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‘Sats are simply inhumane and it’s time to scrap them’

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, May 10, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    The controversial tests in primary schools are leading to an epidemic in mental health issues and one headteacher believes that it is time to put an end to this type of high stakes assessment as soon as possible:

    ‘For the past few months, many, many pupils would have been subjected to a regime of near-endless revision exercises. They would have had a reduced curriculum that served up a diet focused exclusively on English and maths.

    Many pupils will also have been subject to the obligatory “booster groups”.

    Is it any wonder that more than 80 per cent of our school leaders recognise that Sats lead to an increase in the mental health issues of our pupils.

    To what end? League tables, of course. But other than that, secondaries use little of the data, and often question the validity of the scores altogether as they are used to judge them in their Progress 8 scores five years down the line.

    Even if the children do well, the tests are made harder the following year instead of expressing congratulations to both the children and their teachers.

    This is simply not humane.’

    Colin Harris has led a school in a deprived area of Portsmouth for more than two decades. His last two Ofsted reports were "outstanding" across all categories

    What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree with Colin Harris, are Sats inhumane? Should we scrap Sats? If these tests are scrapped would the government merely replace one set of assessments for another? Do we really need to test children in Year 6? What effects do these tests have on your pupils, on you, and your colleagues? Is it right that schools are held to account for their performance?

  2. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    SATs produce non-comparable data as set out by Prof Becky Allen who numbers Gibb et al amongst her fans. They have become a tool through which the government can control the curriculum and change what is taught and the way schools and teachers teach. The value of the assessment lies in its ability to control schools. And teachers.

    Ah, yes, post script. Nothing in it is for the children.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Instead of copying the articles into here why not allow forum members to reply to the articles?
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Everyone in education knows that SATs are despicable. Sad fact is that parents do not know enough about them to have an opinion. Parents are not aware of the drilling etc..

    Even sadder, it will take a disaster like a suicide to make politicians care enough to actually listen to teachers.
    guinnesspuss, lunarita and bonxie like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The world's gone mad. A sensible end of key stage assessment seems perfectly reasonable, giving a measure of what a child knows and can do. Tests for 11 year olds should not be "inhumane". It's not even as if they matter much for the future of the child - they'll have an effect on groupings in some secondaries.
    But we've got to a point where the outcomes are given huge significance outweighing their real importance. They'll be used by inspectors to ensure compliance, target setters for secondary schools to set targets for exams in subjects the children may not even have started yet and league table providers to assert that school X is this year's local champion.
    Mrs P earns money supporting children (or is it their teachers?) by supporting children with parents who want to have improved scores.
    Then 5 years down the line, data analysts will proclaim that the children from some primary school didn't do very well in their GCSEs so there must have been malpractice in the SATs administration.
  6. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Of course they shouldn't. If schools weren't judged on them they wouldn't be. There are other ways of judging schools and teachers. League tables are wrong and so is the publication of sats results.
    Lara mfl 05 and hammie like this.
  7. Sally006

    Sally006 Occasional commenter

    Using tests to help inform teacher assessment and to some extent to help students experience tests as a fact of life, is ok. The issue is how the data from these tests is used. League tables. The expectations of the new curriculum also need looking at. The constant drive to push for EXS or GDS is squeezing out all the enjoyment in learning. Primary school needs to be the place to encourage good positive attitudes to learning. SATs do not help in that at all. I can’t wait to see the whole thing scrapped so primaries can focus on real learning.
    catbefriender likes this.
  8. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Definitely get rid off the SPAG and completely revise the Reading Paper by using texts that can keep the students awake for the hour.

    The Maths papers have their uses in preparing students for secondary Maths.

    I have asked a lot of Maths teachers I met on a training day what use they made of the SATs grades and they said, 'Not much!' Most schools have their own baseline assessments and the SATs are just background data. These beautiful 10/11 year olds are being bored out of their minds for nothing as secondary English teachers rarely mention 'frontal adverbials and nounal phrases.'

