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Letters extra: Counter productive targets

I was pleased to read in your article (TES February 28 2003) of the Chief Inspector's warning that national targets for school improvement are counter-productive and that Mr Bell and other key Ofsted officials have been urging education ministers to drop primary targets for next year.
What was disappointing, however, was that the writer of the article sees fit to refer to level 4 or above in key stage 2 maths and English tests as a "good pass". I was under the impression that SATs levels were introduced as a measure of what children achieve, not as a return to the passfail system of the 11-plus exam. What an unfortunate choice of phrase, when primary teachers have gone to great lengths since the introduction of SATs to enlighten parents and to ensure that children who achieve their potential and yet score below level 4 are not perceived as failures!

Those children in my current year six class who have progressed from level 1 to level 3 throughout key stage 2 have made at least the progress they should have, but certainly won't achieve a "good pass" in their SATs this year. Those who should know better should be more careful in their choice of phrases and not fall into the trap of labelling children as failures at the age of 11; we've been there before.

K Smith


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