Anne Looney

Anne Looney

National Council for
Curriculum and Assessment, Dublin

A former teacher, Anne Looney is now leader of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in Ireland.
Published on curriculum and assessment policy, on school ethos and on religious and moral education.


As CEO of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in Ireland, I am leading the design and implementation of a new assessment system for lower secondary education that moves away from a reliance on external terminal written examinations, to school assessed and teacher moderated assessment for a national qualification. Bucking what Sahlberg calls the Germ (Global Education Reform Movement) trends of more external testing, moves in Ireland locate ‘quality’ assessment in the judgement of informed and competent teachers. I have also published and presented on assessment policy in peer reviewed contexts and participated in a number of EU expert groups.



Transforming Schools and Systems Using Assessment for Learning


Giving assessment back to teachers; lessons from the Republic of Ireland in quality, patience and politics. The new assessment system for lower secondary education to be introduced from 2014 onwards represents a significant departure for a school system that has relied heavily on external terminal examinations as its assessment technology, even for the interim stage of post-primary education where the examination served no selection or allocation purpose. The announcement of the abolition of that interim examination by the Minister in October 2012 was generally welcomed but widely criticised by teacher unions who argued that standards would drop, and the new school-based system would be open to manipulation and parental pressures. The task of building teacher capacity and confidence in classroom assessment is now underway. The paper will present the story – and challenges – to date and will include video footage of teachers reflecting on how they have begun to ‘reclaim’ assessment from the old examination system.

The Enabling Power of Assessment for Learning, Accountability and Improvement
2012 OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education
2010 Teacher professional identity: restoration or reset?
Curriculum and Assessment for the Knowledge Society: Interrogating experiences in the
Republic of Ireland and Queensland, Australia