Friday, 24 October 2008

The teachers' case for Key Stage 3 tests

My arguments in favour of keeping the Key Stage 3 tests obviously came to nought. But do read what Oliver Quantrill, a Maths teacher at Lavington School, Wiltshire, has to say on the subject in this week's TES, where his views are carried alongside two other teachers who seem pleased that the tests are gone. I suspect he speaks for a substantial number of his profession.

We will still be doing an internal assessment, as I suspect will most schools, and we will try as hard as we can to make it as formal as possible so we can motivate pupils to take it seriously, get themselves prepared for the start of the GCSE course and give us and them an accurate assessment of their current level in the subject.

The fact that this is no longer an external exam means it will be harder to convince them to take it seriously and we will have less chance of identifying those whose under-performance in lessons might be masking their actual potential. It also means pupils will have less experience of this kind of formal test and so will find the GCSE exams that much more daunting.

We, in our maths department, feel that the maths Sats paper is a good test of abilities....All that happens now is our department will have to put in a significant extra amount of time and effort marking and moderating our own set of papers. Scrapping a good test, which is a reliable measure of a pupil's progress, seems short-sighted.

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