Testing, testing

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Lisa Low Lisa Low 1 year, 6 months ago.

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    So this week’s podcast was on the topic of testing, something that is preoccupying – and helping to shape – UK education policy. Is it a good thing? I’m not sure we are chasing the right thing here. Being able to understand ideas and how they could be applied in the real world, how to collaborate, how to think critically, how to realise your potential. That’s just some of the promise of what school years can provide. Where do tests fit in with this? My experience of education was that tests helped schools decide who was able and who wasn’t. after being split into relevant groups you would then be ‘taught’ based on that ability. As I was in a top set and a bottom set i got to see the differences. Being in the less able group was not a positive experience. Is this a constructive approach to helping children realise their potential?

    Avatar of Ailsa


    Current primary tests are not used to judge the children, but to judge the schools and therefore the teacher in that particular year group. That doesn’t help anyone.

    This year we have a new test for our Y6 class. Grammar, spelling and punctuation. We have now been given a sample test. It is about identifying nouns and the like, connectives, clauses….. The current Y6 class have been, throughout the whole of their school career, taught how to apply these things but that knowing the name of them and identifying them in a passage isn’t as important, it has been about using them. Not so anymore. Their written test will now be moderated by the class teacher (more work….) This TA and the Grammar test will then give a writing mark. We don’t yet know the weighting. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the current Y6 may not do too well on this…. Fair? Methinks not. That’s okay though because I have no doubt that the new curriculum that is due will be weighted to the Grammar test so the following Y6 classes will obviously do better. Do you see where this is going? Who will have raised standards? Meanwhile the children are being taught to a different test How can that be useful?  As soon as they hit secondary they will be reassessed…constantly…so why are we spoiling these children’s last years of total childhood at primary school? Why aren’t they out there exploring and having fun?



    I think your last line says it all. Thankyou for taking the time to respond, Ailsa. It feels like we need to challenge these tests and the basis upon which they are introduced . . .

    Avatar of Lisa Low
    Lisa Low

    But where does it stop?  It is top-down…the ‘exit’ points at each stage at education – primary to secondary, secondary to university are all determined by test scores.  Yet, each phase of education are recognising the need to ‘educate’ children in the ’21st century skills’.  It is so clear in this ever-changing world, more than ever, children need to develop and be equipped with the skills to adapt, create, innovate, think flexibly, bounce back, etc. Many educators put great emphasis and value on character and learning habits but ultimately pupils have to go through a narrow channel upon exit.  From what I have understood, some of the top performing countries in the world e.g. Finland, do not test in the same way that UK does?  Until there is huge reform – top down, I can’t see how testing will be replaced.  One colleague said to me the other day, that if 13+ vanished, just like that, it wouldn’t make a jot of difference to secondary schools.  Hmm.


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