Cheat's survival guide to test trauma;Letter

23rd May 1997 at 01:00
Following the news articles on the league table debate (TES, May 9), I am pleased to submit my 10-point plan for improving results: 1 When the tests arrive, approximately one month before the actual date, open them straight away.

2 If you are unwilling to do this, it is possible to read most of the test without opening the packages, since they are packed in clear plastic.

3 Become a team leader with one of the external marking agencies. You will then receive the tests quite legitimately up to a month before the actual date. Obviously you might be unwilling to tell the children what is in the tests, but it is easy to make sure you do not revise what is not in the tests.

4 If you cannot become a team leader, become an external marker. You receive the tests up to two weeks before the actual date and can, again, legitimately open them.

5 Make sure the children take the tests in their classroom. It will put them at their ease and it does enable teachers to make sure there are relevant word lists, science displays or maths tables on the wall.

6 Be very careful how you seat the children. You will not have the space for children to sit alone, so make sure children do not sit with friends. It is much better to sit pupils likely to achieve level 4 with those close to achieving level 4.

7 Make sure that the clock in the classroom is faulty or start the test at an awkward time (such as 10.50am) which makes it difficult to calculate the exact finishing time.

8 When the children have two tests in one day, split the day into four sessions. In that way you can have a practice first session, do the first test second session and so on.

9 If, while invigilating, you see that a child has made a silly mistake, point it out quietly or, better still, tell the whole class about it to make sure they do not make the same error.

10 After the children have completed the test, go through the papers looking for errors and have the children do one or two corrections before the papers are sent off to the markers.

I would argue that many teachers believe that other schools bend the rules themselves. The results of the test become unreliable. They are not, however, worthless, as a high placing in league tables can lead to extra children in the school.

Until primary schools adopt the climate of exam-taking that exists in secondary schools then I feel that bending of rules will continue.

TREVOR STEVENSON Weston Coyney Stoke-on-Trent

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