Infants hold key to test boycott

31st October 2003 at 00:00
It is time to follow the Welsh example and scrap key stage 1 tests in England. It has become clear that the pilot scheme to put more emphasis on teacher assessment will not do much to reduce workload or bureaucracy (see page 6). It won't give parents more information, nor will it really empower teachers, who must still administer official tests to every child. Many will feel it is safest to rely on those tests when formulating their own judgments.

This tinkering around the edges simply helps to demonstrate how hard it is to get national summative assessment for seven-year-olds right. Surely it would be better to focus on assessment for learning, as is happening in Scotland. Hardly anyone except a few government ministers thinks tests at seven are a good idea. If those ministers change their minds, they could well defuse the threat of a test boycott.

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