Tests breakthrough 'for majority of students'

8th June 2001 at 01:00
THE Educational Institute of Scotland, facing a grassroots revolt on internal assessment, was claiming a major breakthrough this week in its battle to cut class tests to a minimum.

In her presidential speech to the union's annual conference in Perth yesterday (Thursday), Margaret Nicol said options for change agreed by the National Qualifications Steering Group on Tuesday mean that "for the majority of students in our schools, internal assessment as we have known it, will cease to exist".

The recommendations will now go to Jack McConnell, Education Minister. Mr McConnell has made clear his determination to reduce assessment to ease the burden on pupils as well as those on teachers.

A spokesperson said Mr McConnell was anxious to find "quick fix" solutions aimed at improving efficiency and best practice in handling assessment. But he will consult on more radical solutions suggested by the steering group, which havecaused anxiety in further education colleges.

The EIS is pressing for "a twin-track approach" in which pupils taking full-year courses would take only the external exam while those not on such courses would be internally assessed. The second option is said to be similar except that, to cater for the different needs of FE colleges, students not on full courses would earn credits for their units.

"In either case, internal assessment would become at best diagnostic for the majority of school pupils," Mrs Nicol said.

The EIS president acknowledged that these changes could not be brought about before August next year, which would do nothing to reduce the immediate assessment burdens. She called on the Education Minister to take steps now.

The steering group has meanwhile agreed there should be an urgent review of the internal assessment needs on a subject-by-subject basis.

Mountain to climb, page 4

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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today