The InCAS (Interactive Computerised Assessment System) test has been introduced for pupils from P4 to P7 across the province. Many parents are still unsure about exactly what the test involves and what the results mean for their child.
** InCAS has now been replaced by new computer based assessments called Nina and Nila. Please click on the link to find out more. Nina and Nila Asessments. **
So what is the InCAS test and how should parents view the results? This computerised test is designed to diagnose problems children may be having, to enable teachers to focus on the child’s strengths and to identify any weaknesses they may have. It is a personalised computer assessment, tailored to each individual pupil according to their age and abilities and generates an age equivalent score (the age that the child is actually working at).
Teachers are keen to stress that the results should not show up any shocking revelations, just a confirmation of problems that may be occurring. For example, a child may have good word recognition skills, but poor word de-coding, therefore the teacher would focus on this area to improve overall reading and comprehension.
Naturally, any form of testing causes concern, especially during a period of upheaval and uncertainty in Northern Ireland’s Primary examination system. Parents must remember that this is not a formal assessment where a curriculum is taught for a specific test.
Northern Ireland Curriculum are now allowing parents to see exactly what their children will be asked to do in an InCAS test. Their website allows you to view a demo that teachers use to prepare children for the test. As you can see, the fun and friendly “Inky” takes the children through how to use the test so they can maximize their results. It is important for children to feel comfortable with the process and confident that they will understand how to use the computer programme to ensure the results are an accurate reflection of their knowledge and understanding.
If you feel your child is struggling with any aspect of English or Maths or an InCAS result has given you cause for concern, please contact the Kip McGrath Education Centre – Lisburn, which aims to increase children’s self esteem and confidence as well as their academic performance, offering tutoring to 6-16 year olds in Maths, English, Reading and Spelling. We can tailor a program of work to focus on any areas of weakness your child might be experiencing.
By Clare Rimmer, Centre Director, Kip McGrath Education Centre – Lisburn