Primary gains 'overstated'

13th May 2005 at 01:00
Improvements in primary schools in Labour's first term may not be as dramatic as test results have indicated, further evidence suggested this week.

Key stage 2 pupils' scores under teacher assessment improved more slowly than did their test results in the years 1996-2000, the first detailed analysis of assessment scores in these years has shown.

The proportion of pupils achieving level 4 in the English tests increased by 17 percentage points, from 58 to 75 per cent. But under teacher assessment the rise was only 10 points, from 60 to 70 per cent.

In maths, test scores rose 18 points, from 54 to 72 per cent. Teacher assessment scores improved only 12 points, from 60 to 72 per cent.

Professor Colin Richards, of St Martin's college, Lancaster, who carried out the analysis for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the figures added further weight to the argument that primary improvements had been overstated.

The results come as the Department for Education and Skills is embroiled in a row with the Statistics Commission over the degree to which standards have improved in primaries.

Professor Richards also looked at inspection data from the Office for Standards in Education and the evidence of several research studies in seeking to ascertain whether standards had risen.

His 27-page report said the evidence suggested that there had been improvements between 1995 and 2001 in English, maths and science, but that this had not been as great as the increased test scores implied.

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