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Failing QTS tests

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by lucyharg92, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. I have a question:

    If I quit my PGCE and then later in the year want to do it with a different University...does that mean I have to pass my QTS skills test again? as I have already passed them.
  2. I would think VERY carefully before doing this. I'm not sure about the skills tests, however, because you would be reapplying for the 2013/14 cohort you would have to have passed them before enrolment, so I'm not sure how that would work as you are already enrolled on a PGCE. Secondly, universities and training providers want to know why you dropped out. I remember on some of my applications last year you had to declare whether you had ever previously enrolled on any form of ITT. If you had and dropped out you had to produce 'reasonable evidence' as to why. It's not a great situation for you, I imagine, if you're thinking of dropping out, but really way up the pros and cons.
  3. Paul, what concerns me about many of your posts in this discussion is your lack of respect for the diversity of others and the fact a large number of people (myself included) have an apprehension about maths. Yes you raise a couple of good points about it being necessary for teachers to have an understanding of the things the QTS skills tests are trying to test an individual on and I get that. What I don't get is your inability to appreciate that some people just struggle with maths (for whatever reason) and you seem to blacklist them and pretty much say they won't make good teachers. What a complete and utter lack of respect for dignity and diversity!!! I hope you don't exercise such beliefs in the classrooms you teach in. In my mind, that would make you a far worse teacher than the person(s) who may struggle with maths and I have serious concerns about the outcome of pupils under your tuition!!! More so than the teachers out there (and there are no doubt many) who don't quite get box and whisker charts. Or perhaps you teach in a single sex private school where perhaps diversity issues aren't so much of an issue.
  4. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    I don't normally look at any threads about the Skills tests anymore because PaulDG's posts have been winding me up for months now. Its funny because in other threads I think he speaks a considerable amount of sense so its nothing against the user, I just have 'beef' with his views on this topic.
    Just don't read the threads!! Fact is, I have nothing against the existence of the tests, especially for primary teachers. But I don't see how as a history teacher I need to know how to do the arithmetic in 18 seconds. Its supposed to be a C grade at GCSE but I definitely wouldn't be able to do the sums that quickly in an exam. In 'real life' I'd just use a bloody calculator and be done with it!
    I wish I wasn't so darn busy and I could practice more :-(
  5. Because you could end up working in a secondary school like mine where as part of a drive on numeracy, we are all delivering numeracy as part of an extended tutor time, which is all non calculator.
  6. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    Well mate I still would take longer than 18 seconds. Soz! And if the school some how 'made' me (although could they police every tutor time?) it wouldn't be the school for me!
  7. portandlemon

    portandlemon New commenter

    Starbabycat-I just wanted to point something out (in a little bit of support for PaulDG's posts) is that numeracy and literacy is vitally important in teachers and I know you will be writing reports in the future and will want to use the correct spellings. So please, do not use the spelling "practice" when referring to the verb. You should be spelling it "practise" and if you were to write a report for a child saying they need to "practise", it is important to spell it correctly. So it seems, these tests do have value as it shows people going into teaching often do not have basic spelling and numeracy skills.
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  8. Starbabycat, I was just giving an example in secondary where you might need mental maths as a non maths teacher. Yes numeracy in our extended tutor time is checked, if you are directed to do an activity you have to do it, that's teaching! I'm not saying I agree with it, but just saying why you might need mental maths. I've downloaded an app on my phone to make mine sharper, so can practise on the go so to speak. As a secondary teacher you can be directed to teach anything the head wants; you are not employed as a subject specialist. In the past despite being music, I have had to teach PSHE, IT, English and Drama although not all in the same year!
  9. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Whatever view one holds about the skills tests, the above post is laughable.
  10. padjo

    padjo New commenter

    Just wanted to give a piece of personal feedback on the QTS tests, mainly because I have just taken them today. I'm doing a PGCE Primary course and many of us have had some worries about the tests, but I think everyone accepts that there is a bare minimum level of numeracy and literacy skill that you have to bring to the classroom (and the QTS tests represent that minimum level)

    The point I wanted to make is that if we expect children to learn things that we teach them - and which they may initially find difficult - we have to be prepared to learn new things ourselves. I was a bit rusty with maths when I did the interview last Spring, but read a QTS support book through the summer before the course started in September By the time we started I felt much happier about maths and was even finding it interesting (which was new to me).

    So instead of seeing the necessary refreshment of our skills as an imposition or as drudgery, why not entertain the possibility that you will enjoy getting better at maths (or English, if that is your weaker area)?

    If we want the children in our classes to be willing learners - even of things for which that they cannot immediately see the relevance - then it's probably good to be willing learners ourselves.

    PS - I took my Maths GCE in 1975, so am studying it again after a gap of 37 years...
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  11. Well done you! A gap of 37 years makes my 5 year gap seem insignificant! :) I'm taking my skills tests in April this year. Not dreading it at all as I'm putting the work in with some QTS support books too. In my 2nd year of a 3 year course, I do believe if you can't pass them the first 3 times, a 2 year ban is pretty generous.
    As with everything in life, you have to work for it. Unless someone makes you a nice cuppa!
    alexandrawest55 likes this.
  12. When we learn maths through primary school, secondary school and beyond in some cases, we learn to do things quicker and automatically using tips and tricks. When we come to actually teach maths, especially in lower primary, all of a sudden we have to 'unpick' the maths that we have learned and almost 're-teach' ourselves the steps that we learned when we were in lower primary. Sometimes you have to pay close attention to how you actually do mental calculations.

