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Seven out of 10 find tests 'not worthwhile'

Nearly half of teachers think the workload arising from national curriculum testing and assessment is still excessive and more than half think the testing regime "not at all worthwhile".

Concern over the testing workload is greatest among infant (key stage 1) teachers, according to a new survey by the 150,000-strong Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Two-thirds of infant teachers, slightly more than last year, think the workload has not been reduced to a reasonable level, and seven out of 10 do not believe the tests and tasks are "educationally worthwhile".

Workload problems at KS1 are compounded by a steady increase in class size, the association says. In 1992, a year after national curriculum tests were introduced, a quarter of primary pupils were in classes of 31 or more. Now, the proportion is nearly a third.

More than half of the teachers surveyed expressed concern that the tests had narrowed the curriculum.

But the figures are disputed by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, due to publish its own survey soon. According to the authority, this will show that 83 per cent of teachers found all the questions valid. At KS1, 61 per cent regarded the tests as manageable, while at KS2, 92 per cent found them manageable.

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