Tuesday, 19 August 2008

SATs marking

I've been following the debacle of SATs marking - both through the newspapers and though the TES forums. The latter give a real flavour of the frustrations of markers who couldn't get through to the "no-help"line (as they term it!), couldn't get scripts delivered or collected, were constantly contacted about scripts which had already been returned, had boxes of scripts with papers missing (which barred them from marking any of the scripts because a whole school's scripts for each subject had to be marked by one marker), couldn't enter marks online, couldn't use the "benchmarking" software online... the list goes one.

So I gave a little squeal of delight last week when I saw that the Government has (finally) agreed with ETS, the company responsible for the marking of SATs this year, to end their contract.

Now if only the spotlight could turn on how unhelpful the entire SATs process is to pupils. We spend so much time teaching to the tests, enabling pupils to perform well in them. What a waste! 11 and 14 year olds shouldn't have their learning time dominated by this exercise, nor feel under such pressure to achieve. Increasingly schools are judged and measured solely on their SATs results. This isn't right. Time to ditch the SATs altogether, I think.

I know - it's not going to happen!


MMP said...

all it will take, is for ONE govt. minister to sit in with a group of low achieving children.

For that ONE govt minister to have to stay there, for the alloted time and watch the faces.

It Would Change

Disillusioned said...

Absolutely. The impact on some of our students of being put into a situation where they will be shown to have "failed" is massive - and massively negative.

Similarly negative is the effect on very able children who cannot be stretched because teachers have to drum in the all important "level 4" stuff. The best teacher in the world can't do that AND the level 5 stuff AND stretch those who are already at level 5.

But above all, this SATS stuff is so boring to do day after day after day.

I'd like to see the people who are setting these unrealistic targets to be given a class (or even to sit in with a class) for the whole of Year 6 and see what it is like to try to meet those targets. That might change things.