The test fetish

November 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment

Whilst I was still at university, I carried out research into the effects of testing in primary schools, and came out of it with the rather unpragmatic belief that all standardised examinations should be abolished. We’re still a long way from that ever happening, but the recent termination of SATS for 14-year-olds should still be seen as a progressive step away from testing our kids into form-filling oblivion. Here, The New Statesman carries an article by a teacher of nearly 20 years experience, explaining the damage this fetish does to children’s education:

The Sats have not only led to a marked decline in standards, they have broken children’s zeal for learning. They have alienated pupils, teachers and parents alike without making schools properly accountable. The root of the problem is this: the Sats have made children better at passing abstruse exams but in so doing have bludgeoned out all enthusiasm for learning, leaving them lacking in initiative, floundering when confronted with unexpected challenges, unable to construct sustained arguments and powerless to think imaginatively. At a stage in their education when pupils could be reading great literature in English, exploring the wonder of numbers in maths, understanding the forces of the universe in science, they have instead been plodding through tedious practice papers and learning the wording of the relevant mark schemes. They have not been educated; they have been trained simply to jump through the hoops of the exams.

More here.


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