'The government must learn a long overdue lesson: it has got to take defining national measures of performance out of the political arena. There is a strong argument for the establishment of an independent unit which would sample achievement in the basics without being tied to crude national targets.
* See LGCnet.
'TESTING ENGINE HAS RUN OUT OF STEAM'
Following today's publication of the 2004 SATs results, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has reaffirmed its commitment to press the government to end its continuing testing obsession.
ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: 'Congratulations to both pupils and their teachers on their efforts - but congratulations come with a health warning. Test results can't be relied upon alone - they're subject to variation and only represent part of a learner's achievement.
'English, maths and science are important as basic skills, but the 21st century needs rounded, versatile individuals. Defining young people by test results alone insults their individuality.
'ATL is committed to easing the testing burden. We know this is achievable. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have already shown there are viable alternatives. The government must face facts: testing by itself is no longer driving up standards. The testing engine has run out of steam.
'If the government wants to meet its targets, we urgently need to explore a more intelligent approach to assessment and the curriculum. A one-size-fits-all approach is not working. We can hardly expect today's young people to be inspired by a list of 19th century school subjects.'