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Tests asking to be abolished

In last year's key stage 3 English test, 14-year-olds were given lines from Macbeth and asked how the extracts "explore the idea that it is difficult to know whom to trust". With the belated publication of the 2004 tables (page 8) it is worth asking not just "whom" teachers should distrust following the test fiasco, but "what". Last autumn, a devastating official report blamed "myriad" errors for a three-month delay in publishing the results. The Government blamed the National Assessment Agency, whose managing director resigned.

Few teachers believe in the reliability of this distinctly dodgy English test, that was incompetently designed, poorly administered and relied on a rag-tag army of inadequately qualified markers. The resultant league tables are deeply suspect.

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