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Welsh advisers urge assessment changes

Numerous changes to national curriculum assessment arrangements are being recommended by Welsh advisers.

The Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales has submitted a review to William Hague, the Welsh Secretary. It wants to see improvements in statutory teacher assessments and changes to some aspects of the statutory tests.

Initial and in-service training should emphasise teacher assessments, the authority recommends.

And it is investigating the possibility of introducing more in-service training by computer.

The authority wants to assess pupils in non-core subjects at key stage 3 by 1997, and to evaluate whether similar assessments should be made at KS 1 and 2.

A variety of changes are recommended between 1996 and 1998 in statutory tasks and tests.

This year, for example, teachers will not be allowed to open test packs before the examination day unless they need to make adaptations for special needs pupils.

Calculators will not be allowed for the maths A paper at KS2, and English marking will be revised at KS3.

Next year, the authority intends to consider discontinuing extension papers after 1997 because only a small number of pupils sit these tests.

And it will investigate whether the Shakespeare element at KS3 should be assessed by teachers rather than tests.

At KS 1 and 2 the authority recommends that in 1997 English spelling should be integrated in writing tests at KS 1 and 2.

It recommends improvements for 1998 to the assessment of Welsh, and to the assessment of maths and science through the medium of Welsh.

Throughout, the authority recommends that schools and the Welsh Office should continue to publish results. This year, it will examine how this information can be best used to raise standards.

In the long term the report wants to establish longitudinal surveys of pupils' achievement at KS 1, 2 and 3. Eventually it wants to compare those results with achievement at GCSE.

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