Tougher tests for trainee teachers to be introduced


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The Independent Online

Tests taken by trainee teachers are to be toughened up amid concerns that too many take several attempts to pass.

Ministers today announced that an expert panel will review the literacy and numeracy tests, which are taken by would-be teachers after they have started their training course.

Concerns have previously been raised by ministers that trainees are allowed unlimited re-sits of the papers, with around one in five failing either of the tests the first time around.

Around one in ten has to take the numeracy test three times or more, the Department for Education said.

Plans to boost the quality of England's trainee teachers were first announced by ministers last year.

The DfE also announced today that the pass mark for each of the papers, which will be taken before a training course starts, will be raised from this September.

Those who fail one, or both, of the tests, will be given only two more chances to pass.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "International studies show that rigorous selection of trainee teachers is key to raising the quality and standing of the teaching profession. It helps ensure trainees are committed to becoming teachers.

"Strengthened trainee tests and an end to constant re-sits will mean parents can be confident that all teachers have the basic skills needed."

The review will be led by Sally Coates, principal of Burlington Danes Academy in west London, and will report back to ministers by June, to allow the new tests to be introduced next year.

Official figures show that rising numbers of trainee teachers are passing the literacy test at the first attempt.

In 2010/11 30,474 trainees passed on the first go, compared to 28,864 in 2003/04.

And just 397 took three or more attempts to pass the literacy test in 2010/11, compared to 2,508 in 2005/06 - the first year that figures are available.

For the numeracy test, 29,378 passed on the first attempt in 2010/11, compared to 27,341 in 2003/04.

Some 3,492 people took three or more attempts to pass the numeracy test in 2010/11, compared to 3,160 in 2005/06.