It is a myth that pupils are overtested, says new Ofsted chief inspector

15th January 2017 at 06:02
amanda spielman, ofsted, testing, gcse, a level, inspection
Amanda Spielman says that English children are tested no more than their counterparts around the world

The assumption that today’s schoolchildren are overtested is “a myth”, according to Amanda Spielman, the new Ofsted chief inspector.

Speaking to TES, Ms Spielman said: “I think there’s a bit of a myth around that we have a massively overtested set of students.”

She went on to say that academics such as Tim Oates, research director at Cambridge Assessment, had conducted a series of international testing comparisons, “and seem to conclude that, actually, it adds up to much the same amount of testing as in most other systems”.

Ms Spielman was talking to TES, one week after having taken up her post at Ofsted. She had previously served as chair of the exams regulator, Ofqual; before that, she worked for the academy chain Ark.

'Enormous amount of change'

When asked about testing in schools, she said: “If you’d been interviewing me a few weeks ago, with an Ofqual hat on, I’d be a lot more forthcoming than I’m probably going to be today, with an Ofsted hat on, because I don’t think we have a particular Ofsted view.”

She then went on to say that she did not think that English pupils were overtested, before adding: “But clearly there’s been an enormous amount of change, and there have been some kinds of teething problems, and there’s the whole new GCSEs and new A levels.

“It’s a tough time for schools and colleges, with so much change going through the system, and that’s something that, clearly, in inspections we’ve got to be aware of.”

A full interview with Amanda Spielman appears in the 13 January edition of TES magazine. Subscribers can access it here. The magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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