KS3 scrapped in favour of greater teacher assessment

Key stage 3 tests are being scrapped with immediate effect, the Government announced this afternoon.

Ministers said the tests, which were introduced in 1993, were no longer needed for school accountability. Schools secretary Ed Balls told the House of Commons this afternoon that he wants to put more emphasis on teacher assessment in secondary schools.

Meanwhile, the Government’s controversial “single level test” trial, which could have seen Sats replaced for all seven- to 11-year-olds by a system in which a pupil took an exam when their teacher believed they were ready to do, is also being abandoned for secondary pupils. The trial will continue in primary schools, and ministers said they had no plans to replace key stage 2 testing.

Mr Balls told MPs that secondaries will still have the choice to set their pupils key stage 3 tests in English, maths and science this year, but that results will no longer be published in league tables.

The Government is also to investigate introducing a new system for checking national performance standards at key stage 3, under which a small sample of pupils would take a test in English, maths and science. And, from 2010 onwards, schools could also be ranked using “report cards”, which would see them given a grade A to F based on an assessment of their performance across a range of measures, including exam performance and pupil well-being.

The Government has been under pressure over Sats all summer after the marking of both the KS2 and the KS3 tests was thrown into chaos.

Mr Balls said: “These reforms will provide more regular and more comprehensive information to parents…support heads and teachers to make sure that every child can succeed, and strengthen our ability to hold all schools to account, as well as the public’s ability to hold Government to account.”


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