The Irish News http://www.Irishnews.com (Thursday November 18, 2010) has further highlighted concerns already raised by PACE NI on the GL Assessment tests to be taken by thousands of pupils seeking places in Catholic grammar and a few schools this weekend. https://paceni.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/aqe-and-gl-assessment-testsattempts-to-confuse-parents-over-a-common-test/
GL Assessment have admitted that the questions used from their inherited bank of NFER questions could be recycled, i.e. resold elsewhere. Simon Doyle, education correspondent, strangely fails to explain to Irish News readers the nonsense statement from GL Assessment that their unwillingness to release past papers was simply;
“In order to maintain the security and integrity of our tests”
GL Assessment spokeperson
the important principle addressed in testing circles – the vaidity and reliability of high stakes tests.
No mention at all by the Irish News or GL Assessment or the Post Primary Transfer Consortium of any measures of the validity and reliability of any inferences to be drawn from the tests.
The PPTC are directly misleading parents in their claim that the PPTC GL tests are based on the Northern Ireland Key Stage 2 revised curriculum. Since the tests were not designed exclusively for Northern Ireland and predate the introduction of the revised curriculum such a claim is unwarranted and misleadng. This issue underscores the difference between the PPTC GL tests and those of AQE whose CEA test questions match the former 11-plus tests prepared by NFER. It also highlights the nonsense claim published in the Belfast Telegraph regarding Victoria College’s use of the two tests to determine admission. There can be no equivalence between the two tests. Victoria College are simply pandering to parents from two different communities in order to keep their application numbers up.
Of course those adopting the inferior GL Assessment tests have persisted with the false claim to parents that talks to agree one test are likely to achieve a positive outcome. There is absolutely no likelihood of that happening since it was the anti-academic selection PPTC who broke away from the AQE in the first instance with a GL Assessment test to counter the fear that Catholic parents would abandon Catholic grammars if testing was withdrawn. Parents should note the continued silence from Finbar McCallion of the GBA who appeared regularly over the summertime on the airwaves of the BBC promising resolution of the single test conundrum.
Parents may need reminding also of the PPTC’s failure to adhere to standards in relation to testing by their refusal to publish the specification of the GL Assessment test. Prior to Saturday’s tests parents are advised to contact their school to demand a copy of the specification. Any refusal to provide same may provide a basis for appeal if entry to the school was ultimately rejected. Ronnie Hazzard of Ballymena Academy and the PPTC has persisted in his refusal to supply a copy of the specification to PACE in response to an FOI request. Can parents have any confidence that their childrens’ interests will be best represented by a school which fails to comply with the FOIA law?