I was a secondary school English teacher for several years but once my family grew beyond two DC , I switched to Adult Ed.Like many teachers, I have lots of friends teaching in various key stages. I marked SATS for several years but resigned last year , like many others, due to the shambles of the new marking company ETS. ( But that is a longer story)
I am not against SATS at the end of KS2 ( age 11) I think that after being in school since 4 ,children's standards should be able to withstand outside scrutiny.I actually think external marking is better in this instance.I am afraid I do know of teachers who would slightly inflate results to prove value added.I also think that the standardisation during the marking process that goes on ,at least in English, (last year aside), is a good method of ensuring consistency in measuring standards.In previous years my marking and all markers sent off sample marking to supervisors , who sent marking to their team leader and so on upwards to the chief marker. The writing papers are difficult to mark without this regulation.It was the case, until last year, that all markers needed degree level in their subject.
All of that said, to my mind , the problem with SATS was what was done with the results. Crude league tables simply showing how many level 4s a school has are valueless.
To illustrate this I will draw on my own family's experience.Before we moved for my husband's job, two years ago, my children were at a " high performing", named as "the best of the best" by OFSTED blah blah type of school.Nearly all the parents were degree level educated, most children tutored or" Kumoned" etc etc.Is it any wonder they performed well in terms of league tables? They should be getting all 4s and above.Anyone with a child with a SEN statement avoided the school.
Now we are in a school with a very "mixed catchment".The parents and the children come to reception with a variety of experiences and needs.There is an above average amount of children with special needs.
How can the success of both these schools be measured only by the amount of Level 4 + achieved.Yes, there are charts with value added but these are not the tables printed in the local papers.
The result is that schools that are "high performing" feel under pressure to maintain their league position and practice, practice, practice AND PRACTICE FOR SATS for most of year 6.The schools that sit at the bottom of the tables never get their success recognised.
There is nothing wrong with testing at the end of KS2 by an external body.What is wrong is the poor and crude formulation of these results into published tables, which puts schools and thereby children under pressure.
As a parent I find the placing of my child's results alongside national standards a helpful measure.As a teacher I find the publication of these reslts in their current form counter productive.
That's my little rant for tonight folks