If tests are flawed, whither targets?;Letter

15th January 1999 at 00:00
I HAVE noted the arguments put by various agencies following the claim by the chief inspector Chris Woodhead that national curriculum tests at 7, 11 and 14 are vague and unreliable.

Despite all the protestations of Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the National Foundation for Educational Research the fact remains that the head of OFSTED has rubbished the tests, but it is his office which is using the results of these tests to compare schools and as part of inspection judgments.

The Government has linked its educational policy firmly in line with the tests. Target-setting based on key stage results is obviously just a paper exercise with little or no basis in fact, or so Mr Woodhead would have us believe.

Targets for 2002, to which Mr Blunkett has nailed his colours, are obviously spurious and if the chief is right could be met by creatively setting tests.

Schools are spending valuable time working out targets, making judgments on pupils and producing vast quantities of paperwork to show they are improving based on data that is recognised as flawed by the chief inspector.

We have the ludicrous situation where teachers are being judged and criticised on information that is regarded as unreliable. Where does this put league tables, payment by results etc?

RJ Woodhead Headteacher Farley junior school, Luton

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