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Written Statement - Securing reliability and consistency of teacher assessment in Wales: outcomes of the key stages 2 and 3 external verification programme in 2015-2016 and plans for the future

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education

The National Programme of External Verification was introduced following public consultation in Spring 2015. The Programme was designed to strengthen the accuracy and consistency of teacher assessments at the end of Key Stages 2 and 3.

The four regional education consortia and the IT provider, CDSM Interactive Solutions, formed the National Partnership, which delivered the programme on behalf of the Welsh Government over the period of two academic years.  In 2014-2015 mathematics and science were verified, while last year’s programme focused on the verification of English and Welsh.

Over the two year period, the Programme assessed how accurately teacher assessment and moderation processes were working and helped to identify training for schools and clusters. The Partnership provided feedback to schools, local authorities and consortia and relevant guidance was distributed to all schools in their regions.

I am very grateful to all schools and clusters across Wales that participated and cooperated with the Programme. Their positive engagement greatly helped the programme to achieve its main purpose of contributing to the improvement of the accuracy and consistency of teacher assessment through high quality feedback.
Now it is time to move forward. To achieve our aims for assessment reform and our national mission to improve education for all our young people in Wales, the work to improve teacher assessment must become everyone’s business. It needs to be undertaken collectively, by the Welsh Government, regional consortia and schools. The lessons learnt from the External Verification Programme will be fed into the plans for the introduction of the new Welsh Curriculum as set out in Successful Futures.
Therefore, in line with the Partnership’s recommendations, I have decided to end the Programme of External Verification and put in place a programme that will maintain the original aim of improving teacher assessment and focus on the needs of teachers and schools. The programme will be sustainable, becoming part of the wider work to deliver the Successful Futures reform agenda through the Pioneer Schools Network and embedded in the regional consortia’s Business Plans.  

The Welsh Government’s priority remains to ensure that teacher assessment is accurate, reliable and consistent throughout Wales. The new, wider programme will offer Wales an opportunity to get this right.