Test pressure off

10th January 2003 at 00:00
The letter primary heads received from junior minister Stephen Twigg this week seems designed to make them feel pressured and anxious about this year's national tests.

In fact, it is only ministers who should feel this way. However much they exhort heads to "consider carefully what further action you can take this term in your school to ensure improvements" in order to reach Government targets, it will be hard to compare the 2003 results with previous years.

The tests have been rightly amended: maths will have more problem-solving questions, science will better assess investigation skills and the English writing test will be harder to teach to. Examiners will of course do their best to ensure equivalence but, whether scores go up or down next year, we will not really know if standards have improved or not.

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