Authors unite against tests

21st February 2003 at 00:00
We are children's authors and illustrators concerned by the growing domination of the school curriculum by national tests.

We believe that there is a danger that Years 2, 6 and 9 are becoming years spent preparing for the tests. We think that children's understanding, empathy, imagination and creativity are developed best by reading whole books, not by doing comprehension exercises on short excerpts and not from ticking boxes or giving one-word answers.

It is our view that reading for pleasure is being squeezed by relentless testing and we are particularly concerned that the tests and the preparation for them are creating an atmosphere of anxiety around the reading of literature. Resources now being channelled into testing could and should be redirected towards libraries, the training of librarians and book provision.

As authors and illustrators, we are unable to exert any direct pressure on the education system so we would like to show our concern with the situation by supporting calls by some teaching unions and by the National Association for the Teaching of English for the phasing out of the tests.

Authors Against the SATs Bernard Ashley, Ros Asquith, Tim Bowler, Melvin Burgess, Georgia Byng, Ted Dewan, Carol Ann Duffy, Jamila Gavin, Alan Gibbons, Geraldine McCaughrean, Beverley Naidoo, Linda Newbery, Philip Pullman, Michael Rosen, and others.

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