No more tests for jaded Angus teachers

28th April 2000 at 01:00
INNOVATION fatigue among teachers effectively rules out further fundamental change to 5-14 assessment, including externally set and marked tests, Angus has concluded. Instead, it wants more systematic moderation with the professional judgments of teachers at the heart of any regime.

"It seems self-evident that more meaningful change will take place if it is undertaken as a genuine collaborative effort between all key stakeholders, rather than being imposed by government on unwilling teachers, parents or pupils," the SNP-run council states.

The council rules out the externally set and marked tests that are increasingly popular in other authorities. These would lower teacher morale and cause unnecessary problems, it says.

Angus harbours "fairly major reservations" about standardised tests, including the "inevitability" of teaching to the test and the potential to place pupils under "undue stress". <> It accepts there are attractions in external testing because of the information provided for monitoring and evaluating progress, especially for pupils at the end of P7.

But it concludes: "On balance, it would appear that the enormous cost of setting up a system of externally set and marked tests should be better dedicated to providing quality time to enable teachers to undertake more systematic moderation, which in itself should lead to more reliable assessments taking place."

Angus says more time to work with colleagues, pupils and parents would improve the reliability of individual and collective judgments. "There is potential benefit in extending moderation possibly to all schools within a cluster group." But there is "little enthusiasm" for external moderation.

The council accepts that the current tests narrow the curriculum because they are limited to reading, writing and maths.

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