Letters extra: test-pressure, an unnecessary burden for children

8th June 2001 at 01:00

I am training as a further and adult education teacher. I also have four children, two of whom have just sat the Key stage 1 and 2 national test.

Reading your article "Test leak leads to suspension" ( The TES, May 25), I am offendednbsp;by the comments made by Tina Wheatley and Mr Maudsley about the pressure and stress the children are under during the test week.

Neither of my children felt pressure or stress while taking these tests. The pressure comes from the schools (with the possibility of some parents) inventing booster classes for thosenbsp;who are not expected to reach the national level.

I have told my children that these tests are about educational league tables and not their ability. Since January I have also spentnbsp;my time telling my eldest daughter not to worry about the tests, but to do the best she can. I wouldnbsp;like her secondary school to notice her strengths and weaknesses so they know her natural ability, instead of inflicting the pressure of constant study to make the grade. After all, childrennbsp;will also have enough pressure when they have to sit GCSEs, so why make them feel bad now.

These tests also have no relevancenbsp;in their working lives - theynbsp;only make surenbsp;teachers are covering the national curriculum properly. Does the children's performancenbsp;in these tests have any influence on performance-related pay? If it does then I can understand the teachers putting pressure on the children to do well. If this is the case then surely they should think about what they are doing to these children.

Julie Burden

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