Has the testing regime had its day?

30th March 2007 at 01:00
Schools should be about educating pupils, not teaching them to pass tests in an inflexible, mechanical process and shoehorning them into sitting tests at times that suit the Government's agenda, not the interests of children. Tests have a place in education but our pupils are currently over-tested.

I welcome the proposals from Ken Boston, head of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, for greater use of teacher assessment as this would allow teachers to use their professional skills for the benefit of pupils'

education. We need to move away from rigid teaching to tests to allow more accurate measures of pupils' development. Random selection of pupils would be better than the current system but could lead to teaching to tests to ensure pupils were prepared in case they were selected. We would need assurance that data from random tests would not be used for league tables or drive intervention by Ofsted. As personalised learning becomes the focus of attention, it is time for the Government and the QCA to bring this testing regime to an end.

Philip Parkin

General Secretary, Professional Association of Teachers, Derby

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