Sunday, 28 September 2008

SATs question was an 'own goal'

The TES includes a report about one of the SATs questions in this year's short writing challenge.

How was your last year at school, asked the Sats paper? The tests were the worst thing about it, came back the answer from the 11-year- olds. Key stage 2 pupils used this summer’s reading assessment to complain about the exams, with one moaning: “I hate Sats week.” Another wrote: “Everyone was dreading Sats, including me. We worked ever so hard and I was fed up by the end of the week and could not look at a test ever again.”

The responses came after the writing test asked pupils about their memories of the school year, including their “most fun activity” and “biggest challenge”.

The National Association of Head Teachers, which wants to scrap the tests, collated the answers. It called the question an “own goal” for ministers who defend testing. It asked for the answers after noticing that heads were commenting on them on an internet message board. Some six schools wrote back with details of pupils’ responses.

Another pupil wrote: “The best thing about this year at school will be the end of Sats. No more worrying. Sats are horrible, aren’t they?”

“You might get bullied if you get a bad score or even if you get a good score people will call you nerd, geek and beano,” said another.

While the association admits the seven responses are a tiny fraction of this year’s 600,000 answers, they come at a time when heads are fuming about the admin difficulties surrounding this year’s tests, which prompted hundreds of complaints.

A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokeswoman said: “We aim to help all children do their best. Testing is here to stay, but the system is not set in stone.”

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