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A few weeks ago, we reported on low literacy results for primary aged children living and learning in Northern Ireland. As many as 2 in 5 children were reported to be under-performing.

It turns out that there may be have a glitch in the testing system:

The impacts are not yet clear, and the educational authorities are maintaining that this did not directly affect results sent home to parents.

However, it does raise several interesting questions. Are reading assessments ever really the best way to gauge a child’s ability? Does an impersonal, computer-based testing environment (glitching or not) give the most accurate impression of capability? At this point in publicly available technology, can a computer make holistic judgments?

We would love to hear about your experiences with reading assessments and other standardized testing. What do you think? Are you for or against it?


Sarah Forrest is a System Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course designed for kids with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, highly visual learning styles and more. Easyread works through fun, short daily lessons that aim to take the stress out of learning while re-engineering the way a struggling reader processes text. Find out more at