Estelle Morris, the former education secretary, gave a perceptive address this week to the National Education Trust debate in Oxford. In the discussion which followed, someone observed that pupils taking tests at 16 and 18 face standardised test conditions, have a choice of questions to answer and their coursework assessed to determine achievement. Sats, in comparison, are distinctly unfair.
How do those tests accommodate the variable daily performance of primary school children still on steep learning curves and still with variable memory development? How many schools have lost or gained pupils as a result of league tables?
The argument against testing (and inspection) is far from exhausted and those boycotting Sats in principle deserve wider support.
Mervyn Benford, Information officer, National Association for Small Schools.