Tests suffer from extractitis

7th March 2003 at 00:00
On reading the letter "Authors unite against tests" (TES, February 21), I felt the knot in my stomach twist a little tighter. The knot has been growing alarmingly with every week that I have to teach solely to prepare pupils for national tests.

I try to tell my Year 9 class that they are acquiring great skills through studying these short extracts, that it is amazing how they now know how Bram Stoker creates tension in Dracula. They look at me blankly and then Robert asks the dreaded question: "But what happens next?" he cries.

"Sorry, Robert," comes my pathetic reply. "We've not got time to read the rest."

As an English teacher I am supposed to cultivate a love of literature. Yet in my Year 9 class there's not a lot of love. Instead, we have resentment, fostered by these terrible tests.

Victoria Whitfield

6 Elm Court

Knaphill, Woking, Surrey

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