Three pages of obsessive testing

24th January 2003 at 00:00
IN his very first letter to all primary heads, Stephen Twigg has almost certainly managed to alienate the vast majority of his readership - not just those in the "one in four schools" he identifies as "underperforming".

He has reiterated this Government's obsession with testing, testing, testing. Nowhere in his three-page letter is the word "education" mentioned. Perhaps in New Labour-speak the two are now considered synonymous.

The minister's letter may well have damaged his relationship with teachers, but much more significant is the damage being inflicted on children by this dominant testing regime. For me, the most chilling indictment of this policy was provided by an 11-year-old anticipating her test results, when she commented: "I'll be a nothing." That may be extreme but, given the assumption behind the minister's letter that 11-year-olds at level 3 are failing to achieve, how many thousands of such children will be saying this summer, "I'm only a three", and writing themselves off as learners?

Professor Colin Richards

1 Bobbin Mill

Spark Bridge, Cumbria

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?

Subscribe

To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today