Make asssessment easier with chartered examiners

Welsh heads are pushing for a simpler assessment and moderation regime, conducted by teachers in their own schools who qualify as chartered examiners.

At the Secondary Heads Association Cymru's annual conference in Llandrindod Wells yesterday , national president Sue Kirkham was expected to reiterate the case for chartered assessors, arguing that it would cut down on bureaucracy and reduce the time teachers spend out of the classroom moderating each other's work.

Speaking before the meeting, she said: "There's too much external assessment. We would prefer to see more done internally. But to do that you've got to make sure that it's robust.

"One way is to have chartered assessors, so teachers will have done a particular amount of training and will be able to assess their own students and moderate the work of other teachers."

SHA has been campaigning for such a move in England and Wales for the past year. It has been ruled out in England but Mrs Kirkham suggested the idea could be taken up in Wales in light of last year's Daugherty review, which recommended the abolition of Sats in favour of beefed-up teacher assessment.

John Valentine Williams, chief executive of ACCAC, the Welsh qualifications, curriculum and assessment authority, is working on the new assessment arrangements and expects to start consultations on the proposals in the first half of next year.

It is not yet clear how much external assessment and moderation will take place under the new regime at key stage 3, but ACCAC's plans are not yet set in stone, according to Mr Williams.

He said: "SHA says that teachers will be going out of school, but our thinking has not reached that sort of certainty.

"Outline proposals will emerge during 2006. Meanwhile, if SHA has better ideas it should submit them to us."

He added: "Because we're in these preparatory stages people tend to worry.

Whatever we propose will be built on best practice in Wales and we're mindful of the workload implications."

But adverts calling for KS3 moderators, placed by ACCAC's partner, the Welsh Joint Education Committee, have troubled teachers, who fear more paperwork and a heavier workload.

Last year's Daugherty review also suggested that it would be good practice for local education authorities to bring secondary teachers of the same subject together to talk about moderation, which would mean more meetings and time outside the classroom. But Daugherty also proposed that moderation at KS3 would take place at accredited schools by 2008.

Although this does not go as far as SHA's proposal, SHA Cymru's president Sue Halliwell - who handed the title over to Hel ne Mansfield at the conference today - said: "What SHA is calling for is further down the road, but the accreditation of schools is about trusting the profession, and in those schools there would have to be a teacher in charge anyway."

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