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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 00:50 GMT
Tests 'obsession' under attack
Tests
Head teachers fear a testing overload for pupils
The government has been accused of an unhealthy "obsession" with testing pupils, as details of more tests are announced.

Introducing more tests will mean increased stress on pupils and more pressure on the school timetable, said the general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, John Dunford.

The head teachers' leader was responding to the announcement of the latest phase of "world class tests", which will be taken by gifted nine and 13-year-olds.

John Dunford
John Dunford says world class tests are an "irrelevant hurdle"

These voluntary tests, expected to be introduced next year, will measure ability in maths and problem -solving and will be aimed at the brightest 10% of pupils.

But Mr Dunford has criticised their introduction as an "irrelevant hurdle" which will "add unnecessarily to the stress levels of academically able children".

The world class tests were "a further example of the government's obsession with testing at the expense of true education", he said.

But the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has rejected the attack, saying the tests would be voluntary and it would be up to schools to decide whether or not they want to use them.

Schools would be able to use the tests to identify and stimulate gifted pupils, and parents would be able to use the tests with their children at home.

The tests have been designed to stretch the most able pupils, and in the future could be used as a benchmark for making international comparisons in standards of maths.

The tests are set to be piloted in a sample of schools in the United States next year.

On Monday, the QCA launched a website illustrating the type of questions which will be asked in the tests.

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See also:

04 Aug 00 | Education
Exam overload 'stressing pupils'
19 Jul 00 | Education
New targets for schools
23 Oct 00 | Education
School limits homework load
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