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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Your views on school tests
BBC education correspondent Mike Baker discussed suggestions that national curriculum tests - Sats - should only be taken by random groups of pupils.

As usual we invited your thoughts too. Here is a selection of the responses.

Maybe the government is finally realising what home-educators have always known - that a "one size fits all" education system is bound to fail children. When the government can provide a wholly individualistic curriculum based on each child's interests as well as ability level, I may consider sending my child to school. Whilst we await that particular herd of flying pigs, I shall continue to educate my child at home and not in an institution.
Samantha Woods, Shepshed UK

Fantastic! As an English teacher I loathe the current tests which have outlived their usefulness. They were introduced to assess schools but have become a tool for assessing pupils.
Jane, Leeds

Surely this whole "revolution" thing is just creating more work for already stretched teachers, along with the examiners etc involved in the moderating and marking of papers. Considering these people are stretched for effective A-level and GCSE marking when they're being paid per candidate, the entirely government-funded national tests wouldn't stand a chance.

Furthermore, the "shorter" tests wouldn't help anyone. As a pupil I always thought the SATs tests were a waste of time, but looking back on it now: in year 10 I sat a GCSE paper lasting 2 hours and a half, had I have not had the experience of sitting in a hall under examination conditions for an hour and a half a year earlier, I wouldn't have known how to cope - they serve as practice of exam technique. A 30 minute quiz as and when teachers feel a student's "ready" for it hardly compares. And isn't the measuring of how much pupils in a school improve currently under the headline of "value added" in league tables? Wouldn't a more efficient scheme in relation to Key Stage tests be an easier way around the issue?
Sylvia Grice, Hitchin, Herts

As a recent product of this Blairite education system, I can only say that less testing and less teaching for tests will benefit education greatly. People are obtaining GCSEs, A-levels and even degrees without having basic social interaction and general knowledge, making them difficult to employ in everything but very analytical roles. Less education, more learning!
Tom, London

This is the most stupid idea I've ever heard. Surely, tests are not there just to get national statistics, but to measure each pupil's performance compared against the nation. First they devalued exams by making them too easy, then they abolish grammars, and now they want to remove tests. This is educational suicide.
Nick Frei, London

Does this mean that brighter children will move through the key stages quicker, and could therefore move up a year before September? Does it mean that in September a child may jump a year, if they are considered ready to do so? Equally, for less able pupils, will they be held back a year if necessary? How will teachers manage children at different levels in the same class, if children are taking tests at different times? In France, children can repeat a year, or skip a year, if it is considered necessary. I understand that few parents accept that their child needs to repeat a year, and they now have the option to say no to this school decision. Children who are going to skip a year will be psychologically assessed to ensure they are mature enough to cope with all the implications of doing so.
Stephanie, Nice, France

As a maths teacher, I think this is an excellent idea. One of the biggest problems with exams is that if you have ONE bad day, it can affect you for years to come. And why stop at Key Stage 3? Why not include GCSEs in this? If it is OK for students aged seven-14 to take an exam when they are ready for it, why not 15 and 16-year-olds? Just imagine giving students the chance to study for an exam, having already achieved the previous grade. It would take so much pressure away from them, since even if they completely fail, they won't end up with nothing.
Pete, Milton Keynes, UK

If the children have already been recognised through teacher assessments that they have reached a level, why bother to set them a formal test to prove something that has already been established?
Andrew, St Austell




SEE ALSO
Are school tests on their way out?
24 Mar 07 |  Education



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