School tests for seven-year-olds scaled down

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The Independent Online

Ministers today announced changes to the way seven-year-olds are assessed, with more emphasis on teachers' views and a lower profile for tests.

Ministers today announced changes to the way seven-year-olds are assessed, with more emphasis on teachers' views and a lower profile for tests.

Critics of the national curriculum tests in English and maths have complained that they put too much pressure on youngsters too early in life.

Schools minister Stephen Twigg said today's changes will mean test results will now form just a part of teachers' overall assessments and will no longer be issued to parents separately.

Under the old system, children all took the tests at the same time.

But the new arrangement, coming into force in England this academic year, will allow schools more flexibility over when and how the tests are carried out.

Mr Twigg said: "For seven-year-olds, a teacher's overall, rounded assessment of a child's progress through the year, underpinned by national tests, will provide a more accurate guide to their progress than their performance in one set of tasks and tests."

But he stressed there were no plans to extend the reforms to the regime of tests for 11 and 14-year-olds.

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