    Yes, being able to actually do mental maths quickly is very important, but to me what is equally important is knowing how you get there. The Numeracy tests simply test you on how quick you are at applying those strategies - I think this comes with practise and experience. If you are too slow at the tests, then I think this can and will be improved over time with practice. If you actually don't know how to work something out, then you have some work to do and you can't and shouldn't go into a classroom until you know the strategies to 'work something out.'

    I can add up decimals up to two places very easily in my head and very quickly. But actually I need to slow it down in order to tell a group of Y6 how to do it themselves. This is why I'm on the fence regarding the tests; yes there is a place for them but some people get extremely antsy with people who don't pass them first time when really there is far more to being good at teaching maths than being able to pass a test first time.
  13. Just wanted to say i failed numeracy by 1 mark does that mean i am imcompetent to teach ks1 ? No i dont think so! My teaching has been graded outstanding on many occasions so i really appreciate what you are saying ! Im thinking of teaching in the private sector nsybe less judgemental.
  14. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Yes. For now, anyway.

    Then it would be a shame to lose you simply because you can't be bothered to do what you will be extorting the kids in your care to do - to apply themselves at something they find difficult and overcome it.

    Differently judgemental. If you honestly think parents will pay £10,000 a year or more to have their kids taught by people who can't pass a basic maths test, then you need a reality check.

    Not passing first time is not the issue. The issue is: learning from your mistakes and learning how to correct them.
  15. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Actually, it sounds like you think the tests should be harder - that they should involve some element of demonstrating the candidate can "unpick" a problem so that it can be understood by others and then solve it...

    Few on here are bothered about "first time". Actually, yes, anyone going into teaching should be able to pass first time (because they should either already be at this very basic standard or should have put in the work to get there before taking the test), but there can always be mistakes on the day.

    First time isn't what usually comes up here though - what usually comes up is the, yes, pathetic bleating of those who "really, really, really" want to be teachers (they sound like X factor contestants, don't they), but who can't be bothered to do the work to pass the test (sounding more and more like X factor contestants...), and the reaction to that bleating.

    Look, the tests are a requirement. And yes, absolutely, they shouldn't be a requirement because, frankly, no one planning to teach in England should have numeracy and literacy standards that are so low they could ever fail these tests - but, fact is, there is a failure rate so, yes, the tests are ridiculous because they're so easy, but...
  16. rach1968

    rach1968 New commenter

    Well, the old QTS test debate is alive and well I see. I'm afraid I am with others on this thread, the tests ARE simple.We should all be able to pass these tests with 3 attempts, there's absolutely no value in them if people are able to take 50 or more attempts at doing them - the laws of probability would surely say ANYONE could pass them after that! I gained GCEs back in the old days of 1984. I then had a career outside of teaching, with no degree, until 2005. Deciding I wanted to prove myself I went to Uni, gained a degree in Education and English and decided to become a teacher. I took the tests right at the beginning of my PGCE and passed all 3 (yes, there were 3 then) first time. I simply revised some of the maths I was rusty at (most of it [​IMG] ).
    In a primary school you will need to be quick witted, we teach ours mental maths skills and how to be speedy at working them out - to do so you must have that sharpness of brain. It doesn't matter whether you are destined for ks1 or 2 or even Secondary, the skills transfer into other areas - being able to think quickly on your feet when you have to change a lesson in a split second. The English test is basically comprehension, an important life skill anyway - understanding what you have read and some of the deeper (unsaid) meanings behind it. Go away and practise if you feel nervous, do the sample tests online and improve yourself by going on Revisewise or any of the other great sites on the internet. Go in feeling confident once you have done so, it won't be wasted.
  17. primenumbers

    primenumbers New commenter

    It is laughable some of the excuses people are using for the Maths test. At least for that you can practise and get better.
    English is not my first language so I was dreading the English test. What would you suggest I should have done? Learn the English dictionary?
    I actually had to learn the spelling of quite a few words in order to pass the test first time. Words that I never use in my teaching career so far. But it is not an excuse so I do not have to do it.
  18. bigpig

    bigpig New commenter

    Well done primenumbers - you passed first time and English isn't your first language. Those with English as their first language should learn from you when they complain about the tests.
  19. In the time you've spent moaning about it you could have learned all the necessary skills to pass the test. Its basic Maths,and as someone who hates Maths, even I could train myself to answer the questions in the time limit. At 63% pass rate it doesn't even matter if you balls up 2/5. See I just changed a percentage into a fraction. Simple.
  20. What a shame that the literacy test is actually incorrect and narrow minded in so many places. Running through the 'practise' test just now for 'literacy punctuation' I could pick up far, far more errors than the system wanted! The 'Practise/Practice' debate being the least of our problems, I was also marked down for including an Oxford comma where I thought there should be one, and thought that the style, and occasionally grammar, of the writing throughout (including in the instructions) was messy and poor. I took out brackets and replaced them with commas, so as to make sentences less messy and casual - something I remember my own english teacher at school fiercely drilling into us whenever possible, and was equally marked down for this.
    Before applying to become an english teacher I was an online content editor for a language training website, if any of those questions had come to me whilst in that job they would have been sent away immediately for re-assesment.
    It's all very well to require basic standards for QTS, but at least provide trainee teachers with exams actually worthy of taking!

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