SATs do not exist here!

18th May 2001 at 01:00
Why, oh why do some contributors to The TES refer to "SATs" as if they actually exist in this country? This is a misnomer.

True, during the gestation period of the national curriculum, trainers and teachers worked together on the concept of assessment through "Standard Assessment Tasks" - this turned out to be a waste of time. Hence the error in your piece "Spelling lists scorned as control freakery" (TES, April 27). Teachers did not "boycott standard assessment tasks a decade ago" - assessment through classroom tasks was abolished before it even happened. When tests were introduced instead, itmeant the end of UK "SATs" at a stroke.

The assessment authority then discovered that, even if it wanted to pretend its tests were "SATs", it could not - because the American agency responsible for "Scholastic Aptitude Tests" held a worldwide copyright on the acronym!

A letter I have from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority says: "We stopped using the term in 1992, and since then have referred to 'end of key stage tests' or 'national tests'. We have brought this to the attention of schools, journalists and the public..."

Peter Tallon 58 Bideford Way, Cannock, Staffs


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