A hassle, but a necessary evil

25th May 2001 at 01:00
I SYMPATHISE with all fellow teaching students who feel that the new skills tests are forcing them out of a rewarding career. However, I did note that the student that featured in your main article ("Test pressure forces able trainees to quit," TES, May 4) is still relatively young, early twenties. I also noted that these students achieved very good grades at GCSE and A-level.

I am a mature teaching student. Having spent a number of years in the hectic world of industry, imagine my horror when I found out that I too had to prove I could spell, add up and manipulate data. I didn't even getmy English O-level until the second attempt.

Even so, when I came to take the literacy test I didn't run out of time and passed knowing I had made at least two mistakes. Four hours later I faced the numeracy test. I decided not to bother checking any of the answers and just hit the end key. Again I passed. These tests are a hassle but in some ways I can understand why someone has decided that to be a teacher you must be literate and numerate. A teacher, after all, is setting an example.

S Loxley

University of Manchester School of Education, Oxford Road


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