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Testing times are a killer

Over-assessment is killing learning and placing undue stress on pupils and teachers, George MacBride, education convener of the Educational Institute of Scotland, will tomorrow (Saturday) tell the union's education conference in the capital.

Mr MacBride will call for a culture change on assessment now that the education system has moved on from its fixation with targets. Testing policy had been used in recent decades to extend government control of what is taught in schools and the way in which it is taught.

He says: "Assessment for certification has grown in Scottish schools until we have arrived at the current structure in which a young person, in the course of three years, passes through two quite different certification systems. This requires young people to undergo a variety of both internal and external assessment and provides them with annual certification whether this is of immediate use to them or not."

The Scottish Executive, in its outline education plans, has already questioned whether the pattern of three external sets of exams in three years for senior pupils is now a suitable pattern.

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