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Ceremony Honours Work and Innovation of Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QC

In a recent awards ceremony, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) was honoured with the prestigious e-Government Excellence Award – Public Sector 2005.

This award follows on from earlier success in the form of the Computing Award for Innovative Project of the Year, which QCA was awarded for the test in November 2005. The award is a mark of excellence in practice and delivery of a pilot soon to be a national programme, and the annual awards event has chosen to recognise this outstanding achievement and excellence in technological innovation in the public sector.

Key Stage 3 in ICT

The pilot scheme that gained such success was the key stage 3 ICT project rolled out by the QCA. There were a number of considerations that led to this being selected as the prize winning programme. One of these was that it has modernised test design to reflect best teaching practice, thus affording teachers and learners the opportunity to get the best out of the pilot.

Also, the test is based in a virtual world in which pupils access websites, spreadsheets, web-browsers and other applications, using their ICT skills to solve everyday problems e.g. researching job vacancies and setting up a database for the editor of a local newspaper (and a database is always useful!). Furthermore, the test both upgrades the skills in ICT of tomorrow’s workforce whilst meeting all Department for Education and Skills (DfES) requirements of budget and quality.

The pilot has been extremely effective. More than 80% of secondary schools in the UK have signed up for the 2006 pilot of the test following its successful delivery to 45,000 pupils in 2005. For those schools who have been accredited to deliver the test, they will have already received practice and familiarisation materials to aide the transition to the new framework.

QCA Test Gains Prestige

The QCA’s Head of E ““ Strategy, Martin Ripley, expressed his delight at the accolade of the awards, saying: “I am proud of my team’s achievements in winning these two prestigious awards. The e-Government award recognises the future of e-assessment and QCA’s commitment to ensuring that the English education system continues to be innovative and delivers excellence for every learner.”

Dr Ken Boston, chief executive of QCA, also welcomed the success, stating: “The key stage 3 ICT test is gaining an international reputation as one of the most innovative onscreen assessments available in the world. I am delighted that the test has won another prestigious award. It is real recognition of our work and the commitment of the team at QCA, our external partners, and the many schools who took part in the pilot. The 2005 pilot was well received by teachers and pupils and this award is a sign that e-assessment has a key role to play in the future of education.”

Jethro Marsh

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