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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Should tests for seven-year-olds be scrapped?
Eight out of 10 teachers want tests for seven-year-olds to be scrapped, a new survey has revealed.

More than half of the those questioned in a poll for the Times Educational Supplement (TES) also wanted to see an end to national exams for 11-year-olds.

The government wants to see 85% of 11-year-olds in England reach the level expected for their age in maths and English by 2004. But 59% of teachers surveyed said the target for English would not be achieved and 54% thought schools would not meet it for maths.

In total, 80% of the teachers surveyed wanted national tests for seven-year-olds to be abolished, while just 15% were in favour.

What do you think? Should tests for seven- and 11-year-olds come to an end? How does your child respond to the current testing system?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I have loved teaching for 30 years. I have always assessed individual pupils and I can say with absolute certainty that schools rarely fail children - parents sometimes do and successive governments always fail them. The reason why 7 year old testing is unfair is because they do the tests half a term before they reach the end of key stage 1.Believe me when I tell you that there are parts of the Maths and English programmes which the children are expected to know in the tests which they cover in the last term after the tests are completed. Children blossom academically in the last part of the summer term!
Barbara Cook, England

The tests should be scrapped, England is now out of line with other parts of the UK where they recognise that the tests and the statistical nonsense that follows serves no useful purpose. Now that the Government has introduced citizenship into the curriculum, I suggest that children in Year 6 debate the issue and vote whether or not they want to be subjected to the tests. With any luck they will vote not to do them and the Government will find it harder to ignore them than the teachers who they routinely ignore.
John Wadsworth, London, England

Of course all schools should meet a minimum standard and we deserve to know which don't

Of course all schools should meet a minimum standard and we deserve to know which don't. I think the SAT results should be used internally by the education boards to make sure schools are up to the required standard and then the public results should say "yep, that school is up to scratch" instead of all these percentages. The tests should continue, they are valuable but make sure schools can't and don't need to cheat.

Viewing the last few years of my son's school progress, I feel that there are too many tests. In his final year, in the autumn term they revised for mock exams, then took the mocks. In the next term they did their projects which is part of the final mark and in the final term revised for the exams and took them. I saw little evidence of actual teaching. My niece's have all gone to tutors to increase their marks in their SATs (age range nine to 14). I see no increase in their intelligence just an increase in marks for a short period. The eldest has since been put down into a lower class in two key subjects, as she couldn't keep up. Therefore I can only conclude that children of parents who can afford, or choose to have tutors push their children into classes and/or schools that they shouldn't be in, thereby forcing more intelligent children towards the no-hoper end of the spectrum.
AndyH, UK

Kids like tests - they make a change. That is, provided they're not made to revise and told they have to meet a certain level - that's where the stress comes from. At this age, the kids should not feel they're being assessed and they shouldn't be asked to prepare.

I'm sure for some children they are a good indication of progress made, but for others just an added worry to an already difficult school life

Janine, London, UK
My son is in year 5 and dyslexic; he was very upset and worried by his year 2 SATS and is already beginning to worry about the next lot next year! I'm sure for some children they are a good indication of progress made, but for others just an added worry to an already difficult school life. My son certainly suffers enormously. Also in London he has to suffer 'secondary transfer' exams next month!
Janine, London, UK

What are the tests for seven year olds designed to do exactly? If modern seven year olds are anything like I was at that age, they'll be far more interested in playing with Fuzzy Felt than in trying to prove their academic abilities.
Pete Hazell, UK

Are we to drop standards because children play computer games instead of studying? The testing system is to get students up to standard. Why should this be argued about?

