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Moderation pilots add to workload

Key stage test replacements have already run into trouble

THE PILOTS of new moderation arrangements for end of key stage assessments are already adding to teacher workload, it has been claimed.

The Assembly government is piloting ways of accrediting teachers'

judgements of pupils' work at ages 11 and 14, following the abolition of Sats in Wales.

It has launched a consultation on proposals which would see primary schools working in clusters with their feeder primaries, and secondary schools'

procedures being accredited externally (TES Cymru, November 3).

But heads of departments in secondary schools say the arrangements are already proving time-consuming.

And the National Union of Teachers Cymru has warned that plans to require secondaries to report on individual pupil results in the non-core subjects from 2008 will just add to the problems.

Around 30 per cent of secondary schools were involved in last year's KS3 pilots, moderating work in the core subjects of EnglishWelsh, science and maths. More than half have signed up for activities this year (20067).

Schools have been asked to provide assessed samples of students' work for all attainment targets in each subject, at as many national curriculum levels as possible, and from a range of teachers.

The samples are then moderated externally against detailed level descriptions - with schools advised on teachers' judgements.

The pilots will be expanded to non-core subjects, with each subject department being accredited as having sound assessment procedures. Stephen Senior, assistant head and head of science at Pen-y-dre comprehensive, Merthyr Tydfil, said schools had been told sample work should be taken from daily class activities.

But he fears schools will require pupils to carry out additional tasks. For example, his school has been asked for examples of full investigations in science for KS3 pupils. But at Pen-y-dre, complete investigations are usually saved to KS4.

"We don't want to replace teaching to the test with teaching to the task,"

he said.

He is also concerned about assessment changes when science departments are introducing new GCSE courses, and the curriculum will be revised from 2008.

Abersychan comprehensive, near Pontypool, Torfaen, is also involved in the pilots. Head of English, Benita Kelly, said: "We are used to sending off GCSE folders, and KS3 moderation is similar. But we will have to be more careful about getting the levels right."

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