Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Questions (27)

Dinny McGinley


64 Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Education and Science the amount allocated by her Department towards the purchase of literacy testing documentation in primary schools for each year since 2002; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7878/05]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

My Department has not made a specific financial allocation to primary schools towards the purchase of literacy testing documentation in the period in question. However, my Department's scheme of capitation grants gives schools discretion to purchase materials in accordance with their needs and funds provided under this scheme may be used for the purchase of literacy testing documentation as required. The capitation grant has been increased by 27% to €133.58 in that period.

At present, there are no requirements for schools to carry out literacy tests. However, it is estimated that over 90% of primary schools administer standardised tests in English and mathematics to some classes each year. In response to a request from my predecessor, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is currently preparing advice on issues relating to standardised testing for pupils during their compulsory schooling. I understand that the formulation of this advice is at an advanced stage.

I will give further consideration to the issue of specific support for schools for testing documentation when I receive the advice of the NCCA. The Government is committed in the programme for Government to providing support in this area.