Well, I have to say they should scrap it. I am 11 and right now I am going through a hard time because my Common Entrance examination is on the 14 June. I have to be studying very hard. This is very stressful for me. I am anxious and nervous. I am even scared I wont pass to go to a secondary school. Every adult I know is using common entrance as an excuse. My mom keeps on troubling me." Have you done your homework?" "Have you studied?" No one would like to be in my shoes right now.
Fritzi, St.Lucia,Caribbean

For all those parents bothered about SATs - take your children out of them

Margie, UK
For all those parents bothered about SATs - take your children out of them. Explain to the school why you don't wish your child to take the tests and ask them to inform the school governing body, LEA and the DfE that it is a deliberate withdrawal. SATs lead to an unbalanced education and put the wrong kind of burden on children. Why should they feel responsible for the school's results - they should be getting as much enjoyment out of learning as they possibly can. Arguments about preparing children for the hardness of life later on are nonsense. How will anything ever change if we agree to these pressures on our children?
Margie, UK

People in the UK get tested enough when they are 16+. What is the point making kids experience these pressures at seven? Why can't they be allowed to learn more instead of constantly being tested?
Eric Chan, UK

Of course the teachers want to see the tests scrapped. They are simply another way of pinpointing the under-achieving malingerers within their ranks, so of course their removal would be welcomed. Why not just do away with all tests and then employers can take pot luck from the Phone Book as to whom they hire when the great mass of uneducated pork that would ensue hits the workplace?
Shaun, Teignmouth UK

Testing, whether it be the SATs for 7 year olds, the 11+ which still exists in Kent and elsewhere or even GCSEs is unfair. People have often said that a lot of pressure is put on all children to succeed in their school tests. In fact, pressure is only applied to those children who 'might' pass. Those who definitely will pass are allowed to get on with it and those who definitely will not are ignored. This is of course to the detriment of everyone, especially the 'definite fail' category. Those children who might pass with enough support are put under huge pressure as every one of them affects the school, the staff and even the pay rates for teachers. However the most worrying part of testing is the evidence that has repeatedly shown that children will always live down to an assertion that they have failed. If children as young as seven are allowed to believe they are failures, what hope is there that they will try to succeed later in life?
Nick Ellis, UK

The tests are badly designed. They do not have easier and harder options as do the GCSE papers. The English SATS do not test what the Literacy Hour teaches. Analogies to manufacturing quality control can not be made because children are not standard raw materials whose quality can be increased each year.
Mike, UK

All a 7 year old needs is plenty of reading, plenty of writing, plenty of play, love and support

Jeff F, UK
All tests at 7 and 11 should be abolished. I had to take the "11 plus" when I was ten and a half. I failed it, got sent to secondary school and had to go to Further Ed College to get the qualifications for University. The league tables just make it more difficult for the schools at the bottom because their pupils tend to come from areas where parents are less supportive. All a 7 year old needs is plenty of reading, plenty of writing, plenty of play, love and support. The rest will follow naturally. Pushy parents obsessed with tests will end up with failing and insecure children.
Jeff F, UK

It seems to me that the problem here is not the tests. The problem is that because teachers have to focus so much on achieving results for the league tables, children miss out on other important things they could be learning instead, such as geography, history, environment etc. Get rid of the early tests and give kids a chance to have a well balanced education.
Christine, UK

These tests are a complete waste of time. I want my children to be educated during their time at school, not to be taught how to pass SATs tests. My youngest daughter sat her year 6 SATs last year and was told, by her headmaster, prior to the tests "...that these tests are among some of the most important tests that you will ever take and will affect you for the rest of your life..."! If these tests are really to determine the quality of teaching in schools then putting pressure like that on 11 year olds hardly seems to be the best way to measure standards.
Joanna Hudson, UK

I can't believe the number of people here who are having a go at teachers. Several close friends of mine are teachers, and many have pupils who perform to excellent standards in the tests. And yet, these people are leaving the profession, because they are being asked to work absurd hours, given little or no support, given impossible targets, and have their services and dedication taken for granted. Oh, and the fact that two years out of university, I'm already earning more than the salary most of them could expect to earn for the next 10-15 years might have something to do with the fact that every single one of them is changing careers.
Chris, UK

Why is it that the 11+ is designated elitist and divisive but these tests at 7 are not?

