* So, students in England have got better at doing national tests between 2000 and 2003, and worse at other tests that measure different aspects of language, maths and science such as PISA ("Doubts over world ranking"; TES, August 18).

Why is anyone surprised? Because of the pressure to raise scores, teachers have focused on those aspects of English, maths and science that are tested in national tests, and ignored others.

Those who think the national tests measure everything that is important are happy, and those who don't are not. Which only goes to show that the clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get it, but the less likely it is to mean anything.

Dylan Wiliam

Deputy director, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way


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