Fundamental flaws of testing

IN response to recent letters on the subject of national curriculum test results, I would like to make three points.

First, we must not assume that the success of our attempts to improve the world is proportional to effort or financial investment. Stephen Timms, former schools standards minister, implies as such (TES, May 17) when he suggests that there must have been gains in attainments since "huge investments have been made since 1997 for each pupil". Unfortunately, time and again the evaluation of educational programmes points to disappointing or unexpected outcomes.

Second, contrary to the ill-informed opinion of one "expert" (TES, May 24), the Performance Indicators in the Primary Schools Project (PIPS) is a very broadly based system of comprehensive, high-quality tests of attainment, developed ability and attitudes for children of all ages throughout primary school. Thousands of schools are involved in the project.

Third, the end-of-key-stage tests are not capable of monitoring standards over time. The system is fundamentally flawed. Read an explanation of the problem at www.cem.dur.ac.uk Professor Peter Tymms Director of the PIPS project University of Durham

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