Tests unfit to gauge teachers' skills

21st November 2008 at 00:00

As a recently registered PGCE student, I read with interest your article "Is the basic skills bar too low for teachers?" (TES, November 14) about the "apparent" lack of rigour associated with the basic skills tests for trainee teachers.

As an experienced consumer of ICT in many different forms, there is nothing about these tasks that is beyond my level of ICT proficiency.

However, time wasted in repeatedly switching between windows in order to remind oneself of the task details means it is virtually impossible to finish all five tasks.

I contacted Pearson, which runs the basic skills tests on behalf of the Training and Development Agency for Schools to ask whether or not it had received many complaints about the format of the ICT test. And yes, it had. Lots of them.

Its advice was to concentrate on answering only three or four tasks, rather than attempting all five of them.

I pointed out that in tackling only three out of five tasks, approximately 40 per cent of my ICT competence would remain untested, and in that case just one minor slip-up would result in a fail.

Why are the careers of well-meaning trainee teachers at the mercy of such unwieldy, badly designed tests?

Craig Malcolm, Dorking, Surrey.

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