Memorandum submitted by Purbrook Junior School, Waterlooville
Comments on End of Key Stage 2 Tests
1. End of Key Stage 2 Tests place unnecessary pressure on children
2. It would be useful to find out what the pupils do know, rather than the feeling that the tests are trying to trick them and find out what they don't know. Rules are harsh and sometimes not helpful for children of this age.
3. Wording in tests is not helpful as questions are often lengthy and are a test of comprehension skills rather than maths skills etc.
4. Trial and error questions for one mark are very time consuming and children waste precious time on these questions.
5. The tests provide a snapshot of pupils' knowledge on that particular day.
6. We feel that the test writers are looking at ways to change the format and style of questions to "catch teachers out". Questions tend to be more obscure and irrelevant instead of children being able to apply their knowledge to real life and relevant questions.
7. Issues with the test time restraints- some children are slow writers/thinkers and should be given more time at this stage and age. Not long test time enough generally in English and maths tests for children to complete the papers. Is this fair? Are we measuring/ testing what they know or how much they can complete in a set time?
8. Too much emphasis on one school "test" week for all concerned. Too much pressure on the children at this young age with parents treating it more like GCSEs.
9. School performance is judged mainly on this one week. So much school data is derived and extrapolated from these results (Raise-on -line, league tables etc)
10. The tests do not provide assessment for learning information as any key Stage2 analysis is generally only truly relevant for that particular cohort and not the next one. Therefore it has little benefit for the children who have sat them that year. This information is generally not used by secondary schools.
11. We feel the tests are destructive and are not accurately effective in measuring schools and holding them truly accountable for their broader results. The test results create a negative ethos throughout the school/community. For example competition between schools
12. What is the purpose of the tests? Are they just a means to group children at secondary school or for the government to categorise schools? Is this fair on the children?
13. Schools are geared towards the tests and therefore the broad curriculum especially in year six suffers. Children with different learning styles are missing out on key areas of the curriculum where they may have more success. Are we as a society creating literate and numerate philistines?
14. Levels achieved by the children reflect on particular individual teachers Is this fair? All children/groups /cohorts are different and may be poorer than others.
15. Why are children in England subjected to these tests when children in Wales and Scotland are exempt? Has any research been undertaken to investigate whether standards in Wales and Scotland have suffered?
16. Bureaucracy and exam procedures are too extreme for eleven year old children sitting KS2 tests.
17. In junior schools in particular, potential value -added progress is truncated due to "boosted" (hot-housing) key stage one results. This data has, it can be argued, led to a situation where more junior schools are being subject to special measures and serious weaknesses when compared with infant and all-through primary schools. (Ofsted data, 2005 -06)
18. It feels to us that schools are not trusted to use common sense, professionalism and their own discretion when carrying out the tests.