Friday, August 15, 2008

Balls is right to end the ETS contract but...

Ed Balls is right to have exerted pressure on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to end its contract with ETS following the debacle over this year's KS 2 and KS 3 tests. The DCFS will now offer a one year contract to cover next year's tests thus allowing Balls some wiggle-room regarding the future of SATS.

In my view Balls should announce that he is minded to scrap the testing regime in its present form, rely far more on teacher assessment and introduce what are known as 'stage not age' tests. England’s schools are amongst the most tested in Europe, if not the world. Yet we do not have the highest educational standards in Europe, let alone the world. As measured by OECD, countries like Finland and Japan provide more effective education for their students; these countries rely less on external testing and more on internal progress testing by teachers which would suggest strongly that there is no direct correlation between more external testing and better educational standards.

Such a move would be popular with parents, popular with schools and would in no way compromise the standards agenda - the sooner it happens the better.

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