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High stakes and high performance

Tim Oates ("Lessons from the world's best educators", Comment, 3 May) notes that speaking and listening are fundamental to the curricula of high-performing jurisdictions, and vital to being able to engage with the world of work and society. But the likelihood of these skills being taught is remote if current proposals to remove them from high-stakes assessment (GCSE English) are implemented. Just because something is difficult to assess doesn't mean we shouldn't try. In an age when every smartphone can capture film and audio, could we not look more imaginatively at how such evidence could be externally assessed? If we don't, we will soon see another case of the assessment tail wagging the curriculum dog and employers continuing to lament that young people are leaving school unprepared for the workplace of today.

Jean Gross CBE, Former government communication champion for children.

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