    In short, make these tests interesting and relevant to what they will need to support their English language and literature studies, foreign language studies, creative and academic writing skills etc or better still scrap 'em.
  9. mrreast

    mrreast New commenter

    HT's and CT's have the choice to do something about this. This crops up time and time again and nothing is done by the profession. Just for the record my last school and all our year 6 teachers stuck to the boycott. We all watched while the profession flapped and flaked around us. We have ourselves to blame to some extent and we have done little to curtail SATS creep.
  10. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    SATs have had their day. No longer fit for purpose. You don't fatten a pig by constantly weighing it.
  11. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    SATs don't prepare children for very much at all - just how to 'do' more tests. They certainly don't teach them anything of any merit. It's the teaching and learning that takes place up to year six that is more valuable.
    Lara mfl 05 and MarieAnn18 like this.
  12. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    could be replaced with some far simpler online tests. Having taught both secondary and primary, the entire focus on 2 subjects (in many not all schools) for almost all of Year 6 is ridiculous and entirely caused by these tests and ofsted. 16 year olds face far more tests but as a result they actually get taught a fairly balanced curriculum to the end of their time in in secondary.
    I did teach in secondary before SATS and there were clear differences between Junior Schools that needed addressing, but this steamroller has turned what used to be the final year of a very happy time in education into a pressure cooker for many young children.
    Lara mfl 05 and MarieAnn18 like this.
  13. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    When I spoke to Maths teachers at a recent CPD event, they all agreed that their Year 7s where better prepared for the KS3 Maths than before. So I reiterate, the Maths papers have some uses, but the English Reading and SPAG, definitely not.
    cassandramark2 likes this.
  14. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    the new maths curriculum has reversed some of the changes and simplified/reduced the amount that needs to be taught. A times table test at the end of year 4 is a good idea for me, could be done online every year infact.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  15. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    It's hardly news, is it? The unions, many heads & most teachers have been saying the same thing for years.

    Whoever is in power, the government doesn't listen.

    If ALL primary schools boycotted the SATs we might get somewhere. Sadly, that won't happen - though for the life of me I can't think why. When it was last proposed (by the NUT, I think) it was rejected.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. sarawaldock

    sarawaldock New commenter

    Or in the case of my daughter (about to embark on her GCSEs next week) who is currently tracked as yellow (just below base target) for several of her subjects because on current attainment she's only predicted to get a 7 or 8...instead of the 9 based on being a Level 6 at KS2. How can a child, on for getting 7s and 8s at GCSE be considered to be underperforming?! Ridiculous :-(
    Lara mfl 05 and catbefriender like this.
  17. Josh7

    Josh7 Occasional commenter

    I think the clue is in your last sentence. You see your child as a human, living, vibrant and precious.

    To OFSTED, DfE and other powers that be she's a number that must follow a graph line. They only understand classical physics, the macro level and have no interest (or desire) to look at the highly unpredictable (quantum mechanical) level that is the reality for an individual.
  18. MadHatter1985

    MadHatter1985 New commenter

    I think the problem is how the tests are used in the U.K. rather than the tests themselves. In France, they have an end-of-primary test which is marked by the teachers and is send off to government. The results are used to make recommendations about, for example, how to modify the curriculum. Nobody really notices these tests, and they don't cause pupils, teachers or schools any stress or worry at all. (They did try to introduce a UK-style SATS test but the unions said no...)
    bevdex and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  19. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    We work with individuals - children who have many other influences beside school. On of the children in my class is having a dreadful time at home at the moment - normally, he would present as a child working at ARE. Sadly, right now, that might not be reflected in his test scores. I agree that the way in which the test scores are used to pillory schools and teachers is obscene.
    Josh7 likes this.
  20. D1p5t1ck

    D1p5t1ck New commenter

    Secondary schools test them again-my daughter reached expected standard across the board-ended up in a less able grp-why????
    ON the first of 3 induction days the school Cat Tested pupils-my daughter was so nervous about going to big school for 1st time, got lost within an hour of being there and was in no fit state to sit any test.

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