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!