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Letters extra Squirming with acronyms

In your engaging piece in today's TES you quoted a friend saying about teachers "They all end up in a huddle talking about SATs - whatever they may be."

In fact it isn't just the non-teachers who are in the dark.nbsp; Of course the teachers know that they are referring to the national end of key stage tests but do they know why they are calling them by a name that does not appear on the test papers, nor in the mark schemes, nor in any QCA documentation?nbsp; Are they for those who Strive and Triumph?nbsp; Or for those who Squirm and Tremble?

The story goes like this.nbsp; In the gestation period of the National Curriculum teachers were promised they would be able to use Standardised Assessment Tasks.nbsp; These would be chosen by the teachers from supplied banks and they would be conducted more or less as normal classroom activities.nbsp; (The children were not meant to realise that they were doing anything out of the ordinary.)nbsp; However, this idea was dropped in 1992 as the proposed "SATs" were to be replaced by national tests - quite a different thing.nbsp; So, they were abolished before they had even happened.nbsp; Some teachers must be dozed off during the pre-National Curriculum training because they thought (wrongly) that National Curriculum SATs were tests that were set and sat.

It transpired that the authority could not legally use the pre-1992 term at all because it was discovered that the agency in the USA responsible for "Scholastic Aptitude Tests" held (and still holds) copyright on the acronym.nbsp; When he had his educational role, Mr Blunkett was (reportedly) interested in introducing the American tests to this country (for key stage 5 students).nbsp; That would have confused a few people!

Peter Tallon

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