BBC NI Education Correspondent
More than 15,000 children in Northern Ireland have sat the first of this year's 11-plus transfer tests.
The assembly has to decide on a replacement for the 11-plus
The final such exam is due to take place next year, following legislation under direct rule.
This year 15,750 children signed up to sit the tests in English, Maths and Science, which determine the sort of secondary school they will attend.
That is more than sat the transfer test last year, but about the same proportion of those in the age group.
In a time of reported falling school numbers, the explanation given for the rise is a temporary blip in the population figures.
The minister for education, Caitriona Ruane, is under pressure to announce how children will be selected in future.
She insists it will not be by academic tests, but is opposed on that by other politicians.
The exams body, CCEA says it has not been asked to prepare transfer test papers for 2009, the year following the planned final 11-plus.