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The Independent Online
From Mrs Jennifer Chew

Madam: "Baseline" testing ("Testing times for five-year-olds", Education, 11 May) can be a good thing, but it needs to be reliable. At present, it seems that mistakes are possible.

I know of one child who was assessed, on Surrey's hour-long Year R screening, as "below average" or "well below average" on almost all counts. A 45- minute professional assessment by an educational psychologist showed that this child was of well above average intelligence. The case may be a one-off - but, on the other hand, it may not be.

Any testing at any age should be objective and fair. It should neither underestimate nor overestimate the beginner's potential, the older child's achievement, or the value added by the school. Something better than subjective assessment is needed.

Yours faithfully,