Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Call to End Test Many Boys Fail

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Call to End Test Many Boys Fail

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Kershaw

TEACHERS' leaders last night said too much importance was placed on national school tests as a drop in reading standards was revealed.

Almost one 14-year-old in three fails to reach the expected competence.

Boys are faring worse than girls, almost four in 10 falling behind in literacy.

More than a quarter (27%) of pupils fell short of Level 5 - the standard they are expected to reach in English.

General secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Dr John Dunford, questioned whether the tests were value for money.

"Far too much is made each year of a percentage point or two up or down in the Key Stage 3 results in English, mathematics and science.

"What is important is that the trend is upwards, reflecting the rising standards in schools across the country.

"Too much importance is placed on Key Stage 3 tests, which are no more than a progress check two-thirds of the way through secondary education."

General secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Dr Mary Bousted, said: "The Key Stage 3 tests are an irrelevance.

No one will be interested in the results when young people apply for a job."

But general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, Chris Keates, said: "It is evident from these results that year on year, pupils and teachers continue to deliver improvements and standards remain high. All those involved should be congratulated.

"No one should, however, underestimate the enormous challenge for teachers and schools of sustaining year on year steady progress."

Schools minister Jim Knight said he was disappointed by some figures, which also showed a fall in science marks.

He said parents had a vital role in encouraging children to read rather than watch TV or play computer games and it was essential to teenagers' progress that they read for pleasure at home. …

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