The Government’s evidence to the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee in 2007 included the following quotation:
“The benefits of a national system of assessment have been immense. The aspirations of pupils and their teachers have been raised. The public has a right to demand such transparency.” I am endeavouring to find a link for the entire submission.
I intend, also, to include a link to the Government’s response to the above inquiries conclusions on assessment, when it is published in summer 2008.
Meanwhile, however, Ofsted and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority have offered many insights into hyper-accountability over the years, many of them less than flattering.
Ofsted submitted evidence to the Select Committee’s 2008 inquiry into the curriculum. This documents the narrowing of the curriculum in the run-up to the Key Stage 2 tests. An extract is available here:
Commentary from the annual report of David Bell, chief inspector of schools, from 2004/05, on the effects of key stage 3 English tests, is here:
Another Ofsted report, offering an insight into maths teaching in the run-up to the KS3 tests in year nine, is here:
An extract from a report on the teaching of music in primary schools is here:
Other Ofsted reports touching on test-driven schooling are here:
The letter from Christine Gilbert, chief inspector of schools, to the committee, pulling together Ofsted’s evidence on teaching to the test as of July 2008, is here.
In the House of Commons on July 26th, 2007, Ed Balls, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary, responded to a question from the Conservative MP Rob Wilson, asking whether the Government would cut testing in the future.
Hansard records Mr Balls as saying:
“I think that it is the Conservative party that has advocated a reduction in testing; that was certainly the previous shadow Minister’s view. In my view, testing is essential for parents, for head teachers and for pupils themselves, to be able to track progress. We want to ensure that we test more through the curriculum, but do it in a personalised way that enables us to drive up standards for every child, and to give teachers the information they need to ensure that we drag up poor performance as well as promote excellence. So I can tell the hon. Gentleman from this party that there will be no retreat from the testing agenda.”