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Boys and girls are on a par in S1

BASELINE testing at Banchory Academy over the past five years has shown no difference between boys and girls when they enter S1.

The Aberdeenshire secondary is one of the country's top-performing schools in terms of Higher results and introduced the Durham tests after uncertainty about the reliability of 5-14 assessment.

"We were not getting a broad picture of what every child was capable of when they come in," Sheila Di Maio, depute head, told the conference. Mrs Di Maio believes the 55-minute all-round ability tests administered early in S1, and marked by the Durham centre, appeal more to boys because there is little writing involved.

The standardised test information was particularly useful if the evidence was in direct contrast to 5-14 results or where there were anomalies. It could show strengths and weaknesses and produced details about the potential abilities of individual pupils in a number of subject areas.

Pupils who scored poorly in spatial awareness would be unlikely to be good at graphic communication.

The tests were only one measure of performance, although they were a strong predictor of Standard grade performance.

Meetings where test results were broken down encouraged 60 per cent of parents to turn up.

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