Serious fault in new curriculum

20th March 2009 at 00:00

I was not surprised to read the article about assessment by Ronnie Summers of School Leaders Scotland (February 20). To me, and most primary practitioners, it reveals one of the serious fault lines in the structure of A Curriculum for Excellence and some of the resultant thinking.

From the beginning of the consultation process, nearly six years ago, representatives of primary, nursery and special schools have been arguing against losing one of the few strengths of 5-14, which was the curricular continuity into S1, removing an artificial "end of stage" in P7.

As predicted, level 2 ending at P7 has become a hostage to fortune, stimulating the regressive thinking contained in the article.

Although I can understand SLS's frustration with the way that 5-14 assessment data was used and abused, surely ACfE and Assessment is For Learning allow us the opportunity to go forward and put in place best practice.

A menu of continuous assessment activities involving an appropriate mix of formative and summative evidence, perhaps with the addition of national assessment bank materials, would provide a more comprehensive and reliable assessment profile, to share meaningfully with secondary colleagues, than the old "quali" mentality rejected in the 1960s.

Sometimes I think AiFL never happened.

Gordon Smith, headteacher, Jordanhill Primary, Glasgow.

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