Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)
Further to its previous submission, ASCL would
like to make the following points:
1. The over-assessment of young people in
England is causing them considerable stress and this is incompatible
with the first outcome of Every Child Matters (being healthy).
The stress is evidenced by international comparisons (for example,
by UNESCO) of the happiness and wellbeing of young people, in
which England has not featured at all well.
2. Many of the costs of external examinations
were highlighted in our original submission. We would like to
add further that the supervision of the large number of additional
support staff required to make the current examination systems
work has fallen upon senior staff. This is an additional load
in itself and an indirect cost not included in our previous paper.
3. The cost of the national testing regime
is wholly disproportionate to the gains made at intermediate key
stages, most especially (in secondary schools) at Key Stage 3.
In looking for efficiency savings, the Government should be aware
that there is an obvious return to be had in streamlining over-costly
and only marginally useful tests at this stage.
4. Age-related tests are also antagonistic
to the personalisation "test when ready" philosophy
underpinning Making Good Progress.
5. We would like to see the development
of student portfolios of work in which objective e-testing components
are a part. The e-testing would happen when an individual is ready,
so would be spread across a school year and not prove unmanageable
(as the earlier ICT e-Tests at KS3 proved to be for many schools).
6. The portfolios should be moderated by
accredited Chartered Assessors, as suggested in our original paper.
7. Chartered Assessors should have an obligation
to moderate other schools and, in turn, be moderated by others
of their rank (thereby avoiding any conflict of interest).
8. There are current and successful role
models for this approachmost obviously BTEC at all levels
post-14 and is, we understand, to be QCA's recommended assessment
regime for the new Diplomas.
9. The implication of this is that a Chartered
Assessor would be required in each school for each of the core
subjects currently tested at Key Stage 3 (English, maths and science).
Such a less costly system could further be extended to ICT, thereby
helping to ensure that 14-year olds reached functionality in the
four major areas of the curriculum.
10. Functional skills should be a subsumed
part of GCSEs. Functionality should be assumed to be achieved
by an individual securing a GCSE grade C or better on papers that
have been designed to include that as an objective. They should
also be available as stand-alone qualifications for those not
expected, or subsequently proven unable, to reach that level in
the standard school examination. We understand this to be the
intention for English, maths and science but, as ICT GCSE is generally
an optional subject in KS4, functional skills must be tested in
some other way. The portfolio approach would lend itself to this
assessment, particularly in the many schools in which ICT is consciously
taught as an embedded part of the whole curriculum.