Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 12th March 2013.

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Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin 2:15 pm, 12th March 2013

As my letter to schools outlined, I have commissioned a four-part review of statutory computer-based assessments (CBA), policy and practice.  I am satisfied that each element of the review is being conducted by the appropriate personnel and with the appropriate level of independence.  I have asked for all elements of the review to be completed before June 2013 to allow communications on the way forward in time for the autumn term of 2013.

A steering group has been established to take forward the review of CBA policy to determine whether it continues to support my wider objectives, particularly with reference to raising standards in literacy and numeracy.   The steering group, which will consult widely across the education sector, includes representatives from my Department, C2K, the Education and Training Inspectorate and the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment as well as serving school principals.  Although my policy review will focus on the way forward for computer-based assessment, I have also commissioned an external, independent report on the issues and lessons to be learnt following the implementation of CBA this academic year.