This time of year is not just the ‘season to be jolly’ but also parent/teacher meetings season, so I thought I’d write again about STEN & Drumcondra tests. Parents often contact me regarding their child’s ‘Drumcondras’ or STEN results because they are not exactly sure what they mean.
The first thing to remember is that it is a test rather than an exam. It is just an information gathering exercise to see how children are performing against their peers throughout the school system. Schools are required to use standardised tests at three identified stages during your child’stime at primary school:
However many schools use standardised tests in other classes too. It is used as a tool to help the teacher assess whether additional teaching resources are required or if your child is gifted in the subjects tested. It is really important to remember that it is just those subjects above that are tested. Nothing else. If your child is fantastic at history or sport, those subjects are not tested. If your child is not good at history or sport, those subjects are not tested. It does not take into account emotional intelligence, common sense or how kind and loving your child is. What I’m trying to say is; it is a very narrow examination of your child’s abilities, based on a certain set of questions and your child’s answers at a particular time, on a particular day,which is now in the past.
Interpreting the results of these tests can be done in various ways and some schools inform parents of the results giving the Standard score and STen score from these tests, while others just use the STen scores. Standard scores usually range from 55 to 145 with the average score being 100. STen scores are derived from Standard scores and give a ten point scale with 1 representing the lowest category and 10 the highest.
The following tables explain these:
Interpreting Standard Scores:
|Standard Score Range||Descriptor||Coverage|
|130 and above||Well above average||2% of pupils|
|120-129||Above average||7% of pupils|
|110-119||High average||16% of pupils|
|90-109||Average||50% of pupils|
|80-89||Low average||16% of pupils|
|70-79||Below average||2% of pupils|
|Below 70||Well below average||2% of pupils|
Interpreting STEN Scores:
|Standard Score Range||STEN Score Range||Descriptor||Coverage|
|116 and above||8-10||Well above average||Top 1/6 of pupils|
|108-114||7||High average||1/6 of pupils|
|93-107||5-6||average||Middle 1/3 of pupils|
|85-92||4||Low average||1/6 of pupils|
|84 and below||1-3||Well below average||Bottom 1/6 of pupils|
It’s really important to remember that children may not always perform as well as expected in these tests for a variety of reasons e.g. exam fright, illness or off form on the day or difficulty of working on their own for a long period.
While important, the results from Standardised tests should not be taken in isolation and should be understood in conjunction with teacher observations, teacher designed tasks and tests and the child’s general progress.
Here is a text we got from a mum;
“Just wanted to let you know that we got J’s school report today and we are delighted with his results! His English STEN went up to 7 this year from 4 last year and his Maths STEN went up to 6 from 4 last year and his teacher said she saw a great improvement in his reading. So as you can see we are delighted and want to convey our thanks for all your help. Great results from Hummingbird. Thanks again R & J”