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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Plan to scrap school tests
Pupils sitting exams
CCEA launched proposals on education for 11 to 14 year olds
Proposals on education for 11 to 14 year olds in Northern Ireland are aimed at creating "a more relevant, motivating and enjoyable curriculum," an examining body has said.

The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) began a consultation on its plans on Wednesday.

CCEA's chief executive, Gavin Boyd, called for teachers and the wider community to support the proposals, which include scrapping the national curriculum tests.

"Over the last few years we've listened closely to what we've been told by parents, teachers, employers and pupils, and in response we've put the most important issues at the centre of the proposals set out today," he said.

Mr Boyd said there was "little educational value" in the current Key Stage 3 tests for 14 year olds.

The tests, which have been in place for more than a decade, are not popular with pupils and teachers, as preparing for the examinations means focusing on a narrow range of subjects.

CCEA proposes replacing them with "a well-supported system of teacher assessment".

Over the last few years we've listened closely to what we've been told by parents, teachers, employers and pupils
Gavin Boyd
CCEA chief executive

Under the new proposals, schools would publish an annual report focusing on specific requirements for each pupil, after they had been assessed by their teachers.

This continual term-time assessment would be used to support learning across different areas and subjects.

A broader curriculum would allow teachers to concentrate on developing pupils' communication and numeracy skills.

Schools would be allowed to customise these reports as long as their statutory requirements had been met.

The proposed changes would be phased in over a number of years from September 2005 onwards, following a number of planned pilot schemes.

The CCEA was set up by the government to advise and support teaching and assessment in Northern Ireland.

BBC NI's Rosy Billingham reports
"Continual assessment will highlight individual pupils' needs in different subjects"

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