Wendy, UK
Why is it that the 11+ is designated elitist and divisive but these tests at 7 are not? End of term/year tests are surely sufficient for any primary school children and or their teachers. No further pressure should be put on school children of this age. Teachers should have them reading and writing by that age so these national tests are only more red tape nonsense for the education departments to look good.
Wendy, UK

I think they probably should be scrapped, unless they are specifically for the child's improvement at the moment all these tests are merely to improve the Governments figures.
Laura D/J, UK

You should see the system in Singapore which is supposed to be modelled after the British system. At 10, they take national tests which streams them into 3 categories: Good, not-so-good, and No-hope. And at 12, they are stream again into Good, Can-Make-It, Its-The-End categories. And at 16, they take their O levels which decides who's job-worthy and who's not. At 18, they take A levels to decide who are the "Likely to be CEO" materials and those "Likely to be workers for their whole lives" materials.
Janine, Brit in Singapore

If they can't pass the test, they need more instruction. How else can one determine this?
Nigel Rees, Briton in USA

My son is 7 and will have his SAT soon. The test result is for the school and for parents in future to know how good/bad the school is, isn't that what's important? As for exam pressure and failure. By the time they sit the SAT they'll already have had many 'checks' on their performance spelling, maths etc. I don't think the SAT tests are going to make things any worse for them. Anyone is business knows the only way to be sure of continuous improvement is to be able to measure it, that is what SAT are about. Mike
Mike Bilsborough, UK

There is too much of a focus on tests which can never show an accurate picture anyhow. Seven is too early an age to test pupils and determine their future. It should be used solely as a measure of the performance of schools.
Sam Wright, UK

2 of my 4 children passed right through the British education system without their dyslexia being detected. The third was diagnosed as being severely dyslexic in his last year at school, only as a result of private testing. This was far too late to help him. The youngest is still in her third year and I want her to have every test there is, if it will help early diagnosis of this problem. Personally I think teachers should be more results driven, like the rest of the UK population.
Hugh Gardner, Argentina

There should be less importance attached to testing and more on learning

Edwin Mills Lee, Great Britain
There should be less importance attached to testing and more on learning. Obviously this needs to be monitored so that the progress of children is outlined, but national, league-tabled, competitive exams is not the answer at that early age. I agree with Stefan Castille from across the channel. Teachers should be allowed to make their own tests for a whole class or school, to gauge individual progress. As children become more mature and independent, more complicated testing is required, with increasing relevance to national standards.
Edwin Mills Lee, Great Britain

I feel they should be scrapped as it doesn't do anything for the child. When I did little stupid tests in primary school it did nothing for me. Plus I can't even remember what marks or anything much about them at 11 and I am only 16. I think primary school should be for kids to not only learn to write and count and all the usual stuff but to have fun too. Doing tests is just going to get them worried or upset if they do bad when they could actually be anything they want.
Richard Irvine, Scotland

I would say from experience it's not the exam that ever really bothered me. It was the actual hype we were fed from teachers to do well that affected me more. The competition between schools is the problem not the SATs.
Helen, England

Tests in general are valuable tools, but these tests are not. These tests are meant to be a test of how far the school and children have come. But what they do test, as do all exams, is how ell prepared these children are for the exam. An example of this confusion; the BBC runs a bite size revision course. The presenter says these tests are to see how well the school is teaching you (the watching child). Yet this revision offered outside the school will surely mask this. Tests are needed, but relying on an exam structure is not the answer. As for these comments like 'life is tough' etc., what are you people on. You have the opportunity to create the world that your children live in. So is it out of spite you make it an unhappy one? Yes, they do need to know that there are other people out there that will treat them unfairly, but to use that as justification for doing that yourself is quite simply stupid. Lots of bad things will happen to my kids. I will try to prepare them for this. But not by being the instigator of bad things myself.
Andrew Bartlett, UK

