ETS Europe pays price for Sats disaster

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has terminated its contract with the organisation responsible for this year’s delayed Sats results.

Schoolchildren up and down the country were left waiting for their results this summer as national curriculum tests were delivered late.

On July 28th the QCA replaced ETS Europe with the National Assessment Agency as the body responsible for handling the compulsory assessment system. An inquiry into the delay was announced by schools secretary Ed Balls, who said the problems were “clearly unacceptable”.

Now ETS Europe must pay QCA £19.5 million in addition to charges of around £4.6 million as the contract terminates by mutual consent.

QCA chief executive Ken Boston said: “It is disappointing that the issues with this year’s national curriculum test results have meant that the partnership between QCA and ETS Europe must end early.”

The contract, worth £156 million, was due to have continued until 2012 after commencing on February 1st 2007. Now, however, QCA will not be making any further payments to ETS.

ETS Global BV’s managing director Zoubir Yazid said his company had repeatedly apologised for its failings.

“As a subsidiary of a global, non-profit company, we are dedicated to assuring quality and equity for all pupils, and we are sorry that the results this summer were delayed for some schools,” he said.

“However, we would argue that the quality of the marking is high, due to the stringent new checks that we introduced this year.”

Demands for reform of the national curriculum assessment system have intensified since news of the delays emerged. At present all those finishing key stages two and three, aged nine and 14, are tested.