Sunday, 6 July 2008

SATs results to be delayed

The Daily Mail reports that more than a million children will get their SATs results late because of administrative chaos, the Government admitted yesterday. Children's Secretary Ed Balls said that more time is needed to complete the marking of papers for 11 and 14-year-olds and to 'resolve technical issues'.

Results for Key Stage Two are expected to be received by schools a week late on July 15, and for Key Stage Three by the end of that week. The tests for 11-year-olds are seen as the most crucial as they determine primary schools' ranking in official Government league tables.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls has ordered an enquiry into the marking delay as more than a million children may not find out their results before the end of term. The data is also passed to secondary schools, enabling teachers to decide how to group new arrivals in key subjects if they use setting. An independent inquiry into the reason for the delay has begun and will report to the qualifications regulator Ofqual. The watchdog has already accused the National Assessment Agency, which oversees the testing, of letting teachers and pupils down.

The marking shambles is an embarrassment for the Government and has prompted teaching unions to demand that Sats tests are scrapped. Teachers assessing the papers have been warning for months of administrative problems at ETS Europe, the firm handling the marking for the first time on behalf of the NAA. Senior examiners have also claimed that quality control is weaker this year, so pupils may receive less accurate results.

The Times Educational Supplement yesterday revealed that marking of Key Stage Two English and Key Stage Three reading and maths was continuing into the weekend. This is despite the fact that all the test papers were due back in primary and secondary schools by Tuesday. The problems are believed to be worst in English.

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