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Professional Assoc. of Teachers, Geoffrey Carver
"The degree of exam stress is too high"
 real 28k

Schools Minister, Jacqui Smith
"We need to prepare students for stress in later life"
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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 01:01 GMT 02:01 UK
Exam overload 'stressing pupils'
Exam room
Children take a minimum of 75 public tests and exams
Stressed-out pupils are suffering from an overload of testing and exams, says a survey published by two teachers' unions.

As pupils await their exam results in the next few weeks, the survey, billed as the largest of its kind, has found that many are suffering from the symptoms of stress.

Pupils have reported panic attacks, problems with sleep and eating disorders, which have been attributed to preparing for exams.

The report, Tested to Destruction, commissioned by the Professional Association of Teachers, the Secondary Heads Association and the Children's Society, also says exams cost the education system 150m a year - or an average of 35,000 per secondary school.

Between the ages of four and 18, pupils can expect to take a minimum of 75 public assessments, tests and exams, says the report.

'Life is stressful'

"We're not arguing that examinations are unnecessary, but we are very concerned that they are becoming too dominant a feature of school life," said Geoffrey Carver, senior professional officer of the PAT.

"They increasingly restrict teaching time, cost a great deal of money and cause an unconscionable amount of stress for many of our children."

But the Schools Minister, Jacqui Smith, said it was "right" that teachers should be able to test pupils at the end of the year to assess their progress.

"It is not excessive. Tests are part of school life," she told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"When I was at school we used to do tests every year."

The survey, which looked at a representative sample of 8,000 respondents between the ages of 11 and 18, found that girls were more likely to suffer from exam anxiety, with over half of girls reporting signs of stress, compared to less than half of boys.

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