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Report shows improved results in primary Reading and Maths


Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 13/01/2015. Report shows improved results in primary Reading and MathsTags: Education And Politics


The Educational Research Centre has published a report showing how well Irish Primary school students are performing in English reading and Maths, with the first significant improvement in standards in over 30 years.

The 2014 National Assessments of English reading and Mathematics prepared by the ERC, assessed a sample of over 8000 students in 150 primary schools around Ireland. The study found that the overall performance in English, reading and maths was ‘significantly higher’ than in the last assessment in 2009, and according to Dept of Education and Skills press release yesterday, ‘These are the first significant improvements recorded by the national assessments in over thirty years. Improvements were last noted in the 1980 data, compared to the 1972 results.’

The performance report, carried out by Gerry Shiel, Lauren Kavanagh, and David Millar, saw a reduction in the amount of low-achieving students and an increase in higher-achieving students in both English, reading and maths compared to 2009.

The Dept. of Education, Jan O'Sullivan, welcomed the results and work done by students and teachers, she said ‘“I am very pleased to see that overall performance in reading and maths was significantly higher in 2014 than in 2009, at both Second and Sixth classes.

“Today, I want to acknowledge the success that teachers, parents and students have had in improving the literacy and numeracy levels in our primary schools.”

Here is summary of the findings from the ERC report:

  • Significant improvement in English reading and maths in second and sixth classes.
  • Pupils in DEIS schools performed at higher average levels in 2014 compared with their counterparts in 2009, though there are still gaps in performance between pupils in DEIS and non-DEIS schools.
  • Targets set out by National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People between 2011-2020 have already been achieved in 2014.
  • In 2014 , 22% of pupils in Second class performed at or below Proficiency Level 1, compared with 35% in 2009 (indicating fewer lower-achieving pupils in the system), while 46% performed at Levels 3-4, compared with 35% in 20 09 (indicating more higher achievers). ERC report.
  • Girls outperformed boys in English reading in second and sixth class.
  • Boys had higher mean score in maths in second class than girls.
  • Pupils in DEIS Band 1 schools performed better in English reading compared to 2009
  • Although fewer pupils in DEIS schools performed at the lowest proficiency levels in 2014, compared with 2009, large proportions continued to perform poorly, especially in Band 1 schools. For example, at Second class, 44% of pupils in Band 1 schools performed at or below the lowest proficiency level on overall reading, compared with 28% in Band 2 schools, and 22% across all schools.


    Lauren Kavanagh, another of the authors, said “the results for mathematics are encouraging. This is an area in which Ireland has not always done well in international assessments. However, we can now look forward to building on the progress that has been made to date, and supporting more pupils to apply their skills in problem-solving contexts”.

    For full report, click here.


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