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Information & Help with the Northern Ireland Transfer Test

Frequently Asked Questions

The CEA is the method which 34 grammar schools use to facilitate the continuation of academic selection following the ending of the 11+ Transfer Test.
Schools offering the CEA are listed at the bottom of the AQE / CEA Information page
Those who hope to be admitted to one of the 34 grammar schools listed at the bottom of the AQE page which is using the CEA in its admissions criteria, will have to sit the CEA.
The CEA will be based on three one-hour assessments which take account of the English and Mathematics components of the present primary school curriculum. Only marks in the best two will count. If they wish, parents may elect to enter their child for only two of the three papers. Unlike the 11+, there will not be a supplementary paper.
Yes. There is a fee of £45 per candidate which covers all three assessments. You do not have to pay the fee if your child is entitled to Free School Meals, so long as evidence of this entitlement is sent with the Registration Form (i.e. your letter of confirmation from your Education and Library Board). If you do not have a letter from your Education and Library Board confirming your child’s entitlement to Free School Meals please contact your Education and Library Board to see if a copy can be issued to you. If this is not possible, a letter of confirmation from your Primary School would be acceptable.
The dates for the 2012 Assessments (for entry into year 8 in 2013) are November 10th, 24th, and December 1st, 2012.
Pupils will sit the assessments in the participating grammar schools. Parents will be asked by AQE to list in order of preference three schools at which they would like their child to sit the tests. If any special arrangements are required in order to access the assessments, this should be indicated at the time of registration and in such cases parents will be advised of the arrangements that can be made.
Once parents are advised where their child will sit the CEA, there will be an opportunity to visit the school, to see where the assessments will take place and to be briefed on arrangements.
There are three papers to give pupils the best opportunity to display their abilities and to reduce the chances of them not doing themselves justice by having “an off day” when one of the assessments is held.
Yes. Parents will have the opportunity to indicate on the registration form that they wish their child to sit the CEA in Irish.
Yes. Many circumstances will be accounted for by discounting the paper in which the pupil gains the lowest mark; however any parent who feels that their son or daughter under-achieved due to circumstances beyond his or her control or whose child was not able to complete any assessments, may make a claim. A form SC 11 and an information sheet may be obtained from this website, the AQE Office, from the AQE website or from any AQE school after the assessment.
The CEA has been designed employing procedures similar to those used for “A” levels, having a Chief Examiner with extensive knowledge of test design, together with a team of revisers who are teaching professionals at primary level with long experience of preparing pupils for the 11+.
There is no obligation on primary schools to undertake specific preparation for the CEA, but it should be remembered that these assessments will reflect the teaching given to pupils in their normal classes.
AQE will inform parents in February of the marks gained by their child. For the precise date please visit our Key dates page.
The process will be very similar to what has happened in previous years. All post-primary schools will be required to publish a menu of their admissions criteria. Schools participating in the CEA will indicate how the results will be applied within their individual framework. Parents will nominate their post-primary choices in order of preference and submit their application to the relevant Education and Library Board. Schools which are oversubscribed – i.e. they have more applications than places available – will apply their published criteria to determine their intake. Admission numbers and total enrolment for each school will continue to be set by the Department of Education.
No, as at present this decision will be made in conjunction with parents, the relevant Education and Library Board and the receiving school.
Parents are advised to contact these schools directly to ascertain what criteria they will use to determine entry.
Parents should consult the admissions criteria of the schools to which they wish to have their child admitted. The CEA will be used to determine which applicants best satisfy a school’s academic criteria. As with the 11+, however, there will be a small number of exceptional circumstances in which this will not be the case. These will be explained in the criteria of individual schools. Since the 2006 Education Order requires all schools to fill to their enrolment, schools will be required to allocate places using other criteria in the unlikely event that they receive insufficient applications from pupils who have sat the CEA.
If your child is due to start Primary 7 in September 2013, then you can register him or her for the CEA. Registration Forms may be sent in to AQE from the 13th May 2013 (during your child’s Primary Six year) through to 13th September 2013 (during your child’s Primary Seven year).
Each exam lasts 1 hour. The CEA is based on three one-hour exams, best two marks count.
