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The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has put ETS out of its misery with an agreement to “dissolve” their five year contract for national curriculum tests after just one year.

The mercifully quick despatching of the hapless US examination organisaton follows a chaotic summer marking season for the tests which are taken by 11 and 14 year olds in England.

The QCA has paid ETS £39.6m to date. Under the cancellation deal, ETS will pay back £24.1m.

When public sector contracts are cancelled the taxpayer always seems to end up having to pay over more money to make the supplier to go away. A spokesman for the QCA assured us that there will be no other payments to ETS.

Pupils hoping to duck the tests next year will be disappointed. The spokesman said the organisation would kick off an accelerated tender process for the contract, and would have a supplier in place for next year’s tests. The tests themselves are put together by the QCA two years ahead, the spokesman said, and the contract covered the distribution and marking of the tests.

In a statement, Zoubir Yazid, Managing Director, ETS Global BV, said, “We are sorry that the results this summer were delayed for some schools. However, we would argue that the quality of the marking is high, due to the stringent new checks that we introduced this year."®

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