National tests for 11-year olds in England should be scrapped, says the government's advisory committee on mathematics education.
Sats are helping create an "impoverished" curriculum, with teachers spending months preparing pupils to answer test questions rather than building deeper understanding, says the committee. It suggests that the results generated in this way may overstate children's true abilities.
The committee, which was set up seven years ago to represent maths teachers and educationists in talks with ministers, wants the tests phased out in favour of allowing teachers to reach their own judgments on the quality of pupils' work over several years.
Its comments come in a paper submitted to a government review of testing, which is being carried out in the wake of last autumn's decision by Ed Balls, the schools secretary, to scrap Sats tests for 14-year-olds.
The biggest inquiry into primary education for 40 years concluded last month that the tests – the basis of school league tables and targets – were helping to marginalise the teaching of non-tested subjects such as history, geography and the arts.
The committee's paper said: "There is a view that in many Year 6 classrooms between January and May, pupils experience a less than broad and balanced curriculum because of preparation for testing towards the end of their final year in primary school. These high-stakes tests serve more to provide national benchmarks than to aid pupils' learning.
"It is our belief that the preparation for testing at key stage 2 is disproportionate to the educational outcomes for the individuals taking the tests. If a broad and balanced curriculum is to be encouraged, then schools need advice that supports them to make judgements about their pupils without the pressure of single snapshots of attainment. . . .
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Monday, March 09, 2009
Will American Testaholics Notice That Some Parts of the World Are Getting Sober?
The Brits have already dumped testing for 14-year olds. Now they move to do the same for 11 year olds. From The Guardian: