Talk, don't pay

14th July 1995 at 01:00
Before submitting any "rogue" key stage 3 English test scripts back to the marking agency, ask yourself if it really is worth it? In doing this "innocent" act, we are - ironically - raising the status of the tests, and we must continually remind ourselves, parents, governors and senior management teams that the test results only form part of the picture and that teacher assessment has equal status and validity, and should be reported to parents in that way.

There may be lots of discussion in many a charmed circle (including The TES) about the tests, but if teachers are to gain control of the curriculum, we must give teacher assessment a voice.

So before you spend your budget on re-mark fees, think carefully about the significance of tests at KS3 as part of the whole educational experience. Receiving a level 5 rather than a level 6 will not prevent entrance to Oxbridge or deny access to GCSE. Unlike public exams, they do not affect life-chances. It would be very foolish for any school simply to use test results as the basis for setting in Year 10.

My advice would be to leave the dust to gather on the 1995 scripts and think more critically about the future. We must begin to form local networks, liaising with feeder primaries to moderate coursework thoroughly. We should be asking for supply cover for time off so that pupils' work receives the attention it deserves.

KEVIN MORRIS Head of English The Bradbourne School Sevenoaks, Kent

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