'The tests are really a test of me'

27th August 2004 at 01:00
Josh Duce was hit by a car during Sats week and knocked out - fortunately , barring a black eye, he escaped unscathed.

The 11-year-old from Mayhill junior in Odiham, Hampshire, admits that if he had been facing the maths test the following day, he probably would have used being run over as an excuse not to go in.

"My mum was surprised I wanted to go to school," said Josh. "But it was a literacy test and I didn't want to miss it."

Then, when he turned over the writing paper, there was a question about a car accident.

Josh, who got a level 5 in English, maths and science, said: "Everyone chatted to me afterward saying how weird it was. I suppose it was a little bit."

Like many 11-year-olds , Josh is a test veteran. Talking to him and his classmates it is clear that, however much parents, politicians and teachers say Sats measure a school's effectiveness, pupils take the results personally.

Katy Sworn, 10, also from Mayhill, said: "The tests really are a test of me, because the school can't do anything about how well you do. They try and teach us stuff but if you don't work it is not the school's fault."

Emily White, 11, said: "I think they should only have tests at an older age."

Many pupils still feel nervous despite the countless tests they have taken over their years in primary school.

Freddie Gibbons, 10, from St Giles school, Great Maplestead in Essex, is dyslexic. He said: "I felt under pressure. If you didn't do well you might get teased about your grades when you get to secondary school." But at Southdale junior, in Ossett, West Yorkshire, Ralph Priestly, 10, said: "I couldn't wait to do the tests, I wanted to get them over and done with."

And Edward Grace, an 11-year-old at the same school, said: "I think we should do them, because if you didn't, you wouldn't know what it feels like when you get round to GCSEs."

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