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CHANGES TO REMEDY 'TOO PRESCRIPTIVE' TESTS, SAYS MINISTER

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Clear evidence that tests are raising standards in schools was welcomed today by Education Minister. ...
Clear evidence that tests are raising standards in schools was welcomed today by Education Minister.

Lady Blatch said: 'The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) report 'National Curriculum Assessment, Recording and Reporting' provides further confirmation that the assessment arrangements are raising educational standards. Teachers are now feeling more confident in setting higher and more demanding targets for their pupils.

'The report also confirms that we were right to ask Sir Ron Dearing to review the National Curriculum and its Assessment. It is clear that since its introduction - over 5 years ago - the curriculum had become too prescriptive and, consequently, difficult to manage. The changes we have introduced, in response to recommendations made by Sir Ron in his interim report, will significantly streamline the statutory requirements for the current school year.

'Some of the key changes made include: retaining rigorous national tests in the core subjects; roughly halving the testing and marking times for 7 and 14 year olds; teachers to have complete discretion to make and record assessments in a way they find manageable without the need for comprehensive tick lists.

'The changes which have been made will consolidate the existing benefits of the National Curriculum as well as substantially improving its manageability for teachers.

'I am pleased to see that the quality of reports to parents is improving gradually. It is clear from discussions which OFSTED inspectors had with parents that more helpful reports on children's progress would be welcomed. This is something which schools will wish to consider.'

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