Negotiating assessment dilemmas in early years Irish-medium Education settings

Eibhlín Mhic Aoidh


This paper describes elements of a research project carried out as part of the requirements for a Doctorate in Education (EdD) degree. The subject is assessment in the early years (ages 4-6) in Irish-medium primary schools in Northern Ireland. It will analyse assessment practices in a sample of Irish-medium schools and units, with a focus on participants’ perspectives through the narratives of teachers and principals. The analysis is embedded in Lave’s socio-cultural framework of arenas and settings (1988). The research data explain how practitioners address contradictions in assessment policy in their own particular settings. The data demonstrate the interactive nature of early years Irish-medium assessment and the value of teacher observation but also the paucity of appropriate assessment tools for Foundation Stage Irish-medium pupils compared to those available in English. The study cautions against the practice of assessing pupils educated through the medium of Irish by tools designed and normed for monolingual pupils.

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ISSN: 2009-8626