Testing the strategy

19th May 2000 at 01:00
NUMERACY IMPACT TESTS. By Tandi Clausen-May, Helen Claydon and Graham Ruddock. NFER-Nelson specimen set (guides, two sample test booklets and record sheets) pound;16, test booklets pound;18 + VAT for pack of 10. Tel: 01753 858 961

Primary schools are under pressure to improve the proportion of pupils who achieve at least level 4 in their key stage 2 SATs and the Government is spending millions supporting them through, for example, funding for booster classes. Ministers have also made it clear that they intend to extend this focus of attention to the early years of secondary school.

There is therefore a potentially huge market for a reliable test which will help teachers measure progress towards mathematics level 4 and, ideally, diagnose areas of weakness. This is exactly whatthese Numeracy Impact tests are designed to do.

There are two tests intended to be given to pupils before and after a period of "intensive teaching". Each lasts 40 minutes and comprises a short mental test read by the teacher followed by a written paper.

Extensive guidance helps relate individual results to future learning needs and interpret group results as measures of "value-added".

The tests closely match the national curriculum SATs and, coming from the National Foundation for Educational Research, have been thoroughly trialled and standardised.

Though costly to use, these tests will provide valuable feedback to teachers, particularly those teaching booster classes, running numeracy summer schools or managing Year 7 intervention strategies.

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