asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the function of the assessment of pertormance unit; how many people it employs; and what is the total cost to public funds per annum.
The assessment of performance unit promotes the development of methods of assessing and monitoring the achievement of children at school, and seeks to identify the incidence of under-achievement. The unit itself consists of five full-time and five part-time staff. It commissions universities and research bodies to undertake the development of test materials and the administration of surveys on its behalf.The unit is an integral part of my Department, and it would not be possible separately to determine the total cost of its operations without undue expense. The total salary bill of the unit's staff is currently about £60,000 per annum. Expenditure on monitoring surveys varies, but in 1980 surveys in mathematics and English language—both at age 11 and 15—and in science—at age 11, 13 and 15—are expected to cost about £700,000.