Letters extra: Tedious, lengthy and irrelevant Romans

I am writing in response to the growing concern about tests and levels used in our secondary education system to "measure" progress.

I wonder if many people are aware that far from toning down the present system where our children are the most tested in the world, the government in its infinite wisdom is on the verge of introducing compulsory tests for years 7 and 8 as well as nine. The effect of a colon may be something that has eluded most of us thus far: I would hazard a guess this has not been a stumbling point for many successful careers. However, a question requiring an analysis of the very same is part of this test, which bears more resemblance to a scientific study of semantics than an opportunity to display literacy knowledge.

Faced with three lengthy articles on the Romans in small print, many 11 and 12 year-olds (and I have to say many staff!) are inclinded to give up before they start. What will happen to our schemes of work on drama, poetry, and the novel when we are required to teach to a test which not only prescribes tedious and irrelevant articles as a way of assessing students' abilities, but also lays down strict guidelines as to which answers win marks? The words of my PGCE professor ring in my ears: the Gradgrindian system of education marches on unabated.

I would like to know what is being done in other establishments to raise awareness of this impending new governmental blot on the landscape. Can the teaching profession agree to present viable alternatives to our political masters, who seem to be the only ones convinced by the equation that tests equals progress?

Kathryn WIggins, 68a Rosebury Road, Fulham, SW6 2NGnbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

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