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Beginning of term tests for teachers

Primary teachers returning after Easter face a whopping 300 pages of their own national curriculum tests, courtesy of the Teacher Training Agency.

The brain-teasers, ranging from electrical circuitry to traditional sentence analysis, carry a warning that, if they are used incorrectly, "some teachers may become de-motivated".

The idea is to make teachers more aware of their individual strengths and weaknesses, before embarking on in-service training, says the TTA.

The packs - Needs Assessment Materials in Literacy, Mathematics and Science - contain two booklets for each core subject, the first contains tasks and questions, the second feedback and answers.

Frankie Sulke, head of teacher training at the TTA, said: "There is no pressure on schools to use the packs. But I think most teachers will welcome the opportunity to fine- grain their subject knowledge."

However, the National Association for the Teaching of English warned there was a danger the tests could be used to discriminate between teachers. General secretary Anne Barnes said: "The literacy tests are mostly about terminology and whether or not one knows a whole host of grammatical terms. There's nothing to say the teacher who has an encylopedic knowledge of terms is any better than the teacher who doesn't. " The TTA insist the packs are not designed to compare ability. "This is not a full assessment of ability. It's about self-assessment - it will simply help teachers identify training needs and priorities."

* What you should know

Literacy: Identify the subject, verb and object in the following: "He looks up to me" "Passengers coughed" Mathematics: A customer had a meal in a restaurant giving a 25% reduction but there was still a 10% service charge. The waiter made out the bill by first working out the service charge and then made a 25% reduction. The diner argued that too much was being charged and that the waiter should have reduced the cost of the meal before working out the service. Who was right and why?

Science: A child asks,"What is blood for? Why does it have to be pumped round?" How would you answer?

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