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 Post subject: Constant testing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:59 am
Posts: 429
Location: N London
My DD (year 9) seems to have constant tests. The week before half term, last week and part of this week she has had mid year and end of module tests. There will be more end of module tests at the end of term. The amount of testing at her school seems to be more than at DS's (year eight) school. On the plus side her level of anxiety about tests has plummeted (year 7 was tricky) and she always does well, but on the negative side the constant testing seems to suck the joy out of learning for her.
Is this just par for the course for some schools, or should I be concerned?


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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:45 pm
Posts: 1488
It's the same for my DS - a test at the end of each topic, with some impromptu tests half-way through longer modules. A full-on week of exams at the end of the school year. Re-tests in some subjects for those who did not score high enough. By the time they get to GCSEs, they are so used to being tested, it takes a lot of exam anxiety away. I guess, that's one of the reasons they keep testing them.

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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2354
It's also a way of checking that each pupil has grasped the material. The point of re-tests should be to make sure material that needs to be memorised has been but in the case of any lack of understanding the teacher should be going over the work either with the class or a small group or individually.
If the pupils can look on the testing as a way the teacher checks they are doing OK and helps them if they are not then it might be less stressful.
These test scores might impact school report grades but in the wider scheme of things they aren't important. Their value is as a 'tool' not as an end in themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:58 pm
Posts: 382
Continuous testing has really helped my daughter. It makes sure that she consolidates each subject and it has reduced her test anxiety considerably. I wish her primary school had done it.


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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:47 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6685
Location: Herts
It gives you the parent, the school and the student the data required to make sure she is on track. You really would not want to find out just before GCSE's that there is any major area of weakness.

It also makes the exam format seem normal and less worrying DG


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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:04 pm
Posts: 720
Dd (year 8 ) seems to have a fair amount of testing:
End of each topic for maths (which is approx 4 weekly) plus 1/2 year and end of year.
Fairly regular tests in MFLs, but mainly on vocab but bigger 1/2 year and end of year tests.
1/2 year and end of year in Science.
Termly in English.
Random in other subjects but seems around twice a year.

I have noticed that the stress levels seem to be decreasing about exams and it definitely lets her (and us) know that she is doing ok.


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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5922
It is an English national obsession which has sadly taken over from any kind of normative principles underlying education. It provides reassurance for those who want to measure that some kind of 'progress' is being made. It is now an unchallengeable 'truth' that children must make linear steps forward and these must be correlated with some kind of established scale. If such progress is deemed not to be fast enough then someone can be blamed - most often the teacher, sometimes the school, never the child.

The replies you have had already show you that many parents believe it to be useful, if not essential, in consolidating learning. This isn't actually based on any proper pedagogy and for every child who finds testing really excellent fun and the best way to learn, there will be at least one more who finds it at best unhelpful and at worst horribly stressful. Often this is linked with success in tests - children who do well love tests and those who do less well tend to like them less.

I continue to learn every day and happily do not have to endure tests or exams now - being constantly pitted and measured against others is something I intensely dislike and it isn't 'part of life' unless we make it so. The constant testing culture in England has been cited in several international studies of child happiness as one of the main reasons for misery among young English children. While all cultures do test children, in many this tends to be infrequent and formative (teacher-led, informal) - here in England we go hook, line and sinker for high stakes summative testing as often as we can get away with it.

For an introduction to an alternative view try this (or anything else) by the internationally renowned education philosopher Professor Gert Biesta:


http://link.springer.com/article/10.100 ... -9#/page-1


Last edited by Amber on Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
"You don't fatten a pig by weighing it" - fewer tests is the way to go.

There are many ways of finding out what students know and can do without testing them - frequent tests are an incredible waste of teaching time and time for students to explore and learn.

Yes - ultimately they need to sit paper tests for GCSE/A level but many unis increasingly use coursework assignments.


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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:59 am
Posts: 155
Location: West Midlands
Hi

Quote:
"You don't fatten a pig by weighing it" - fewer tests is the way to go.
:)

I can see the point of testing for the sake of exam-conditions-preparedness, but it surely detracts from teaching time?
Isn't homework mostly enough to gauge a child's absorption?
Also, are they expected to have revised for all these tests??


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 Post subject: Re: Constant testing
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:59 am
Posts: 429
Location: N London
Thanks everyone. It seems that the amount of testing at DD's school is not unusual then but I still don't think it's particularly desirable - thanks Amber and Guest55, you have given me some confidence in my own instincts.
I agree that some information to show DC are on track is reassuring, but I have more than enough info and no concerns ATM in that regard. I'm more concerned that she retains her enthusiasm for learning and school. Your child and their reaction colours your view hugely I guess, unless you are a teacher. However my DS has less testing and is a less conscientious child who might make a better case for continuous assessment, but actually I think that could turn him off education altogether!
I think I will have to speak to the school and see where they are coming from, if no one voices concerns then it's much easier for them to carry on down this well trodden path. Sounds like I may be trying to move mountains however!


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