Eirim, with its partner, Education Elephant, is excited to announce the launch of a new UK and Irish normed standardised test of Spelling, Processing speed and Reading Comprehension Speed (as well as some hidden extras!). The test is suitable for 13- 18 year olds and is set for sale in September 2017 through Education Elephant Ltd. The test will fill a large a gap in the market for teachers as they often to struggle to find suitable, time-saving and up to date tests for students to complete. This test ticks all of these boxes!

The test was conceived and designed by Dr. Kate James, an Educational Psychologist based in Dublin. Dr. James works on a regular basis with special education teachers in the Republic of Ireland as well as with SENCo’s across the UK. Dr. James recognised that special education teachers are needing to engage more and more with standardised tests and that one of the main reasons for testing was to assess students’ eligibility for access arrangements / reasonable accommodations in exams or to assess for additional resources in school. However, a great problem faced by teachers is the amount of time and resources testing can take up, as well as the lack of Irish normed and/or up to date tests available. In the UK one great problem faced by SENCo’s was the considerable lack of tests available to assess for 25% extra time in examinations. Faced with these problems, Dr. James began the creation of the SPaRCS.

The main benefits of the SPaRCS are:

  • It can be administered in a group
  • Very affordable (approx. £230)
  • Speedy (administered comfortably in one 40 minute class period)
  • Produces reliable standard scores
  • In-built effort indicators
  • Scores can be used to apply for 25% extra time, reader and scribe in the UK (in examinations governed by JCQ)
  • Scores can be used to apply for a spelling and grammar waiver in Ireland

The test was developed using a large sample of students (over 2,000) across the Republic of Ireland and UK. It contains three main tests – Spelling, Processing speed (2-minute test) and Reading Comprehension Speed (10-minute test). In the UK, both the reading comprehension speed and processing speed tests can be used to apply for 25% extra time in examinations, while the reading comprehension speed can also be used to apply for a reader/computer reader and the spelling test used for scribe applications.  A unique and innovative feature of the SPaRCS is also the presence of effort indicators. These indicators are designed to alert the examiner when a student may not have been trying their best on the tests (often an advantage to get a poor mark in these kinds of tests). The rationale for their inclusion was the large body of evidence showing that students often don’t try as hard on tests (or even cheat) when they believe they can gain a competitive advantage by scoring poorly on them.

In the Republic of Ireland the most common reasonable accommodation applied for in examinations is the Spelling and Grammar waiver. The SPaRCS spelling test can be used as evidence for these applications. In the UK, the SPaRCS test can be used to support access arrangement applciations for extra time, readers and scribes.

The SPaRCS is available for purchase through Education Elephant. For more information please order here  or contact info@educationelephant.ie

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