Macbeth horror

20th May 2005 at 01:00
What sadistic impulse conjured up last week's English KS3 Sats test? The single Shakespeare question reads "In these extracts how does Macbeth's language show that he feels afraid but is determined to keep his power?"

How does this enable students to demonstrate their understanding of this play? Such language commentaries are only usually required at GCSE. What chance did our level 4s, 5s and 6s have? They squirmed in bewilderment when they saw the paper. All our careful work on theme, character and stagecraft was rendered useless.

And what philistine minds conjured up the writing tasks - a letter and a company progress report on a half-built robot? How great are those for demonstrating your language repertoire?

So last year the marking failed us, this year the authors of the test did.

I don't need to mention the outrage and frustration teachers will feel about this damaging testing regime.

Barrie Day

Head of English

Newman school

Lismore Place, Carlisle

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