To "Helen, UK": It is precisely because some 7 year olds cannot cope with 10 words that the standard of education needs to be improved! Are you really proposing that such a level of incompetence should become the norm?
Frank, England

Seven-year-olds cannot cope with revision for pointless and waste of time SATs

Helen, UK
Seven-year-olds cannot cope with revision for pointless and waste of time SATs. When I was 7, I remembered that every Monday, I was given 10 words to learn to spell by Friday. That was bad enough. Some 7 year olds cannot cope with 10 words, so scrap these tests now!
Helen, UK

My son is only 5 and very bright for his age. When he started school he was assessed for what level he came into the school at. When I saw the teacher to discuss his knowledge he was placed below average despite already being able to read and do simple number problems. His conversations skills are excellent. I believe that the school made his results lower so to boost the next ones to show how much better "their" teaching has increased his skills. Especially since when he started I received information about how children come into the school with a low standard of education and that the students all come out with normal or above average skills. Will this happen to my boy with the tests?
Carla Dimeloe, UK

Perhaps all these people who say that education shouldn't be competitive should stop for a moment and ask themselves if these pupils at school today are likely to meet competition when they reach the real world - Of course they are. Schools should most definitely encourage competition in whatever form they can, including extensive testing, to prepare them for real life.
Alex, UK

I am currently preparing a class for National Tests at 14. I will not be teaching them for the next two weeks. Is this a good use of my time and their education?
Graham Tipping, UK

Yes please scrap these useless tests! All that is being tested is the ability of the teacher to cram facts into 7 year old heads. Notice that I said facts, not any reasoning skills, powers of deduction or even - dare I say it - understanding. At this age school should still be fun as there is time enough for hard learning later. Remember that in other European countries children do not start school until they are 6 or 7. I know what I am talking about too, having had 2 children educated in Germany and 2 children educated in the UK and being a primary school teacher myself.
Phil, USA

The fundamental problem with SAT's remains their purpose and audience. Are they diagnostic and indicative tests to assist in more targeted teaching to benefit the individual and cohort, or are they measures of teacher and school performance. Beyond this question remains the audience. If schools have to publish results in league tables which are subsequently used as crude indicators of school success it seems to me that there remains a conflict of interest.
J Murray, Britain

Some kind of testing is useful in primary school so that we know the abilities of our incoming year 7

Helen, UK
I'm a secondary school teacher. Some kind of testing is useful in primary school so that we know the abilities of our incoming year 7. What worries me more is that we are living in a society where children are becoming increasingly unhealthy. If we have to test children then let us also test them in physical education, cooking, health awareness etc. Why does our education system revolve around testing in only maths, English and science? Let us equip our nations children with healthy living skills that are going to last them a lifetime. After all a healthy nation is a happy nation!
Helen, UK

In a classic class-ridden society like the UK, it is a sign of progress that so many people want to do away with such preposterous tests.
Erling Nylund, Norway

Maybe its not the tests that need to be scrapped but the approach to these tests changed. Here in Australia the primary school children sit basic skills tests in years 3(aged 8&9) and 5 (aged 10& 11). There is no pressure on the children, it's a simple test in basic skills at numeracy and literacy. The whole idea of these tests is not just to test the child's ability but also to help the Education Department assess the correct levels and methods of teaching in all these areas and to adjust the system and ensure that the focus of teaching is directed at where the areas that need to be addressed.
Cathy J, Australia

It is not a bad thing to have tests although they should not be given for the sake of testing. My daughter is studying in the Chinese system and has tests four times a year and exams twice a year. The idea is to determine the progress the child is making. However, I think that a lot of parents view results as competition and the reason for the exams existence tends to get lost.
LF, Hong Kong

One standard test doesn't give any information about the capabilities of a student

