HC Deb 12 May 1992 vol 207 cc66-7W
Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what arrangements he intends to make for national curriculum assessments in 1993; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Patten

I have today published for consultation draft orders to govern the assessment under the national curriculum in 1993 of seven-year-olds in the core subjects —English, mathematics, science—and technology, history and geography, and of 14-year-olds in the core subjects and technology. I am placing copies of the draft orders, together with drafts of the accompanying circulars, in the Libraries of both Houses.

Next year's assessment of 14-year-olds will be the first under statutory arrangements. They will apply to all maintained secondary schools, city technology colleges and such independent schools as choose to participate. The key main features will be: —short, unseen written examinations covering the key elements of each subject under assessment, with a standardised longer practical test of pupils' designing and making skills in technology; —the assessment by teachers of each pupil's attainments on the basis of their school work across the whole of each subject to provide a detailed diagnosis of strengths and weaknesses which will inform GCSE option choices and future teaching; —a rigorous audit by independent examining bodies of each school's test marking and teacher assessments before assessment results are reported to parents or published. The examining bodies will be designated by the Secretaries of State on the advice of the School Examinations and Assessment Council (SEAC); —provision for test results to be preferred to teacher assessments in determining overall subject scores where both are available in relation to the same AT, with teacher assessments used in relation to attainment targets which are not tested.

We are proposing that the written examinations of 14-year-olds in 1993 should take place in the week beginning 7 June.

These arrangements, proposed in the light of advice from SEAC, will secure for the first time reliable assessments of 14-year-olds nationwide for the purpose of reporting to parents and more generally. They will also inform teachers of how, at a critical stage of development, each of their pupils is progressing in each aspect of each subject. They will provide the underpinning to raise standards of achievement in our secondary schools.

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