There are links on the AQE/CEA page
You can get a Registration Form from the AQE website, from an AQE Grammar School or from the AQE Office. Some Primary Schools may also be able to give you a form. Forms are available from 1st May 2014, and photocopies/black & white printed forms are perfectly acceptable. Links to the Registration forms are also on our AQE CEA page.
Yes. There is a fee of £45 per candidate which covers all three assessments. You do not have to pay the fee if your child is entitled to Free School Meals, so long as evidence of this entitlement is sent with the Registration Form (i.e. your letter of confirmation from your Education and Library Board). If you do not have a letter from your Education and Library Board confirming your child’s entitlement to Free School Meals please contact your Education and Library Board to see if a copy can be issued to you. If this is not possible, a letter of confirmation from your Primary School would be acceptable.
The AQE request photocopies of the short or long version of a birth/adoption certificate. If this is unavailable, then a photocopy of the back page of a passport will be accepted.
No. Documents are not returned, so please send photocopies.
You should send three identical passport-sized photographs.
Photographs should be stuck on with "prit stick" type paste. Your child’s name should be written on the back of each photograph in case they become detached.
Please contact AQE as soon as possible when you move. The grammar school where your child is sitting the assessment should also be informed prior to the assessments (the grammar school may wish to contact you about Familiarisation Days etc.).
Yes. Please contact the AQE Office for assistance. AQE contact details can be found on our AQE page.
In the vast majority of cases, parents’ names will be on the forms. Sometimes the second contact may be a grandparent. Also the contact details of legal guardians may be used.
You should choose whichever one of the 34 grammar schools is easiest for you to get to on the mornings of the assessments; it would be good, too, if your child were to go to the same venue as his/her friends.
No. The school that you select is for sitting the assessments only. Once the assessment is over, you may apply for a place to any other AQE school. Applications for school places happen in February, through the Education and Library Boards. Your Primary School Principal will provide further information on the application process.
Schools are allocated on a first come, first served basis. In the vast majority of cases, parents get their first school but, if your first choice has met its allocated number, the AQE allocate the second choice.
If your child is due to start Primary 7 in September 2013, then you can register him or her for the CEA. Registration Forms may be sent in to AQE from the 13th May 2013 (during your child’s Primary Six year) through to 13th September 2013 (during your child’s Primary Seven year).
In the absence of new legislation being passed by the Assembly to replace the old 11+ transfer system, many post primary schools in Northern Ireland have decided to continue with academic selection. In this unregulated system, Catholic grammar schools, some of the non-­denominational grammar schools and some Integrated schools will use the same standardised assessment in English and Mathematics to determine the academic ability of the children who wish to be admitted.
By registering, the PPTC will be able to put arrangements in place for your child to take the Entrance Assessment
Please visit our Key Dates page for Assessment dates. Your child will take the assessment in one of the post primary schools in your area which is continuing to use academic selection as part of its admission criteria. On the Registration Form, you will have the opportunity to indicate the Assessment Centres which are the most convenient for you. In most areas, the post primary schools will be working together to provide sufficient accommodation for children registered to take the assessment and your child will be allocated to one of the centres you have indicated on your Registration Form.
No, the assessment and admission processes are entirely separate. If your child takes the Entrance Assessment in any of the Assessment Centres listed at bottom of the PPTC page, you may apply for a place in any of these schools irrespective of where your child has taken the Entrance Assessment. All of these schools have agreed to accept results of children who take the Entrance Assessment regardless of the centre where they have taken the assessment.
The Entrance Assessment will consist of two standardised assessment papers and multiple choice in format. The first paper, assessing English, will last 50 minutes and the second paper, assessing Mathematics, will last 45 minutes. There will be a short practice session before each of the papers and, between the papers, the children will have time for a snack and a toilet break. The children will record their answers on a separate computer marked answer sheet. The Entrance Assessment will be marked independently by GL Assessment. The aspects of English and Mathematics covered by the Entrance Assessment are consistent with the legal requirements of the Northern Ireland Key Stage 2 curriculum.
Literacy and numeracy reflect the knowledge and skills being developed by children being taught the revised Northern Ireland curriculum in primary schools. There are no requirements for additional preparation of children for the Entrance Assessment by primary schools beyond their work in teaching the Key Stage 2 curriculum in numeracy, literacy and skills based learning.
