Using BOFA in Northern Ireland

InCAS tests became compulsory for all children in Years 4 to 7 in 2012, but this plan was abandoned in 2013 after concerns were raised about their accuracy. Many schools, however, do still use InCAS tests as formal assessments.

InCAS stands for Interactive Computerised Assessment System, it was devised by CEM (Durham), who also provide different types of assessment for other areas, including 11+ examinations in many areas.

Without a formal system for national examination of primary school children in Northern Ireland, many schools are choosing to remain using InCAS tests as they provide an easy, consistent way of gathering data about a pupil’s ability and achievement. Progress can be monitored over time and performance can be compared between cohorts.

The InCAS tests are taken on computers, each child works individually with headphones. Children move through sets of questions with increasing difficulty. The process is repeated multiple times to improve the reliability of the result and to assist with the reduction of careless answers and anomalies, and so gives a more trustworthy impression of their ability.

After completing the tests, the pupil’s average age in this subject is determined.

The InCAS tests cover six key areas, these being:

  • reading
  • spelling
  • mathematics
  • mental mathematics
  • non-verbal reasoning (known as developing ability)
  • attitudes towards reading, mathematics and school life

BOFA is the perfect tool for preparing for the InCAS exams, particularly as they take a very similar format. In terms of subjects, all of our Maths, English and Non-Verbal Reasoning resources would be ideal for you to use to get ready for these exams. Have a look at our demo tests and see what you think.

You could also take a look at the latest news for Northern Ireland. Alternatively, for more information on the InCAS assessments, you could take a look at this PDF document from the NI Curriculum website.

If you would like to get a better idea of how BOFA works, check out our How It Works guide.