English testing `was not easier'
Saturday 10 July 1999
The inquiry set up by David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, also found that national tests for 11-year-olds were among the most rigorous and reliable exams in the world. But some questions in the tests were still unclear.
Reports said that the pass mark was secretly lowered so that national targets would be more easily met in 2002.
But an independent panel of education specialists said that measures to uphold test standards were "in advance of many, if not all of our international counterparts" and more thorough than those used in GCSE and A-level exams.
The report said it could find no evidence that anyone, "let alone Ministers or officials at the Department for Education, sought to influence the tests or the arrangements governing them, in order to meet national targets".
The panel, chaired by Jim Rose, director of inspections at the Office for Standards in Education, also said it was surprised to find "unclear illustrations and some ambiguous wording".
A caption under a picture of a spider said that "finally, the spider spirals back into the centre.
The web is then ready for the spider to catch its prey." But the comprehension passage about the spider said that "after finishing its web the spider usually waits out of sight".
Candidates were asked where the spider lay in wait for its prey. Three- quarters gave the right answer - out of sight - but one-quarter said it waited in the centre of the web.
Mr Rose said: "It is little things like that that need acute vigilance but it is still a very reliable test."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Israel-Gaza conflict: Death toll tops 125 after overnight raids as Operation Protective Edge continues
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to streets of London, Paris and New York in wave of protests
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...