The culture of testing is stifling investigative science in school, the Institute of Biology has said. An article in the latest edition of the institute's Biologist magazine said schools have "sleepwalked" into a statistics-reliant culture that encourages teaching to the test.
Neil Roscoe, its head of education, focused his comments mainly on the English curriculum: "Rather than improving attainment, which was what the national tests laudably set out to do, it is likely that they now have a detrimental effect and turn students off. Under the system, no credit is given for practical skills. If something isn't assessed, then the teacher won't teach it, particularly in a content heavy curriulum where there is pressure from the headteacher for results. It also tends to narrow the curriculum and reduce flexibility, and this rubs off on the students."