Education Secretary David Blunkett has proposed that by 2007, 85 per cent of 14-year-olds should achieve the expected standard (level 5) in English, maths and information and communications technology. The target should be 80 per cent for science.
Intermediate targets have also been set for 2004.
And the Department for Education and Employment is considering how tests in ICT might be developed. Until then teacher assessment will be used to measure progress towards the intermediate 2004 target, a DFEE spokesman said.
Mr Blunkett has also proposed a minimum targe for each local authority. By 2004, 65 per cent of 14-year-olds will be expected to achieve level 5 in English and maths tests and at least 60 per cent in science. Schools have until December 15 to respond.
The consultation coincides with the publication of a discussion document which aims to open a debate about how to raise achievment in the early secondary years. The pamphlet, Unlocking potential: the key stage 3 debate, published by the Oxford and Cambridge exam board, includes essays by Mr Blunkett, Tory education spokeswoman Theresa May and Liberal Democrat Phil Willis.
The Government consultation document is at www.standards.dfee.gov.ukperformancetargetconsultations.html
The OCR pamphlet is available on www.ocr.org.uk