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National Curriculum Tests

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will place in the Library a copy of all correspondence between the Secretary of State, the Minister of State for Schools and Learners and Mr. Ken Boston between January and December 2008. (271772)

QCA has now placed correspondence between me and Ken Boston, in his role as chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), on their website at:

http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_15838.aspx

That web page also includes correspondence between QCA and other Government Ministers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of standard assessment tests in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in raising standards of literacy and numeracy; (272951)

(2) what consideration he has given to the replacement of standard assessment tests with a system of assessment by teachers.

Over the last 10 years, National Curriculum testing and assessment has played a vital role in ensuring that more than 100,000 more pupils leave primary school secure in English and maths. The Key Stage 2 tests provide a robust and objective measure of pupils' performance, and a recent survey confirmed that they are greatly valued by parents.

We announced last year that 14-year-olds would no longer be required to sit national Key Stage 3 tests, but would be assessed by ongoing teacher assessment throughout the key stage. At the same time, we established a new Expert Group on assessment to advise the Government on the future of testing and assessment and its role in school accountability. The group published its report on 7 May 2009. The group reported that the Key Stage 2 tests are valuable, vital for public accountability and a key part of giving parents objective information on their children's levels of attainment and progress. The group also made a number of recommendations for strengthening the quality of teacher assessment in primary and secondary schools.

The report and its recommendations, which the Government have agreed to in full, can be viewed on the DCSF website at:

http://publications.dcsf.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction= productdetails&PageMode=publications&Productld=DCSF-00532-2009&