Behaviour is a profiling instrument that identifies social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and provides practical strategies. Unlike many of the other suggested assessment tools which are based on UK or US norms, this instrument does not require norms. The PASS – Pupil Attitude to School and Self is a short self-evaluation survey that you can use to gain insight into attitudes that could be hindering achievement. It helps to detect possible barriers to learning, including issues around confidence, resilience, motivation, concentration, disaffection and alienation. Both tests are also suitable to use in the primary setting.
These tests along with the others listed could be used along with the more traditional forms of assessment, for the purpose of informing actions that best address students’ learning needs. Of course, as with many educational resources, the financial cost of these resources would need to be taken into consideration.