Improved performance beggars belief

30th January 1998 at 00:00
At the time of writing the key stage 2 test results had not yet been published. Our results are on a par with our average performance but slightly down on 1996.

I am particularly concerned about the credibility of the published results as the improved performance of some Birmingham schools beggars belief. If performance in particular schools can be so enhanced in one year then the staff concerned should perhaps be leading at national level rather than working in local schools.

As these results are now published and widely debated, it is time they were administered as public examinations and invigilated by individuals independent of the school. If the conditions under which the tests are taken are guaranteed in this way, the published results will have meaning and relevance for comparability purposes. As things stand, it is impossible for any local or national figure to talk about progress being made towards previously identified targets when the playing field is potentially so uneven.

The other great danger is that schools will feel pressured to coach the children purely to do well in the tests to improve their league table position with consequential damage to the child's overall education.


Headteacher St John Fisher RC primary school Alvechurch Road, Birmingham

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,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today