Stefan Castille, Belgium
Why do you need national tests anyway? I remember we had lots of small tests, but those were made by the teacher to asses how we were doing. Only the teacher can see how smart a student is because he or she is in contact with them for a whole year. One standard test doesn't give any information about the capabilities of a student. The decision on what the student should do next year should be made solely by the student, the parents and the teacher. Not by a single test. I've never understood all these SAT tests.
Stefan Castille, Belgium

Tests only encourage competition between individuals and schools. In Sweden they don't reveal test marks to students until they're in their teens. Education isn't about competing; it's about learning and understanding.
Emily, UK

Things have definitely changed in the 10 or so years since I took my first SATs. All I recall of it is sitting down at a table with colourful paper and being told I should do some questions. I remember sorting some objects into "sets", that's about it. If the SATs were administered in that way now I think they could be a valuable tool in testing abilities. I remember my year six SATs and my year nine SATs much more clearly, due to the pressure that was put on us.

If schools had properly tested my son in his earliest years they might have picked up the fact that he is dyslexic. As it was it was necessary for us as parents to arrange for proper testing. Perhaps the manner of the tests for seven year olds could be adjusted to be less intrusive, however they should not be scrapped. As for the alledged stress for the child, life is like that.
BArry P, England

National tests for 7 year olds must be stopped. There is nothing to prove at this age and the pressure on the children has more of a potential to turn them off of education for good rather than encourage them to look on education as an enjoyable lifetime experience.

Tests for 11 year olds should continue but probably with slightly lowered standards, taking in a wider number of subjects including basic geography and British history. Currently 11 year olds leave primary education with only enough knowledge to boost the school's ratings in the league table which does nothing to educate a child apart from within a far too narrow range of subjects.
W J Andrews, England

If introduced in the proper way, there is no reason that testing should be a stressful undertaking.

Jamie Bessich, New York
I took writing and math tests mandated by the state every year of elementary school and then in eighth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. It never bothered me. If introduced in the proper way, there is no reason that testing should be a stressful undertaking. It seems ridiculous to ban testing because teachers feel too much "pressure" - they SHOULD feel pressure for their pupils to reach a certain educational level. There is entirely too little weight placed on tangible results these days. How do we expect to identify the brightest and fix the schools that shirk their responsibility to our children?
Jamie Bessich, New York, US

Caron, England, comments that she approves of SATS since otherwise she "only" has her son's teacher's word that he is working to the correct standard. Can it be right that people are willing to subject tiny children to immense pressure because they are not willing to accept the judgement of professionals?
Lisa, a teacher , Wales

Nearly 30 years ago both my husband and I sat our 11+ knowing this exam would effect the rest of our education as it would determine our secondary school. Both of us did spend a lot of time preparing for the exam, however we never felt under pressure and were told by both our parents and teachers to do the best we could. Children are pressurized by their parents/teachers attitude and not the exam itself.
Caron, England

My son is just about to go through his SATs at age 7. His previous reactions to learning at school have always been very positive and relaxed. This week, for the first time, I have seen him get really upset because he is being asked to do sums which are quite frankly beyond him. I understand that a range of questions are needed to gauge children┐s ability, but it seems very unfair to me that a previously happy and secure child should now start to question his own abilities. I firmly believe that teachers should be accountable and that their abilities should be measurable as with the majority of other workforces. However, if this is the main aim of SATS, rather than testing the children, could this not be achieved by case studies, on the job assessment and continuing personal development programmes for teachers? If, on the other hand, the child's ability is the point in question, then surely there are other ways to assess this rather than testing which would be just as objective, if not more so as the pressure element would be removed. Ultimately, I am annoyed and angry with a system which does not put my child first!
Kate, UK

I'm not that old, but remember that school at that age was still fun.

