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Evidence of the inability of the Department of Education, Northern Ireland to achieve real improvement in numeracy and literacy outcomes comes via the press release by the DENI’s Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI).

The final section of the release states:

A key element in any self-evaluative process is the quality of evidence on which the evaluations are based. A range of sources can be used in this process, including first-hand observation of learning and teaching and a thorough examination of the assessment data that the school or organisation collates. The more rigorous and honest such evaluations are, the more useful will be the outcomes, and these should be used as the basis for securing more effective teaching and learning and in raising the standards achieved by learners.”

Perhaps Stanley Goudie has missed news of the ongoing investigation by Ofqual of CCEA’s failure on A-level Chemistry results. The evidence quality is very high of CCEA’s failure in a quantative measure. 151 pupils were given the wrong results.

What has not be addressed by the local media is the obvious question; “How can wrong marks be given for a multiple choice question paper?  

Answer: A software/programming failure.

Does CCEA have other recent evidence of such failure? Yes.

 – the Incas Pupil Profile from the CEM at Durham University spat out inaccurate results last year resulting in ministerial, CCEA and University of Durham apologies and investigations. The result: a further commitment to Incas.

Incas Circular 2010


Instead of rejecting this flawed instrument the DENI have further cemented its use. One of the major proponents of Incas is Prof John Gardner of QUB. His Assessment for Learning group  are advocates of the ETI self assessment programme. Professor Gardner was also the man behind the attacks on the 11-plus transfer test. His campaign and advice to the DENI have simply resulted in a deregulation of the tests.

When will the politicians actually hold to account the educationalists whose conduct of education reform in Northern Ireland is replete with flaws and failure?

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