Pupils sit maths tests but results will be withheld: Teachers adapt Government papers for end of term exams for 14-year-olds

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The Independent Online
TEACHER unions confirmed yesterday that more schools were using yesterday's mathematics tests for 14-year-olds than the English tests earlier this week - but few of them will report the results.

A spokeswoman for the National Union of Teachers said that, because the result of their boycott ballot had been announced only on 13 May, many teachers would not have had the time to devise their own end of year exams, and would, therefore, adapt the Government ones.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: 'Where it's consistent with a reasonable workload, teachers will have used the tests. The boycott has never been about a ban on testing, but about work overload.'

Science and technology teachers are similarly expected to use some or all of the tests on Monday and Tuesday next week.

In the case of maths and science, teachers all used national pilot tests last summer: some were unhappy with aspects of those tests, but others have made it clear that they will use the tests and mark them themselves without passing on any information to the Government or its testing authority.

Ministers wants results reported so that they can assess the effectiveness of the tests. Teachers' refusal to report will therefore still succeed in frustrating the Government's purpose.

Most English teachers, by contrast, are so opposed to the tests that they refused to carry them out at all earlier this week.

Gillian Wood, assistant secretary from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, confirmed that her members would use the maths and science papers, but said some science teachers in particular would use their own marking schemes because they thought last year's marking scheme was inaccurate.

Those pupils who did sit yesterday's maths tests - two sample questions are shown below - were given one of four different sets of papers, according to their ability. Each pupil sat three one-hour papers.

Most questions set a practical problem to be solved, covering a wide range of topics including decimals, large numbers, probabilities, patterns, algebra, and use of the calculator. The most able children were asked to tackle complex matrices, trigonometry and graph work.

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