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KS3 assessments: unreliable and dishonest

I HAVE nearly 20 years' secondary school teaching experience and I do not accept the assertion (News, August 6) that KS3 assessments are a crucial measuring-stick of how schools are performing, because the assessment method used is unreliable.

Some years ago, we had assessment by exam for all Year 10 students in English, Maths and Science.

All sorts of dishonest arguments about the exams being stressful for the students were used to discredit these exams.

But I used to tell my class that the exams were designed to test us – the teachers.

What we have now is much worse. We have a system where I teach the pupils and then make up and mark my own assessments and then submit data which will be used to assess my teaching. And no one suspects that this will be open to abuse?

In my first year of teaching, I was put in charge of a course that was 100% teacher-assessed.

A senior teacher asked me why some of the pupils had failed. My response that they had not reached the required standard was not acceptable.

I was told that the course allowed me to make up my own assessment material that every student was expected to pass. Spot the similarity to KS3?

Does anyone doubt that senior staff will pressurise teachers to submit acceptable data, even if, as professionals, we would rather be submitting honest results?

BELFAST TEACHER

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