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A commitment to the development of value-added measures

The claim in your article "Don't dither over tables" (TESS, January 31) that the Scottish Executive Education Department has "no plans to extend value-added work" is in fact incorrect.

I was a member of the 1998 joint committee established by the SEED and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities looking at value-added measures for primary and the early stages of secondary. The group reported in December 2001 and the report was circulated in June 2002 to all directors of education.

The development is tied to the collection of the pupil level data being developed by Scottish Exchange of Educational Data (ScotXed) and the report clearly indicates the commitment of the SEED to the development of value-added measures for primary and early secondary.

It thus surprises me that the SEED spokesperson did not indicate these links and indicate the importance that it and the education authorities attach to developing value-added approaches for assessing pupil progress which schools would use as part of their self evaluation processes. This approach was endorsed by both Ronnie Smith and Fraser Sanderson in your article.

It may well be that the spokesperson was answering a question about the publication of value-added data, present and proposed, and in these circumstances the answer is correct. But it is not clear that a lot of work has been undertaken by the SEED and the education authorities on value-added measures and that there are significant plans to extend these measures.

I hope that you correct this misunderstanding.

Ron Mitchell

Research and development officer

Inverclyde Council, Education Services

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