Tuesday, 13 May 2008

MPs say that SATs should be scrapped

Perhaps I am a cynic, but I can't help wonder about the timing of the reports about SATs this week. Maybe there are a few high ranking MPs have children who have taken the tests this year. Or maybe Labour MPs know this could win voters as this is music to many people's ears.

Anyhow, the Daily Mail writes about a report from MPs says that mass exam testing of pupils at seven, 11 and 14 should be scrapped. It argues that children are being robbed of a proper education by a SATs system that forces teachers to chase targets instead of inspiring pupils to enjoy learning.

The Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee said mass testing led teachers to drill pupils to pass exams instead of ensuring real gains in knowledge. It suggested ministers could ensure national standards were being maintained by requiring only a small sample of pupils to take tests each year.

And the MPs called on teachers to be given greater responsibility for tests and marking but said the results should not be collated in league tables to prevent the pursuit of results "at all costs".

More than a million pupils will take national tests in the three Rs and science this month. But the report said: "Teaching to the test means that pupils may not retain, or may not even possess in the first place, the skills which are supposedly evidenced by their test results."

The exams, however, are "here to stay", the Government insisted. "Parents don't want to go back to a world where the achievements of schools are hidden from them," said schools minister Jim Knight.

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