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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 9:37 am 
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Location: S East
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8036755.stm

There goes the 11 Sats Science Test.

Last year saw the abolition of all Sats at 14, with a pledge that the primary Sats would remain. Now the 11 year old Sats for Science will be abolished because it is not in tune with children's natural curiosity at that age. Stay tuned for the abolition of the maths Sats on the gounds that it runs contrary to DC's desire to play video games. :roll:

Who benefits from this:
1. The Government. No more having to justify why so many schools and so many children fail to meet rather basic standards.
2. The Teachers. Their representative organisations (or at least some of them) talk about how they are constrained by "teaching to the test". Er....so they have have to teach the syllabus. Is there a pent-up demand to teach genetics or the combustion engine or other topics outside the syllabus to 11 year olds which can now be met with the abolition of the Sats? Does anybody seriously believe that creative learning will now bloom, in Dead Poets Society fashion? No, freed of their shackles, unconstrained by pesky results showing that the many children have not learned the dread syllabus, the teachers will teach..........less.
3. Private schools. Some parents may not feel that having a report three times a year on a standardised form saying that DC does not meet/meets/exceeds (delete as applicable) normalised standards, is insufficient feedback year after year. Others may consider that a lack of exam experience until age 16 is a disadvantage. This will drive some parents out of the State system, and will also have the effect of continuing trend of a widening gap between the results of the Indie and State sectors.

_________________
Exams are formidable for the best prepared. The greatest fool may ask what the wisest man cannot answer.


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 10:14 am 
I wish the government would leave teachers alone to get on with their jobs. Initiative after initiative has just eroded standards in state schools, given teachers higher workloads and qualifications cannot be measured as the process of getting an A or the content needed to get and A changes all the time! :roll:


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 11:16 am 
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I can understand the feelings of those dismayed at the possible abolition of SATS but I would ask that they consider what they are like for the children.

I see my grand-daughter four days after school, and every day it's something like 'Oh Gran, I'm so bored! I hate school now, and I used to love it! All we do is SATS, SATS, SATS, every day, and everything we do is about it. Was it like this in the old days?' (! as in, 1956!)

She worries all the time about whether she will get her predicted three Level 5a, and of course we worry too. It's bittersweet for her parents and for me - if she does get what she's predicted, that will show that she really ought to be going to Grammar School. She can't wait to start secondary '...because then I'll be learning new things, not just going over the same stuff again and again and again.'


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 11:45 am 
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Location: Wales
I don't know what the answer is!

The more I think about education, the more I just go round in circles.

Here in Wales there are no grammar schools so all children go to state comprehensives irrespective of any test result unless they are going the independent route. There are no SATS, just teacher assessments (based on SATS) which DS has been doing this week. The children haven't got a clue about levels let alone whether it will be a 5a or 5b, even though they will be allocated a level after the assessments. No pressure at all.

Is this the answer? No, I don't think so! the results are sent to the high schools and are used "along with other methods" to stream the children in year 8 for maths and year 9 for other subjects. A poor teacher assessment in year 6 could have serious consequences! When someone discovers this and their child is in a low stream they are naturally annoyed that it was kept so low key (and low pressure) in year 6 claiming that had they / their children known how important it was they would have worked harder, gone to bed earlier the night before, practised spelling / reading, got some tutoring? etc etc

So, we are back to people with aspirations wanting to do the best educationally for their children. People who don't want their children wallowing (accidentally?) in low sets and want their children to be stretched support the concept of grammar / selective schools where possible. How should these children be selected if not by testing then? Teacher assessment? If my child had a low teacher assessment I would be asking for proof! Back to tests again!

I support the idea of getting rid of SATS because teachers should be teaching not doing paperwork in order to prove they are meeting targets. They should be supporting individuals to learn to their potential not aiming for everyone to meet the average level expected. However, I do feel that a certain degree of testing at this age is unavoidable - without it just opens up more cans of worms.


:?


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 12:37 pm 
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Brilliant post, First Time Buyer!
The SATs were only brought in in the first place because the teachers were not even teaching to the low standard demanded by the Sats!
But one should also remember the pernicious effect of performance related pay for teachers. I strongly suspect that many children are given artificially low levels or expected levels in order that the teacher can demonstrate how their marvellous input "improved" the child's performance over the year!!


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
magwich2 wrote:
Brilliant post, First Time Buyer!
The SATs were only brought in in the first place because the teachers were not even teaching to the low standard demanded by the Sats!
But one should also remember the pernicious effect of performance related pay for teachers. I strongly suspect that many children are given artificially low levels or expected levels in order that the teacher can demonstrate how their marvellous input "improved" the child's performance over the year!!


where is your evidence , other than anecdotal, to support this statement?

I am all for testing, assessment is a very important part of teaching, how else can you find out the starting point and whether or not teaching has been effective? I am not sure about the use to which the SATs are put however.


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 3:29 pm 
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Location: Warwickshire.
Teacher bashing again? Yawn...


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 6:38 pm 
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Magwich2 - I find your post offensive and ill-informed.

Most of us are on this forum to support each other -


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 6:56 pm 
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a little off topic but

I am at times unclear how you measure excellent teaching. My DD Yr 1 is painfully shy and to read out loud , participate in a play , have the confidence to put her hand up to say she knew the answer or did not understand was tbh beyond her when she started school. If for some reason a supply teacher was needed then my dd would not speak even to say her name.
Imagine my joy when she got up this term on stage to play her recorder in front of an audience.
To me the fact that they have had the ability to coax her out off her shell and improve her self confidence is excellent teaching.


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 7:42 pm 
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Hi,
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 :D


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