Magazine article Public Finance

Contractor Blamed for Sats Fiasco

Magazine article Public Finance

Contractor Blamed for Sats Fiasco

Article excerpt

The inquiry into last summer's Standard Assessment Tests fiasco has blamed the company contracted to run the marking and the exams watchdog.

'The main blame is with the company who signed the contract and didn't deliver^ former chief schools inspector Lord Sutherland told Public Finance. 'Secondly, I don't think that the Qualifications and Curriculum Agency was sufficiently attentive to the problems as they came up.'

Sutherland was appointed to head an inquiry into the breakdown of the system, in which the marking of the tests of 1.2 million pupils in England by Education Testing Services was delayed. This led to the postponement of this year's league tables.

QCA chief executive Ken Boston proffered his resignation at the weekend on reading the report, but has since been suspended, along with David Gee, the head of the National Assessment Agency, the division of the QCA responsible for exams.

Despite growing evidence of problems in the run-up to the tests, ministers could not be blamed for failing to intervene since they had been misled, Sutherland said.

But he added that government officials who sat in on meetings with the QCA and ETS could have done more had their remit been clearer.

'The ambiguity of the role of the observers didn't help,' he said. …

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