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

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today