Let's call time on testing and tables

24th October 2008 at 01:00

How interesting it is to note that the opinions of thousands of teachers and educationists could not stop key stage 3 tests, but an administrative cock up did. How sad that the professionalism of teachers is ignored and, in the case of KS2 teachers, still subject to suspicion. It seems that money and mayhem, not sound educational motives, prompted the Government's action.

Clinging on to KS2 tests is no more than an attempt to maintain control over primary teachers, subjecting them to performance management by test results. I fail to see how the Government can justify keeping them. Ed Balls states that the tests "indicate how individual children and schools perform", yet paradoxically he thinks that at KS3 this can be better done done by "teacher assessment" and the new "report card" system. If the tests are so good at KS2, surely they should be kept at KS3? If the new regime is going to be so good at KS3, surely it should be brought in for KS2?

I dread to think how much time and money has been wasted preparing for tests that will not now happen when all that effort could have gone into more effective teaching for learning rather than teaching for testing.

James D Williams, Lecturer in science education, Sussex University, Brighton.

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