The government’s overhaul of primary-school assessments has turned into a shambles, according to the teachers who will have to carry them out from next month, with complaints that seven- and 11-year-old pupils find the new standards too hard and too confusing.
The new spelling, punctuation and grammar tests came in for particular attack from those who responded to the National Union of Teachers’ request for comment, with 86% of those saying that the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, should cancel this summer’s assessments.
More than 5,000 primary-school teachers in England responded to an NUT request for their opinion, and virtually all agreed that the new assessment levels were inappropriate for the pupils, given their age, and was likely to brand many as failures.
More than 90% of teachers at key stage 1 and key stage 2 said much of the material in the new spelling, punctuation and grammar tests – nicknamed Spag – was too advanced or inappropriate for the age groups being tested.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said many adults would struggle to answer the demands of the new assessments.
“I can tell you that quite a lot of people who ply their trade by writing in English are incapable of getting 100% on the key stage 2 Spag test,” Blower said.
One teacher told the NUT survey: “The terminology for Spag is a constant cause of stress for children who find it all confusing. They are feeling like failures because they can’t remember the four different types of nouns, or they are confused by the fact that some things can have several different terms.”
Another said: “As a year 1 teacher, I am finding myself teaching complicated whole-class grammar in order to prepare them for next year when some of my children still can’t write their names. It’s setting the majority up for failure, no matter how much you prepare them.”Nothing promotes educational excellence everywhere like setting kids up to hate school and to think of themselves as failures from an early age.
Why is it every government feels it has the God given right to interfere in Education?
Here's a crazy idea. Why not give teachers a bit more freedom and independence to make their own decisions, based on professional experience and with promoting excellence, critical thinking and enthusiasm in their students?
If the Conservatives think the chicken killing and pig slaying industries are competent to regulate themselves, why can't education?