Boycott the test lottery

22nd October 2004 at 01:00
It is unbelievable that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is once again going to conduct its own inquiry into its incompetence, and even then is ignoring the incompetence of its marking agencies. The Department for Education and Skills and the QCA must be the only people left who believe that the final results for the key stage 3 English tests will be accurate.

We all know that the tests were not fit for purpose, because the results depend on the lottery of which Shakespeare play the school chose to study.

We all know the marking was totally inconsistent, so the results depend on the lottery of which marker the school was allocated.

We all know that the review process is a sham, carried out by the marking agencies to conceal their own incompetence. We received our "reviewed" scripts and could not begin to work out what, if anything, had been done to rectify the huge original errors.

We all know that, even after review, the results are still a lottery. We know this because we know teachers who are markers, who tell us that the marks awarded to our pupils bear no relationship to those which they would have awarded, following the same mark scheme.

Pupils are being put off English by being told they are no good at the subject any more. Teachers are demoralised because even those who are Sats markers don't understand what is required.

I am a maths teacher, and perfectly happy with the maths Sats. However, I am no longer willing to stand by and see pupils and their English teachers so badly let down by the QCA.

I am calling on the General Teaching Council for England to stop this abuse of professional standards by leading a boycott of KS3 English Sats until there is a robust assessment system in place in which everyone can trust.

Tony Toubkin

Thornleigh Lodge

Burton, Lancashire

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