So, we welcome you to School Entrance Tests’ Parent’s Guide to InCAS Exam skills.

Practice InCAS Exam Skills

Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary for optimizing your child’s performance in the InCAS Exam ensuring they reach their full academic potential. Additionally, we will offer insights into the various InCAS Exam levels, shedding light on how the InCAS Exam is scored across different age groups.

Following this valuable information, we will provide valuable advice and practical tips to help your child excel in the test

InCAS, powered by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM), is a vital computerized examination system that plays a pivotal role in the educational landscape. This system is primarily employed in Ireland, particularly by the University of Durham, and extends its support to various school assessments, including the 11+ test in several regions. A significant number of primary schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland conduct InCAS assessments annually. Let’s delve deeper into the key aspects of these assessments.

How and when are InCAS exams used?

Unlike in England, schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t administer SATs. Students in these regions are less accustomed to standardized testing, and educators typically do not engage in regular assessments. However, for many schools, InCAS assessments serve as an integral component of evaluating and tracking student progress.

InCAS examinations, designed by CEM, encompass computer-based tests that monitor a child’s progress from Year 1 to 6 (equivalent to P2 to P7 in the Scottish education system). These tests cover various core areas of learning:

  • Reading: Includes comprehension, decoding, word recognition, and spelling.
  • Mathematics: Covers place value, fractions, measurement, shape problems, data handling, counting, and problem-solving.
  • Mental Mathematics: Encompasses subtraction, multiplication, addition, and division.
  • Non-verbal Skills: Evaluates a child’s learning potential based on non-verbal abilities.
  • Attitude Assessment: Examines the child’s disposition toward mathematics, school life, and reading.

These tests primarily assist teachers in identifying students’ strengths, learning needs, and areas requiring improvement. Moreover, they facilitate the comparison of a student’s performance over time, enabling timely interventions for those who may require additional support or have special educational needs.

The InCAS tests are mandatory for children in Northern Ireland aged 4 to 7, with exemptions for students with learning disabilities. These students are assessed annually in mathematics and reading. However, concerns about test accuracy led to a ban in 2013. Nevertheless, select schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland continue to use InCAS assessments, as the system allows for some modifications to suit specific requirements.

schools’ InCAS assessment options

Schools can choose between two assessment approaches:

  1. One-time Snapshot: Some schools conduct the InCAS assessment once to obtain an overall view of a child’s learning abilities and progress.
  2. Annual Assessment (Years 1 to 6): Others choose to administer InCAS tests annually, from Year 1 to Year 6. This approach provides more granular insights into a child’s development over time.

While these assessments are not compulsory, they offer valuable insights that are not attainable through a national examination program in primary school years. Standardized examinations like InCAS help teachers monitor significant progress and compare performance across different years. The interactive and engaging format of InCAS assessments, often conducted as quizzes with the entire class participating simultaneously, ensures a positive learning experience.

Students complete practice questions followed by a series of questions of increasing difficulty. If they make errors, they receive new questions at an appropriate level, ensuring test reliability. Each subject typically takes 20 to 30 minutes. Moreover, classroom teachers have the flexibility to select specific test components based on the student’s needs.

what do InCAS Exam results show?

InCAS results provide a comprehensive overview of a child’s progress in various areas. However, parents and students don’t receive precise scores; instead, teachers share assessment and progression levels. The performance on the test calculates the child’s reading and mathematics age, aiding in understanding whether the child is performing below, at, or above their expected level.

How accurate are InCAS Exams?

It’s crucial to note that InCAS tests are tools for schools to assess and track student progress, rather than a means of comparing students or schools. These assessments do not determine a child’s transition to a secondary level.

While InCAS has been successful in assessing students’ levels, it is not considered the sole assessment tool. The reintroduction of compulsory national assessment (CNA) in Scottish primary schools in 2017 makes it unlikely that InCAS assessments will be the primary method in the future. However, in Northern Ireland, InCAS assessments continue to play a significant role in education.

Reasoning skills practice