National curriculum tests for key stages 1 and 2: information for parents
In case parents are in any doubt the SATs season is in full swing at primary schools up and down the country.
The National Standards and Testing Agency have kindly produced a leaflet with al the information anyone might need with regard to the testing process:
I would always stress to pupils that the assessments are merely to allow the system to know whereabouts each individual lies on the spectrum. There are no passes, no fails. As with anything in life, most will be average, some good, some struggling. Bear in mind that, because of the way admissions are made, some children will have had significantly longer in school than others due to the lottery of their date of birth. This doesn’t ‘unwind’ until they are at the top end of secondary school.
You could get the same information by asking pupils to form a line with those that are the best at Maths, or English, or Art on the left and those that struggle on the right. They wouldn’t be far off- kids know the pecking order, by and large.
In any case it is the SCHOOL that is being assessed, not the pupils – they are just the measuring stick; currently a pupils life chances are not affected by the outcome of SATs at the age of 11. They will be retested when they go to secondary school and be taught in a manner appropriate to their abilities.
The tests are a stick with which to beat the schools or score political points. It was amazing what an improvement there was in the English writing results once pupils were graded by teacher assessment instead of external test – and the Government of the day took the credit for all the extra Level fives…
Essentially, the tests are actually irrelevant to the people taking them and a vested interest for those administering them and selling training courses about them.
So, to all the Year 6 teachers stressing about the outcome: remember that there were 5 other years before you that have equal responsibility and NEVER accept the grades, levels, scaled score (or whatever we are using now) provided by anyone handing a class on to you.
Test them yourself and kick up a fuss if you find a discrepancy that is out of line with what you might expect after a six week break (advice thats good for any colleague in any year). If it’s not right, get a marker down and make sure the senior management know – if you don’t then any perceived ‘failures’ will be put down to you. Suggest that next year the Y5 teacher takes the class through and you drop down a year and do the same the year after?
If your assessments of your new charges are up to scratch, make sure you thank your colleague, praise them and get them a box of chocs or a bottle of something nice – they have taken part in the heavy lifting…