Tania, England
What a shame small children are subjected to this kind of pressure. I'm not that old, but remember that school at that age was still fun. Life has enough pressures as we get older, starting in our teens. Is there really any need for children so young to feel this kind of stress. I don't think so. At that age, I was a very slow reader, by the time I was in my teens, I'd caught up. Thank god I never had to undergo this kind of procedure, it would have worried me senseless.
Tania, Birmingham, England

I hope that you will follow the Welsh Assembly and bring an end to these tests. Children of seven should not be under exam stress. I have seen parents congratulating their offspring on passing their SATS in local papers. Seven is much too young to make them take exams. Teachers are able to assess children without having to give them written tests to be done under exam conditions.
Lisa, Wales

Why on earth are children being made to study and revise for these tests? They are not exams, they are baseline assessments designed to provide the basis for future value-added measures. If children are being extensively prepared for the SATs it is because the teachers have fundamentally misunderstood their purpose.
Guy Chapman, UK

Scrap all tests up to GCSE level. Give teachers the power to identify failing kids and use the money saved from the abolition of tests to give these kids some proper help. Tests are just more pointless bureaucracy.
Tom, UK

Some people are more able than others, we can't pretend otherwise.

Jon Cooper, UK
School is about preparing children for the outside world, and pretending to a class that they are all of the same ability is not helpful. Kids know this anyway, but if they expect equal treatment and an 'everyone is equally valuable' attitude from employers when they leave, they will be sorely disappointed. It's a fact of life that some people are more able than others, we can't pretend otherwise. Better to face up to realities early, and find their strengths while at school instead of being told that they are doing fine if they are not.
Jon Cooper, UK

Life is stressful enough when people are old enough to fend for themselves. It is so unfair to put a young child through stress. They should be able to enjoy life while they can.
Neil Slack, Billericay, Essex

For decades, children of perfectly adequate intelligence left school unable to even read or write. What amazes me is that for the most part their teachers didn't even appear to notice. These tests are to formally see what levels children have achieved, if they need further help and (this is the bit that teachers and their unions hate) if their teachers are doing their jobs properly. The only people who need fear testing are incompetent teachers and I have little sympathy for them.
Will Howell, Norfolk UK

I am a governor of a primary school, and I have children of that age. I support tests for seven-year-olds because it provides a valuable baseline. On the other hand, treating the SATs as some kind of exam is pointless and stupid. What good does it do spending months cramming for them? Teaching for the SATs doesn't help the child. The way some schools use them as a cynical marketing ploy is wholly unacceptable. The fundamental weakness with SATs everywhere, at whatever age - is that they are open to abuse by unscrupulous schools which encourage hothousing, coerce children into having extra tuition to get into the next grade band and trumpet SATs above all other measures of performance. Sensible parents know better than to believe the hype, one hopes. Ultimately there must be measures. When someone proposes a better measure, I'll be campaigning for it. For now SATs are the only game in town.
Guy Chapman, UK

Teachers should not be able to cover up

Colin Moore, Germany
Of course teachers want the tests scrapped. The tests weren't introduced to make things better for teachers, they were introduced to give children better chances. If children can see transparently how well they are doing at school, they can decide which areas to concentrate on. This can only be achieved by tests where the results are published for everyone to see. Everyone has the right to knowledge, and teachers should not be able to cover up how good children are in various subjects, even though this is in the teachers' interest. Long live children's rights, especially where they are in conflict with teachers' rights!
Colin Moore, Germany

Testing of this kind is being phased out in Wales and has been abolished in Northern Ireland. When is England going to catch up?
David Heald, Wales

My six-year-old son is about to sit these tests. Whilst I understand teachers' concerns, without them, I as a parent, only have his teacher's word that he is working to the correct standard. So long as the tests are not treated as the final word on a child's ability then I see no problem with them.
Caron, England

Children should not be driven by fear of failing tests

Wendy, UK
What is the point of these tests anyway? Surely teachers should be able to judge a child's abilities and see if there any problems without them? Besides, children should have an organic approach to learning at this age - and should not be driven by fear of failing tests, the poor little mites!
Wendy, UK

