Monday, 8 September 2008

Could this be the last year for SATs?

The BBC reports that Schools Secretary Ed Balls has hinted that the SATs tests could end next year. They may be replaced by assessments tailored to the ability of each child, he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

The national tests are taken by about one million children aged seven, 11 and 14 across England each May, but this year's marking was a "fiasco", he said. A five-year contract with ETS Europe was scrapped after it failed to get papers marked in time, and the next contract will be for one year only. "The current system is not set in stone," said Mr Balls. "We are looking currently at a way in which we could assess progress child by child with individual level tests where the tests would be chosen in a way which was right for the child, rather than everybody doing the same test on the same day. For 2009, we are going to do the same kind of tests as in previous years before the problems with ETS, but for the long term I am really keen to get this right, to listen."

The new exams would still be marked externally, Mr Balls added, at least for children leaving primary school.

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