They said

10th August 2007 at 01:00

"Almost 240,000 11-year-olds in England are unable to read, write and do sums." Daily Telegraph


Possibly the most extreme example in a large collection of wild media exaggerations about the so-called failure of primary pupils in national tests this week.

The 240,000 figure is derived from the fact that this year, 40 per cent of pupils did not reach level 4 in all three tests for maths, reading and writing.

But this does not mean they were completely devoid of literacy and numeracy skills far from it.

In each of the three Rs, the majority of pupils who failed to reach this "expected level", did manage level 3.

That means they were able to "read a range of texts fluently and accurately".

It means their writing is "often organised, imaginative and clear", they use sequences of sentences to extend ideas logically with words chosen for variety and interest. It means basic grammar, spelling and punctuation is usually correct.

It means pupils can mentally add, subtract, multiply; use simple fractions; understand decimal notation and use metric measurements. Hardly the dunces The Telegraph would have its readers believe.

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