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Authority plans test for five-year-olds

Government advisers have outlined plans to develop a sophisticated checklist for testing five-year-olds.

The School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, which has published an interim report on so-called "baseline assessment", plans to develop a test model involving a "best fit" approach and a checklist.

But Tim Coulson, SCAA professional officer for assessment, said it was too early to talk about how baseline assessment of five-year-olds could be used to produce "value-added" league tables.

This means that schools anxious to compare tests for five-year-olds with those for seven-year-olds to measure how effective their teaching is cannot expect the Government to enter the debate soon.

The baseline assessment report is based on discussions at four teachers' conferences in London, Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester in September and October.

SCAA says the 500 conference delegates welcomed a national framework for baseline assessment that would encourage local schemes to flourish.

There was consensus at the conferences that personal and social development should play a greater role in baseline assessment. There was also agreement, says SCAA, on involving parents and carers at an early stage, and for tests to be carried out in the first half-term of primary school. A national framework on baseline assessment is expected to be introduced in September 1997, but schools will not have to test children until September 1998.

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