Desperate bid to boost the Sats

10th March 2006 at 00:00
I was appalled at the assertions made by Colin Doctor ("Why we must learn to love Sats", (TES Cymru, February 24).

He asks: "When do children learn best?" then answers his question by making reference to "results soaring". He confuses (as do so many) attainment with achievement.

Still, as a teacher "desperate not to teach to the test", let us examine his own achievement in that regard. "Very early in the school year we gave the children a past Sat under near exam conditions" translates to "we piled on the pressure at an early stage".

"We worked with them to analyse the papers" translates to "we began to teach them exam techniques".

"Become familiar with the marking scheme" translates to "we taught them advanced exam techniques". "Used SATs to ensure children are aware of what's expected of them" translates to "taught to the test".

Finally, "suddenly a new sense of trust developed" translates to "the children are now totally dependent on me for a good result and they know it". Oh dear! It seems Colin has not gained a level 4 in his "not teaching to the test" Sat.

Here in Wales the Sats have gone and, in their place, is a new wide-ranging curriculum that encompasses creative skills and problem-solving, as well as team-working for all pupils, especially those in Year 6.

Gone are the unreal expectations and the pressure to get three level 4s.

Instead, we have high-achieving, confident pupils who attain as well now as they did when we had Sats.

Chris Britten Penybont primary school Minerva Street Bridgend

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