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Testing times

"If at first you don't succeed, test and test again" (TES, January 12) seems to be the Government's prescription for its own lack of progress as well as for learners. But its proposals do offer the chance of genuine personalised assessment and accountability to parents without unduly distorting learning and teaching, provided - and here's the nub - that summations of these more personalised assessments are not used to judge the quality of whole schools. Quality should be made public, but through a reformed school inspection system.

As a critic, I admit that the Government seems to be "making progress", but it must still take the extra step of decoupling individual assessment data from whole-school accountability. Taking it would be a "giant step", if not "for mankind" then at least for personalised education in England.

Professor Colin Richards

Spark Bridge,

Cumbria

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