The papers have arrived, the teachers are stressed. The kids probably don’t have much clue of the pressure the school is under to ‘perform’ acceptably, nor that their results will be published nationally and their school judged accordingly.
This week, Key Stage 2 children, aged 10-11 will be taking their tests. Key Stage 1 children aged 6 and 7 will take them over the next few weeks as determined by the individual school.
What are SATs?
They are ‘standard assessment tests’. They are the way that the government determines the level of ability of our children based on a standard they have set in relation to the national curriculum.
Should we care? As parents, tax payers, school employees, simply as human beings?
Testing children can give an assessment for schools and parents about the level of ability. It can also highlight areas that children struggle with which can help children to develop a personalised study plan and make the teachers aware of areas of the curriculum that might need extra support.
It shows us as tax payers that the millions of pounds our government spends on education is being used effectively on staff and resources to create the next generation.
For school employees it can show how effective their work is. The interventions that are put in place to support children and their learning, the lesson planning, progress meetings, endless paperwork, all whittle down to these tests and their results.
It is good practice for the children to learn about the preparation for tests ready for their secondary education. Some of the children in the GCSE exams I invigilate should have paid more attention!
Tests are only conducted in English and Maths. They stress out the children, parents and teachers. They bring out an unpleasant competitiveness.
Matthew was only 6 when he sat his KS1 SATs: that seems so young to be making judgements about his ability. The school downplayed the importance of the tests but some children had been told about them by their parents and it soon went around the whole class.
SATs don’t take into consideration special circumstances such as special educational needs and disabilities or social/emotional issues. In the data analysis that is produced, these details will be present to those who care to look, but the narrative behind the results is marginalised.