Testing regime

11th May 2007 at 01:00
Once again, pupils in English state schools face a week of national tests.

There is no evidence that these enhance learning. Rather, Sats intensify pupils' anxiety, lower teachers' morale, encourage a narrower curriculum and legitimise the spurious labelling of students by so-called "ability".

In its recent document, Making Good Progress, the Department for Education and Skills hints at the future abolition of end-of-key-stage tests. It would be a welcome step for state-school pupils in England to be free of Sats and on a par with pupils in private schools and those across the rest of the country. But the proposals suggest replacing Sats at the end of a key stage with Sats-style testing in every school year. It should concede that the most detailed information about pupil progress will come from the teachers who work with them daily.

The testing regime and its proposed replacement are coercive of teachers and limiting for students. It must be replaced, ideally by education, education, education.

Patrick Yarker, Beetley, Dereham, Norfolk

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