Children are just not allowed to be children anymore. What on earth does an exam-style test mean to a seven-year old? They should be at play, not revising for tests or fearing that they may be a failure. As a nation we are putting far too much pressure on children to succeed academically that we risk producing a generation of young burn-outs.
John G, London, UK

To Alan Green who seems to dismiss the concerns of the professionals, i.e. teachers. If a child fails at 7 is he willing to also agree that this has as much if not more to do with the parents than the teachers. Teachers only have so much time with children and a lot of time is spent on pointless bureaucracy. In many cases teachers fail to get the support of parents and even on Parent's evenings the number of parents who fail to turn up is quite high. A child's education is a combination of the child, the teacher AND parents, therefore if the child does not succeed at 7 parents have to take their share of the blame. By the way I am not a teacher.
KD, Warwick

It seems that the teachers surveyed are simply incapable

Alan Green, Germany
If I were a good teacher, whose pupils were going to make the grade with my help, I would want to shout it from the rooftops. If I were a bad teacher, whose pupils were going to fail because I was incompetent, I would want to ban the tests so that nobody found out. Sadly, it seems from the TES poll that 80% of the teachers surveyed are simply incapable of taking their classes and educating them to a required level, and I challenge any teacher who wants to abolish testing for seven- and eleven-year olds to put their personal results for the last two years into this forum for public scrutiny.
Alan Green, Germany

My seven-year-old has suffered an inordinate amount of stress from the revision being imposed

David Atkin, UK
Definitely - my seven-year-old has suffered an inordinate amount of stress from the revision being imposed. I also feel slightly inept and unable to help her, as I am a professional Diablo player and therefore not very academic. I was expecting to have to help her with GCSE revision, but this is an extra strain we can do without.
David Atkin, UK

The SATs are a complete nonsense. All it achieves is to put teachers under more and more pressure to reach targets laid down by faceless bureaucrats, which in turn causes stress to the children and their parents. To test pupils at various stages in their educational development is beneficial, but only to ensure that the pupil is progressing at a rate based on their ability.
Paul J W, England, UK

Perhaps parents should be tested and, as a result of the parent tests, the children may or may not require testing.
David, England

These tests are for measuring the effectiveness of the teacher, not the individual pupil

Oliver Richardson, UK
We are all measured all the time - how else do we prove we've reached a certain level? As far as I know these tests are for measuring the effectiveness of the teacher and school, not the individual pupil. We're not talking about the 11 plus here. Are teachers afraid we'll find out how incompetent they are?
Oliver Richardson, UK

A student in test conditions may shine at the age of seven but fail miserably by the time they sit their GCSE examinations simply because of adolescence. I think the early stages of testing should be abolished.
Chris Gower, London, UK

I was fortunate enough to come through the education system before tests for seven- and 11-year-olds were introduced, but I spent a year being prepared for SATs at age 14, tests that we never actually took but instead of being taught English, maths or science, I was taught exactly what I needed to pass some tests. As such I wasn't given the basic grounding in these subjects that I needed for my GCSEs. Testing children at such a young age piles pressure on them, their parents and their teachers. Rather than doing the best for the children teachers feel pushed to deliver good results, concentrating on borderline cases rather than giving equal attention to all. The competitiveness among parents at school gates can only be detrimental to their children.
Jon, UK

I went through tests at 11 years old. I can confidently say that I felt neither stressed nor under excess pressure. Such tests are important to determine a child's progress, and the quality of the teaching he/she has received. Parents should be encouraging their child's development, not dismissing it as too much pressure for them (Jon, UK). Your child's development should be of the utmost importance.

Should tests for seven year olds be scrapped?



1434 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

18 Apr 02 | Education
Teachers 'want tests scrapped'
11 Apr 02 | Education
The tests are back
13 Mar 02 | Education
More test targets for 11 year olds
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