Drumcondra Post-Primary Maths Test (2014)

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The Educational Research Centre (ERC) completed the standardization of a paper-based test of mathematics for students in the last term of Second year in post-primary schools. The test is known as the Drumcondra Post Primary Test – Mathematics (DPPT-Maths). It is available to schools through the ERC Test Department.


About the test

The DPPT-Maths was developed in response to a need for such a test identified by the DES in the ‘National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy 2011-2020’. The DPPT-Maths is based on the Project Maths syllabus for Junior Cycle, and draws on international best practice in ‎assessment to provide a test that is suitable for an Irish context. The test aims to complement a teacher’s observations and assessments of a student’s performance. It gives guidance on strengths, and on the types of difficulties experienced by students. This information can feed into effective planning and learning.


The DPPT-Read is available at two levels in order to appropriately challenge students of differing ability levels.  Form A of each test is designed for students who are likely to take the Junior Certificate Mathematics examination at Ordinary or Foundation levels. Form B is designed for students who are likely to take the Mathematics exam at Higher level. In practice, either form of the test can be used, except for very low achievers (who should complete Form A) and very high achievers (who should complete Form B).


The DPPT- Maths can be administered to class or year groups, and takes approximately 70 minutes to administer. This includes time to distribute and collect materials and complete identification information, as well as actual testing time. Forms A and B can be administered together. 


All Questions on the DPPT-Read follow a multiple-choice format.

Domain                              Mathematics

Based on. . .                        Project Maths Syllabi

Format                               Multiple Choice

Forms                                A (easier) and B (more difficult)

Administration Time            70 minutes

Administration Format         Large or small groups

Scoring                              Electronic

Reporting                           Electronic

Subscales Reported              Statistics & Probability; Geometry & Trigonometry; Number &                                           Measures; Algebra & Functions


Content of DPPT-Maths

Each form of the DPPT-M comprises 45 items, including 16 common maths items. To follow the Project Maths approach and syllabus, the assessment framework for the test has two main dimensions which are used to report student performance – ‘Mathematics Content’ and ‘Cognitive Process Skills’. The ‘Mathematics Content’ of the test items is organised in strands and includes: (i) Statistics & Probability; (ii) Geometry & Trigonometry; (iii) Number & Measure; (iv) Algebra & Functions (Algebra & Functions have been combined for the purposes of this test). Two broad clusters of process skills are assessed and reported on. These are: ‘Recall & Implement’ and ‘Reason & Problem Solve’.


Scoring and Reporting

The DPPT-Read is completed on a machine-scorable answer sheet that is available from the Educational Research Centre.  The same answer sheet is used for the DPPT-Maths and the DPPT-Read (and hence a student needs just one answer sheet for both tests). Answer sheets can be returned to the ERC for scoring. The ERC will then forward reports to schools that include overall scores and subscale scores.