"Over the past three weeks a number of primary schools have contacted us to report that they are experiencing technical difficulties which are affecting their pupils when completing Computer-Based Assessments in Literacy and Numeracy.
At this time the specific problem has not yet been identified. Based on the information provided to date it is appears that the difficulties are related to system and network issues and include computers freezing or crashing and screens not displaying properly.
CCEA and the assessment providers continue to work very closely with C2K and Northgate to investigate the problems as a matter of urgency and to determine the cause (or causes) of these issues.
We are very sensitive to the impact that these problems may be having on pupils and teachers. Therefore, we have been advising schools who continue to experience technical problems to discontinue the assessments until this matter is resolved.
Schools still experiencing issues have also been informed in the first instance to contact the C2k helpdesk urgently on 0870 6011666 and notify them of the precise technical difficulties experienced.
The majority of primary schools have not been affected by these problems. To date 522 schools have started the literacy assessment with 37603 pupils completing the assessments. 497 schools have started the numeracy assessment with 35957 pupils completing the assessments so far.
It is disappointing that these technical difficulties are having a negative impact on schools’experiences of the computer-based assessments themselves.
These problems were not evident during the extensive trialling and testing which was carried out in preparation for this year's implementation and which involved 185 schools and 21,000 pupils.
Online training in using computer-based assessments has been available for teachers since May of this year. Teachers have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the training and high levels of confidence in the prospect of using the assessments this year.
Throughout the process of development and trialling CCEA has had ongoing communication with both teachers and their representatives.
CBAs are not high stakes assessments. They are diagnostic assessments designed to support schools in identifying pupils’ strengths and areas where they are having difficulties. The outcomes from the computer-based assessments should therefore help teachers plan their teaching during the school year to meet the needs of pupils in their classrooms."
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