Plans to revive national testing for seven year olds around England could be implemented by ministers as early as next year.
The plans to reintroduce tests for seven year olds have been announced after channel 4’s documentary ‘Dispatches’ uncovered schools were attempting to cheat the exam system in an attempt to boost their league table performance. Currently, year two pupils sit tests which are marked by teachers and moderated by local councils. However teachers were found to be marking down pupils initially and as a result at the next assessment the child shows inflated progress so teachers can hit their improvement targets with relative ease. After uncovering the cheating the government look set to bring the national key stage 1 tests back, with the Department for Education stating that by introducing these national exams will also allow the workload for teachers to lighten due to no longer needing to carry out or mark individual assessments.
The key stage 1 assessments were abolished ten years ago because it was argued that they put too much pressure on pupils at such a young age. The Department for Education wants to introduce the tests so it can better monitor progress of children who are expected to improve by two levels between year two and the end of primary school. Currently pupil’s first experience of national exams comes at the age of 11 in their final year of primary school. Implementing the key stage 1 exams will allow the government the opportunity to monitor the progress of the pupils between year 3 and year 6.
The NAHT and ATL unions are unhappy with the idea, threatening to boycott any new national tests, believing that they will set children up to fail in the early years, when youngsters develop at very different speeds. Both the NAHT and ATL general secretaries came out saying the idea of bringing back these tests is “total nonsense” and “a step too far”.
But what do primary teachers think of this idea? Would these exams help reduce the workload, or will this end up damage children’s learning? What do you think? However it this just the Department of Education not trusting schools and teachers due to the actions of a few schools?
Have your say here…