Tests and trust

7th August 2009 at 01:00

It was no surprise to read the headline "Single-level tests to go on despite `technical issues'" (July 31). The Government's plan was always to link the expensive and flawed piloting of assessing pupils' progress (APP) with the introduction of single-level tests.

The introduction of two testing windows in a year - which single-level tests will create - should be cause for concern enough in itself, based on the evidence we have seen of teaching to the test and the way the curriculum has been unbalanced in favour of tested subjects.

The Government will claim that teachers have been trained through APP to enter children at "correct" levels - so that the single-level tests only act as confirmatory and therefore empower teachers' own assessments. If they so trust teachers' assessments, why are key stage 1 teachers still forced to use tests to "underpin" their reported assessments five years after KS1 testing was abolished?

Professor Bill Boyle, Chair of Educational Assessment, School of Education, University of Manchester.

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