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Primary School Transfer Tests

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to ensure consistency in the marking of the transfer tests for pupils attending all types of primary education. [112411]

The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) has responsibility for setting and marking the transfer tests and takes all necessary steps to ensure consistency in the marking of the tests for all pupils.The test papers completed by the pupils are identified through school and pupil numbers only. Neither the names of the schools nor the names of the pupils appear anywhere on the test papers. Only senior supervisory staff have access to the list connecting school names and numbers.

The test papers are marked under strictly controlled conditions by temporary staff employed for the purpose. A different marker marks each section on a test paper. Every question of every paper is marked at least twice. All papers close to borderlines are marked a third time. Senior professional staff, who have been involved in the process of test construction, are required to adjudicate on any answers given by pupils that are not clearly accommodated by the marking scheme.