Improve assessments or 5-14 failure will be repeated

20th March 2009 at 00:00

I agree with Lindsay Paterson's comments about national assessments, in his critique of the current reforms (March 6). These have been a root cause of the failure of 5-14 to be taken as seriously as it should have been at the later levels.

A growing number of parents are becoming aware that their child may be struggling because they lacked enough quality at the previous level, a scenario many teachers are acutely aware of.

Unless assessment under the new curriculum is more robust than its 5-14 counterparts, I fear its structure will worsen the situation. Why? There are, in the main, four levels of attainment up to P7 as things stand, but ACfE implies mainly two. So there will be much broader levels, with implications for the assessment to be more thorough and reliable than the 5-14 national assessments have been to date.

However, there is room for improvement: if we can get children to be as fluent as possible with reading and numbers, they will tend to show excellence in any curriculum.

Tom Renwick, Maths on Track, Glasgow.

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