|« Future of Education conference - hope and dreams||What sort of professional am I? »|
SATs (tests) - one of the wonders of the English educational system. They start in year 2 (age 6/7), and go on year after year, in various guises until the children leave school.
I've never quite worked out why we put so much effort into preparing children for them. Parents buy practice books. Teachers give up their holidays (paid thankfully) to do booster classes. Often children miss out on other (untested - but theoretically just as important) parts of the curriculum in order to get better SATs results.
What a waste of time. If they were really designed to properly measure pupil's performance we should not be allowed to prepare for them apart from the normal education the school offers. Children should not even know they are being tested.
Preparing children for the SATs is just playing the system. It has no benefit to the children at all. It simply raises the number of children achieving level 2 or 5 (the optimum levels at year 2 and year 6) - and therefore increases the school's position in the league tables. In fact, I think that it actually causes harm because it gives the next teacher or the next school a higher starting point than is truly the case. Which either means the children are given inappropriate work, or the receiving teacher/school is under increased and unreal pressure to add value to the next set of results.
It's a target-led cycle that is not helping anyone. Personally, I would like to see it stop.
Please note - this is my opinion only and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any organisation to which I am currently attached.
However, as always, I am prepared to learn - and therefore to change my opinion. So don't just all agree with me. Argue. Make me work for my opinion! :-)
My daughter, who is a very reflective thinker, complains that she never has enough time to answer the questions. In addition, she tends to "overthink" the questions and finds a number of ways to answer the same question, depending on how you interpret the meaning of the words. So I question the validity of these tests in really measuring her knowledge.
I wonder why portfolios of work, that would need to meet certain criteria (which could include some standard testing, but perhaps a series so those who are ill or just not up to par on those day it is given) could be more accurately assessed are not used more widely?
I wonder what would happen if we required a standardized exam for all CEO's or politicians to take in order to keep their position?
The tests are timed (at least for the 11 year olds and upwards). I agree that portfolios might be a good way forward. I'm not sure why they're not more widely used.