Children, Schools and Families Committee

22 July 2008


The Children, Schools and Families Committee is 'disappointed' in the Government's response to their Testing and Assessment report, which was published today.

Speaking today the Chairman of the Committee, Barry Sheerman MP, said:

"The Government has failed to take on board our key recommendations. It is unwilling to concede that teaching to the test is a widespread problem despite all the significant evidence that the committee heard.

"The Government misses the point when it says that there is no reason for testing to result in narrowing of the curriculum. Our report said that teaching to the test and the narrowing of the curriculum are not inevitable consequences of high-stakes testing, but many schools and teachers resort to these techniques in an effort to maintain or improve their league table positions. The response we have received from Ofsted supports our view."

The Committee is also worried that the Government's response uses the evidence of Dr Ken Boston, QCA Chief Executive, in a misleading context.

Barry Sheerman continued:

"It is true that Dr Boston said that tests are fit for purpose. What the Government fails to mention is that Dr Boston goes on to say that problems arise when a test designed for one purpose is then used for many other purposes.

"The Government has not listened to the many voices urging it to implement change. It is a pity that the Government has not taken this opportunity to make a commitment to reform the national testing system in order to ensure that children and teachers get the most out of their education experience."