The man who recommended the scrapping of school tests for 11 and 14-year-olds in Wales received an OBE for services to education in the New Year honours list.
Professor Richard Daugherty, 62, who recently retired as dean of the University of Aberystwyth, headed the seven-month review of statutory testing which was welcomed by teaching unions.
"It seemed to take over my life," he said, "but we like to think we have produced a system that better serves the needs of children.
"We were looking to come up with an alternative framework that did not have the same negative effects as the testing."
The decision over what level of attainment pupils have reached will now be left to teachers themselves, working with colleagues in other schools and monitored by outsiders.
Professor Daugherty's team also recommended skills testing for Year 5 pupils which it was felt would play a key role in preparing them for secondary school.
"I am not as retired as I thought I'd be," joked Professor Daugherty who lives with his wife, Gaynor, in Swansea. "A lot of my time is devoted to the assessment reform group and I also give talks on the Welsh review.
"The OBE was a pleasant surprise although I have reservations about the fairness of the system. There are many other people at least as deserving as me, but on the other hand it is nice to be recognised."
Sir Roger Jones, OBE, chairman of the Welsh Development Agency, who received a knighthood for services to training and business, said he reacted to the news with "absolute disbelief".
Before taking the WDA chair, Sir Roger, 61, was responsible for the launch of the Training and Enterprise Council for south-east Wales.
A former BBC governor, he chaired the BBC's Children In Need charity. Most of his energies these days are devoted to the Sparkle Appeal, a Newport-based charity seeking to build a pound;6 million centre for children suffering from diseases such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and spina bifida.
Sir Roger, who lives near Brecon, learnt of his knighthood on the same day that a former schoolmate, Professor Rees Davies - one of the country's foremost experts on Tudor history - was similarily honoured.
"The two of us attended Bala Boys grammar school in Gwynedd," recalled Sir Roger. "The school only had around 150 pupils, yet two of them received such a tremendous honour on the very same day."
Priscilla Elizabeth Davies, JP, regional manager for INCLUDE - a national charity dedicated to tackling social exclusion among teenagers - received an OBE for services to young people and the community.
Ms Davies, who formerly worked as a volunteer at Usk Young Offenders'
Institution, said: "I felt quite emotional when I found out.
"Now I feel as though I ought to earn it."
Among those awarded the MBE was Terry Collins, 60, who set up a section of the Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied Association to support Greenfield special school in Merthyr Tydfil.
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