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Ignore the 'prophets of doom' on assessment

MOVES towards internal assessment need not be at the expense of national standards, colleges have been told.

Philip Banks, HM chief inspector, has acknowledged that more focused support is required for FE, particularly in allaying lecturers' fears about their role in internal assessment.

Writing in Broadcast, the journal of the Scottish Further Education Unit, Mr Banks said there was a feeling that the introduction of national assessment bank units, coupled with the impact of external moderation, "had somehow reduced the professional autonomy of lecturers by setting narrow and bureaucratic definitions of what constituted an acceptable judgment of student attainmnt.

"Nothing could be further from the purpose of internal assessment."

Provided lecturers could back their own judgments with evidence of performance related to the course grade descriptions, there should be no comfort for "the prophets of doom . . . predicting a free-for-all of diverging standards across the system".

Mr Banks concluded: "I hope that lecturers will understand the control they have over the timing of assessments and the nature of the evidence they need to make their evaluations of students' progress. The intention has always been to support the professionalism of lecturers, not to strait-jacket them with unnecessary bureaucracy."

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