By Ian Toone, Director of Policy and Research Services, Voice: the union for education professionals, for SecEd, 1 December 2016
Has your school been selected to take part in the National Reference Tests (NRTs) in spring 2017?
We are led to believe that many schools were keen to take part in the trials for this test last March, so why was it felt necessary to introduce legislation to make it mandatory for most selected schools to participate in the actual launch? After all, aren’t these tests supposed to assist in the setting of GCSE grades and finally put a stop to any possibility of ‘grade inflation’?
NRTs raise a number of interesting issues in regard to assessment. The initial question which should be asked is why are we introducing yet another test when pupils in England are already among the most assessed children in the world? Every new assessment puts additional pressure on children (and their teachers), takes away valuable teaching time and risks narrowing the curriculum…..