National reading test is monstrous

3rd December 2010 at 00:00

Plans for a new national reading test for six-year-olds ("Is the zort-and-koob reading test for six-year-olds simply too monstrous?", November 26), should give educationalists everywhere cause for great concern.

Not because it includes "nonsense words", but because the test itself will divert teachers from their main task - helping pupils to learn. By making this test mandatory, it would inevitably become a high-stakes assessment, which would in turn warp the curriculum and tempt staff to teach to the test.

Any teacher will tell you that the range of reading abilities in a class of six-year-olds is immense. Instead of making this assessment compulsory, teachers should be given the choice of whether to use it, purely as a diagnostic tool, to assist them with the job in hand.

David Hanson, Chief executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools.

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