"Making Good Progress" Document

Education and Skills written question – answered on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills

(1) if he will make a statement on the future of the national curriculum assessments that take place at the end of key stages;

(2) whether the single level tests envisaged by the "Making Good Progress" consultation document are intended to (a) replace or (b) run alongside existing multi-level tests;

(3) if he will set out the (a) purpose, (b) timetable and (c) other arrangements for the pilot announced in the "Making Good Progress" consultation document; and if he will make a statement;

(4) who will carry out the evaluation of the conclusions of the pilot announced in the "Making Good Progress" consultation document;

(5) if he will ensure that the evaluation of the conclusions of the pilot announced in the "Making Good Progress" consultation document uses a methodology of a standard equivalent to that used in experimental research, including the use of control groups.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and 14-19 Learners), Department for Education and Skills, Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Schools and 14-19 Learners)

The consultation document "Making Good Progress" was published on 8 January 2007 and the consultation runs until 2 April 2007. It proposes a pilot to run for two years in a small number of local authorities (LAs). In some schools in those LAs, single-level "tests for progress" would be piloted, running alongside existing multi-level tests so that the results could be calibrated for consistency. Pupils in the pilot would therefore take both kinds of test. The document suggests that in-year tests might ultimately replace end of key stage arrangements, but this would depend on the experience of the pilot and is not an early prospect. Arrangements for the pilot, including the terms of reference for external evaluation, will be announced after the end of the consultation. The document makes clear that any changes trialled in the pilot, or adopted subsequently, would not be allowed to compromise the accountability delivered by the framework of tests, targets and performance tables which have helped to drive up standards so sharply over the past decade. The current national curriculum assessment arrangements at the end of key stages 1, 2 and 3 will continue to be an important part of our drive to raise standards in schools.

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