The standardised Entrance Assessment is being set and marked by GL Assessment.
Originally founded by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), with whom they continue to work today, GL Assessment has been part of the Granada Learning Group since 2000. Renowned for their rigour and high quality, GL Assessment tests are used every year by over 85% of all UK and N.Ireland primary and post primary schools. You may be familiar with your child taking the Progress in English or Progress in Mathematics assessments in primary school which are GL Assessment products. GL Assessment is the largest independent provider of educational assessments in the UK and N.Ireland. With over thirty years of experience in this field, GL Assessment enjoys an established, trusted reputation for high-­‐quality assessment resources and services.
There will be no charge or fee to parents for any part of the assessment process. Registration is free.
Yes. When you complete the Registration Form, please indicate that your child has particular requirements and complete the Access Arrangements claim form. This may require us to make Access Arrangements for your child and to make provision for your child’s needs. It is important that you provide us with sufficient detail of your child’s needs when completing the Registration Form. Please ensure that you are fully aware of the Guidance Notes available with the Registration Form with regard to requesting Access Arrangements.
If your child experiences illness, injury or indisposition at the time of the Entrance Assessment, you must inform the Assessment Centre before the deadline for Access/Special Circumstances Registration closes by registering a claim for Special Circumstances. Your claim should provide brief details of the illness, injury or indisposition that your child has experienced. Later in the application process, you will be required to provide documentary evidence from medical and other professional sources to substantiate your claim for Special Circumstances for the Board of Governors of the school to which you apply for the admission of your child. Full details are provided in the policy on Access Arrangements & Special Circumstances.
The supplementary assessment is only available to a child where one or both of the papers are missed or not completed through illness or other unforeseen exceptional reasons. If your child is unable to attend or complete the assessment you should inform the Assessment Centre as soon as possible and arrangements can be made for your child to attend the Supplementary Entrance Assessment. By taking the Supplementary Entrance Assessment, all parts of the original assessment taken will be discounted.
No. Each set of assessment papers will contain different questions. The range of material covered in each paper will also vary. However, the standardisation processes are designed to ensure that each set of papers will produce the same result for any given child. All of the Entrance Assessment papers including the supplementary assessment papers are developed to the same rigorous and consistent standards.
As with the previous CCEA Transfer Test, your child will receive an overall grade, i.e. A, B1, B2, C1, C2 or D. However, with the Entrance Assessment, you will also receive the Standardised Age Score achieved by your child in both the English and Mathematics assessment papers. The grades will be allocated on the basis of the total of the Standardised Age Scores and in line with the guidance provided by the Department of Education for the allocation of grades for the previous CCEA Transfer Test. PPTC do not provide percentage marks because the Entrance Assessment is a standardised test. Standardised Age Scores have a scale running from 69 to 141 with 100 as the mean score.
It is not possible to indicate exactly what actual mark is necessary for an 'A' in the Entrance Assessment at this time. In order to conduct the grading process, the raw marks from the assessments are first transformed into Standardised Age Scores. These scores take into account the ages of the children and are then standardised by a statistical formula onto a scale ranging from 69 to 141 on which the average score is 100. You will probably be familiar with this type of standardisation as it is used by all primary schools though the InCAS (Interactive Computerised Assessment System) assessment process that your child has already completed along with other standardised testing for English and Mathematics, including tests for reading and spelling age calculations. You will receive details of the grade boundaries along with your child’s Entrance Assessment results.
An age allowance operates within the scoring of the assessment and it is one of the reasons why we will report the results as Standardised Age Scores on which the grades will be based. In calculating the Standardised Age Score, the age of the child is taken into account but no child will lose marks because of his/her age.
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When you purchase file downloads you will receive an additional email with one-time links to each file you purchased. If you delete, lose or did not receive* this email, or the links have expired, then you can always download your purchased files by logging into the website and viewing your account section. First you must login using your username and password**. There is also a 'Login' link at the top of every page (in the black bar). When logged in the 'Login' link will be replaced with a 'Your Account' link which you can click to access your personal account from any page. In your account section there is a 'Files' link which you click to view all your purchased download files. *Please check your spam folder if you did not receive this email. **If you did not already have an account prior to completing checkout one will have been automatically generated for you, and your username and password will be emailed to you.
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