A fix for all the fiddle claims

4th July 2003 at 01:00
SO the key stage 2 test results are out and accusations of a gigantic fiddle are already starting. And is it any wonder when:

* The QCA does not decide pass marks until AFTER tests have been marked, thus illuminating the mechanism by which any "fiddles" can be achieved. I wonder how many members of the public assume that marking criteria and pass marks are set as a part of the test-setting process, and well before markers get to work?

* Schools are not required to submit teachers' assessments until early July - by which time there is every likelihood that results will be known and "adjustments" can be made to make it seem as if assessments are in line with results.

It would be easy for both flaws to be resolved next year: Publish pass-mark thresholds at the same time as tests are released, and require schools to submit teachers' assessments with the test papers. Or would such changes make it even more obvious that Sats are basically flawed and meaningless?

Alan Sturgess 17 Eshton Road Gargrave, North Yorkshire

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