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Key stage 2 tests should wait a term

IN response to reports of teachers cheating during key stage 2 national tests (TES, June 21), I am aware of various ways in which tests could be influenced, and write in support of changes to test procedures.

If at some schools, staff do cheat in order to raise results, then the majority of conscientious teachers are placed under even greater pressure to match these results. Clearly, if this situation endures, the more likely it is that the tests and the league tables, will be unrepresentative of the abilities of the children.

As a Year 6 teacher, I am also increasingly concerned with the conflict of interests between achieving high results, and over-zealous coaching of children to achieve these ambitions.

How many children arriving in Year 7 meet the expectations shown by their results, and how many secondaries actually use the KS2 results from the current system? I expect that three months after taking the tests, many children will commence secondary school with little recall of some of the "crammed" facts.

An appropriate way to resolve the problem is for tests to be taken at secondary school when children commence Year 7. First, this will alleviate pressure on primary teachers (while whole-school performance for each primary school could be correlated from the results which would not rely on "last-minute" coaching). And second, enable secondary schools to assess the actual knowledge and skills of the new intake as they commence KS3.

The testing would simply replace the in-house assessments already taking place in secondary schools.

A bonus for primary teachers could well be that a post-test syndrome of "We've finished primary school now!" in May, among some of the Year 6 children, would be avoided.

Chris Hames

10 Perkins Beach Dingle Stiperstones, Shropshire

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