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Too early to be panicking

In response to your report and editorial last week on Curriculum for Excellence and assessment, it is worth pointing out that the Education Secretary's statement on National Qualifications was made in June, a mere 10 school weeks' back, and the key "Principles" paper published some 10 days ago. Both announcements were predicated on detailed proposals being produced subsequently to allow all concerned to consider implementation processes. That work is being undertaken at the moment.

In speaking to The TESS, I outlined a particular model for implementation which has been part of earlier discussions. It is, I believe, a sensible approach which supports the key aims of ACfE and significantly reduces the assessment burden on students and staff. It is a model for which I will continue to press.

However, rather than "insisting", as your report suggested, that this was the only possible approach, I specifically stated that other models would be considered, and that one of the key issues would be the nature of the assessment models produced by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. As a practitioner, I am acutely aware that flexibility is a resource-limited concept (staffing, timetabling, and so on), but it should be a key design feature of any effective modern assessment system.

The current timetable is extremely challenging - unrealistically so, in my view - but it is essential that time is taken to develop the detail of the new arrangements. Ten weeks on from the announcement is a little early to be pushing panic buttons.

Larry Flanagan, education convener, Educational Institute of Scotland.

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