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Education Reform

Volume 130: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how he intends to ensure that the new national tests contain no inherent bias against (a) children from different cultural backgrounds and (b) multi-lingual children whose first language is not English.

The task group on assessment and testing has recommended that assessment instruments should be reviewed regularly by statistical and other means for any evidence of bias, particularly in respect of gender and race. The group also suggested that children whose first language is not English might be exempted if their language problems made tests unworkable; and that assessment in other skills, particularly at age seven, should wherever practicable and necessary, be conducted in the pupil's first language.