Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Schools Tests "Shambles"

"Concerns about the administration of this year's school tests in England have prompted a call for payment to be withheld from the test contractor, ETS. " BBC News

The Lib Dem education spokesman David Laws has called the situation a "shambles".
Schools Secretary Ed Balls has said that action has been taken "to get things back on track".

But markers and schools report ongoing problems with the test process and there are complaints that pupils' scripts have not been collected from some schools. Some of those who have been trained and are waiting to start marking say the scripts have not been delivered to their homes.

ETS Europe, the company that has taken over this year from Edexcel has said it is addressing the issues and has promised that the results will be back with schools as scheduled by 8 July.

(In 2004 in America, ETS had given 4,000 graduate teachers the wrong marks for their teaching exams and had to pay millions in compensation. Mr Balls said that if he had had information on this earlier then he might have been able to look at it and consider it !)

I have been a marker for Edexcel a number of times over the years, and was approached by ETS Europe this year to mark for them. After a "shambles" with pin numbers to enter their site to register (even though they had all my information) and phone calls to people who I had to keep spelling words to as I spoke, I decided not to mark this year - luckily as it turns out.

But not lucky for the children who's education is being threatened by the continuation of tests that have shown little effect on standards. Also not lucky for teachers who's future seems to be a continuation of teaching for unnecessary tests, just to hit government targets. Targets set by a government who seem to have little comprehension of the real world of education, and marking organised by a company who's approach to these matters, certainly seems to be at the bottom of the class.

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