Standardized Tests


Here at St. Patrick’s Chapelizod, as in all other schools throughout the country assessment is is an integral part of school life. There is assessment of learning going on throughout the year by teachers through tasks set by the teacher , by observation of learning, by diagnostic testing ( looking for a particular type of information) and by standardised testing.

Below is an explanation of standardised testing and how it relates to your child. We hope it will inform you, as you read their results in their school report.

What is standardised testing?

Standardised tests are used to measure a child’s reading and mathematical achievement, and to determine children’s progress in those areas. They compare children in the same class or age level no matter where they go to school.

  • In St. Patrick’s standardised testing is administered to all children from 1st to 6th class during the month of May.

  • Parents are informed of their results in the school report in June. Results are available on Aladdin.

  • All primary schools are required by the Department of Education and Skills (Circular 0056/2011) to administer standardised tests.

What is the information used for?

Information from the tests is important given the vital role of literacy and numeracy in enabling children to access the full curriculum. The information helps us to plan for your child’s learning and also gives us information on achievement. It helps teachers to inform parents of progress. It can indicate difficulties that may need to be addressed. It informs the Department of Education of performance and also where supports are needed.

A sten score is a score out of ten (a standard 10)

  • Sten scores put results within bands allowing for a margin of error. They are not absolute measurements. They are a snapshot of the child’s performance on a given day.

  • For the purpose of simplicity the scores are in three bands.

Sten Score Range Descriptor Coverage

8-10 High/above average Top sixth of pupils

4-7 Average Middle two thirds of pupils

1-3 Low/below average Bottom sixth of pupils

Some examples

  • A child with a sten of 8, 9 or 10 is doing very well.

  • A child scoring a 4 is within the average range. So too is a child scoring a 5 ,6 or 7. (Most of the class fall into this category).

  • A child scoring 3 or below is a cause for concern. (This may be expected in a small number of cases in any class.)

Interpreting unexpectedly low scores


  • The child’s experience of formal testing.

  • The child’s performance on the day.

  • The child’s performance in other curricular areas and their ability in general.

  • The home environment, attendance at school, illness during the year etc.

  • The test takes place in May and the curriculum has not yet been completed, this becomes more important as the children move up through the school.

Micra T Tests (Reading)

  • It measures only certain aspects of the English curriculum and gives a reading age.

  • There are two scores, class based and age based. The class based score is given on the report.

Sigma-T Test (Mathematics)

  • Look at the breakdown of the results in areas of numeration, data, algebra etc. to pinpoint where your child is doing well or is experiencing difficulty.

  • Children with reading difficulties may have a particular difficulty with the problem solving aspect of the test.

  • This test gives a class based score.

We hope this information is useful. Should you required more information; see the NCCA website where information is available in a range of languages. The information sheets for parents entitled Your Child and Standardised Testing explain the meaning of standardised test scores and answer other frequently asked questions about standardised testing.

If you have any particular concerns about your child, you are encouraged to speak to the class teacher for assistance.

Contact the school office to make an appointment Tel. (01) 626 5752