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Education: Assessments

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether it is the policy of his Department to regard trends in examination results in England as reliable quantitative indicators of long-term changes in educational standards; and if he will make a statement. (163534)

The Department has a public service agreement (PSA) to support its strategic objective to achieve world-class standards in education by raising the educational achievement of all children and young people. The proportion of young people who succeed in public examinations is one of the key performance indicators of this PSA. In this context it is important that exam standards are maintained, which is why the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has rigorous procedures in place for ensuring consistency over time.

To ensure the reliability of the PSAs, each target is supported by guidance which sets out exactly how it will be measured. The Department is committed to ensuring that PSA targets are supported by rigorous performance information and in conjunction with the National Audit Office (NAO) has reviewed the data systems underpinning the former DfES PSA targets and is acting on these findings. A copy of the departmental report on progress towards meeting the Department's public service agreement (PSA) targets has been placed in the Library.