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Written Statement - Securing reliability and consistency of teacher assessment in Wales: key stages 2 and 3 external verification Programme in 2015-2016.

Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

Last Spring, following public consultation, I announced the introduction of a new national programme of external verification for Key Stages 2 and 3 as part of our plans to strengthen the accuracy and consistency of teacher assessments.

The programme is delivered on behalf of the Welsh Government by the National Partnership, a group made of the 4 regional education consortia working together as a collective body. Last year the external verification programme focused on teacher assessment in mathematics and science. I would like to thank schools across Wales for positively engaging with the programme and I’m pleased that the information gathered has already led to a number of actions and will be used to inform practice.

The consortia have worked collaboratively to produce guidance for schools on the fundamentals of teacher assessment, including the evidence required to support best fit judgements. They have provided more detailed and consistent guidance on the organisation and delivery of effective cluster moderation. These materials have now been distributed to schools and will be used to strengthen regional arrangements across Wales.

Exemplification materials are also being produced to support consistent practice.

This year’s external verification programme will take place early in the summer term 2016. I have already put in place legislation to strengthen cluster moderation arrangements making participation a statutory requirement for all schools and it is appropriate that year 2 of the programme will focus on cluster arrangements within each consortium. Cluster and individual school visits will look at teacher assessment judgements in the subjects of English, Welsh, and Welsh second language.

In Wales, teacher assessment is and will remain the main vehicle for assessment before qualifications, an approach which is consistent with Successful Futures. Accurate teacher assessment is essential to support and inform learner progression and I shall be writing to all schools to reiterate the importance of teacher assessment and encouraging them to support the Partnership’s approach this year focusing on both schools and clusters.

Key Stages 2 and 3 external verification programme (external link)