500 teachers can’t be wrong
“I never knew that there was so much to know about educational testing”;
“Even after all the years of testing, I feel much more confident and I feel much more qualified”.
These are just two comments from over 500 experienced teachers that have completed training leading to a professional qualification in psychometric and educational testing. The course they are talking about is a course run by Éirim: The National Assessment Agency. On successful completion of this particular course, students receive a certificate confirming their competence and ability in the area of intellectual and educational testing – the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing, otherwise known as the ‘CCET’, awarded by the British Psychological Society.
Rebecca Good, Educational Psychologist and Director of Training at Éirim commented, “We have been running this certificate course for the past 12 years in the Republic and Northern Ireland, and the feedback has always been overwhelmingly positive. It sounds extraordinary, but 100% of our students say they would recommend this course to a colleague or friend. With the increased emphasis and importance placed on school based standardised testing, schools and individuals have begun to realise the importance and benefits of such training and as such we have seen enrolment numbers increase rapidly”
‘Confident and Qualified’
The course is run and taught by experienced Educational Psychologists. Kate James, one of the trainers on the programme says “One of the great benefits of the CCET course is that many teachers feel much more confident and qualified at identifying learning difficulties and putting appropriate interventions in place for their students. This is particularly important for schools, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to access quality educational psychology services in Ireland”.
As one course graduate wrote “We will be much less reliant on our educational psychologist to identify needs – I will be able to clarify ‘hunches’ and better able to intervene at earlier stages”.
The three-day CCET course covers theoretical and practical topics such as test administration, what makes a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ test, how to choose appropriate tests for different situations, data protection, interpretation of test data, as well as best practices for reporting results back to others. The course is unique and thorough in that not only does it require teachers to demonstrate their knowledge and skills during the three days, but it also requires them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills afterwards, back in the workplace.
The success and popularity of the CCET course is not only due to the high-quality training that students receive, but also because of the increasing recognition by schools that they need to have qualified educational testers amongst their staff.
Ms. Good says: “All schools are regularly involved in testing. Much of this testing is used to identify pupils who have special educational needs, so that support or accommodations can be put in place. Some testing can have hugely important consequences for the students, for example whether they get accommodations in exams or access to support classes.
“Given the enormous implications test results can have for students I think it is imperative for schools to have staff that are appropriately qualified in educational testing. While many teachers do have practical experience of testing they regularly tell us that they simply do not feel confident giving, scoring, interpreting, and feeding back results of tests.
“In fact, many tell us that they didn’t realise that there was so much to know about educational tests and that they will be much more cautious in the future”.
“This course will appeal to anyone involved in testing. We have run these courses all over Ireland and have had people from many professional backgrounds benefit from taking it, including teachers, SENCO’s, assistant psychologists, resource teachers, principals, and occupational psychologists.”
A last piece of advice from Ms. Good is “Come prepared! This is an intensive course with a heavy work load, but students tell us that although they are exhausted it is thoroughly worth doing. Many of our students are pleasantly surprised to hear that all their hard work will actually count towards a master’s degree in special education, should they wish to pursue further studies”.