Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Tuesday, 13 July 2004 16:32 UK

School tests to be scrapped

Girl doing key stage test
A report recommended tests be replaced by teacher assessments

Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson has pledged to abolish compulsory school testing for 11 and 14-year-olds.

She told assembly members the controversial tests would be replaced by teacher assessments and a new skills test to be taken by 10-year-olds.

The changes are in line with recommendations made in May.

Tests will be phased out and the new system will be in place by the 2007-08 academic year.


Ms Davidson said there was "clear evidence" that change was needed in order to get he best from pupils, the curriculum, and teachers.

"I propose, therefore, to move away, during the next four years, from the current testing regime to a system which is more geared to the pupil, focuses more on skills and puts teacher assessment at its heart."

In May, a committee led by Professor Richard Daugherty recommended ending the tests for 11 and 14-year-olds.

His report, which was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government, recommended replacing the Key Stage 2 tests with skills tests in numeracy, literacy and problem-solving when children were 10, and teacher assessment when they reached 11.

It said testing at 14 should be replaced with further teacher assessment before children choose their options for GCSEs.

Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson
Jane Davidson abolished tests for seven-year-olds three years ago
But the Westminster government has remained firmly in favour of the tests, commonly known as Sats.

Wales will now have a significantly different testing regime from that in England.

In 2001 both school league tables and tests for seven-year-olds were scrapped in Wales.

Ms Davidson said she had taken into account the evidence of the Daugherty review and also a report from the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales.

The new test taken by 10-year-olds will aid teachers in providing information for secondary schools, she added.

The tests will be externally marked and will focus on literacy, numeracy and problem solving.

NUT Cymru welcomed the report saying National Curriculum tests "did not help teaching and learning" and that "they have become the ends instead of the means".

But another union, the NASUWT, said they feared scrapping the tests at 11 and 14 would lead to higher workloads for teachers.

video and audio news
The BBC's Wyre Davies
"Welsh education ministers say the present system of testing narrows the scope of the curriculum"

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