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The inspectors' 12 options;News;News amp; Opinion

ONE. Sharper staff development based on existing guidelines and support materials, to make clear that classroom assessment is an essential part of teaching.

TWO. A better description of what assessment evidence should be retained and how it should be recorded, reported and transferred to others.

THREE. Providing performance criteria and examples of assessed work at each of the 3-14 levels, as has already happened in writing, so that when teachers see a piece of work they know what level it is.

FOUR. Revising the attainment targets and specifying more precisely what pupils should be able to do at each level, with safeguards against "unintended distortion" of the curriculum.

FIVE. A national assessment bank of test items in line with the Higher Still system.

SIX. More "informal moderation" of assessment allowing teachers to discuss and cross-check assessments of pupils' work either within or across schools. But this would make inroads into teachers' time.

SEVEN. External moderation of teachers' judgements, with scrutiny by teams of teachers appointed as moderators by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, as happens at Standard grade. But this would be very costly because teachers would have to be taken out of their own schools.

EIGHT. Extend national testing to other areas of the curriculum such as science.

NINE. Use externally set and marked tests.

TEN. Introduce objective, standardised tests at fixed points and at key stages such as an early baseline period, P7 and S2, or more frequently at two-year intervals from the end of P1.

ELEVEN. Expand the use of the Assessment of Achievement Programme beyond the 10 per cent sample of pupils in P4, P7 and S2 who are tested in English, maths and science every three years.

TWELVE. Increased participation in international surveys of attainment - economical but results are hard to interpret and usually out of date.

* The Scottish Executive's paper also invites other options and asks if there is a case for "fundamental change, minor changes or no change to the present system."

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