Vote of no confidence in performance tables

20th September 1996 at 01:00
At the end of summer term, my governing body considered whether it should send this year's key stage 2 results to the Government. We decided not to.

Our decision was not based on the philosophical view of the rights or wrongs of performance tables. School governors were being asked to provide results knowing that this year's testing system has not been validated and that the results would be compared with those of last year. Yet last year's testing system had clear problems and the data it produced remain flawed.

Education and Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard's change of mind to publish the 1996 results did not alter the fact that using the data might be misleading, and no direct comparison could be made with last year when the system was different. If data are to be used to demonstrate performance, it is essential that they are reliable.

When our marked KS2 national test papers were received back at school and reviewed, many examiner errors were found. Two children gave the same answer to a question and got different marks. As it was, the marking errors did not alter the level at which our children were placed.

However, if these errors had been repeated nationwide, it can be seen that there can be no confidence in the results on which the Government intends basing its performance tables.

PETER HIGGINSON Chairman of governors Nether Stowey voluntary-controlled primary school Nether Stowey Somerset

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