Testing for primary pupils at 5 and ranking at 11 - what do you think?

(233 Posts)
SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Jul-13 10:26:40

The Deputy PM Nick Clegg has today unveiled a set of proposals around testing for primary school children.

Under the proposals, pupils aged 11 - who are already tested under the SATs - will be divided by their results into "ability bands" of 10%, and that information will be shared with parents, so that they can see how their children rank nationally.

Clegg also announced that he'll be launching a consultation on whether or not to bring in a "baseline" test at the start of the Reception year in order to establish where children are, and whether they need additional support.

However, teachers' unions have already raised objections to the proposals, with the leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, Russell Hobby, saying that "The vast majority of teachers are unhappy with the need to rank students."

What do you reckon? Does more testing - and more grading around the results - benefit children (and schools)? Or do we risk a return to the days of labelling children as successes and failures before they've hit their teens?

BornToFolk Wed 17-Jul-13 14:56:43

TEACH the children, let the teachers TEACH and STOP TESTING.

This. Stop all the testing, let the teachers teach and the children learn.

Children are already assessed on their progress. Reception children do not need formal testing and banding yr6s is a disgrace.

How is any of this supposed to raise standards?

Claudiecat Wed 17-Jul-13 15:13:56

Once again it proves the point that the government has no idea what is going on in schools.

Arcticspill Wed 17-Jul-13 15:31:29

Are we going to be trying to test ability or achievement? Because they aren't the same thing. And what for? It adds pressure to the top half and is de motivating for the bottom half

merrymouse Wed 17-Jul-13 15:38:06

Just why?

We already have tests

How are these any better/different?

Where on earth would they find the money to implement this?

CorrieDale Wed 17-Jul-13 15:47:25

Minifingers I like your style. Do you know, I really hadn't thought of just opting out!

wintersdawn Wed 17-Jul-13 15:49:05

it's an awful idea made by people with no concept of reality. I had such hopes for this government when they first got in and all they seem to do is fail at every turn.
I truly dread what education my two will receive when they start in the coming years. home schooling is sounding more and more interesting.

I think you'll just find a lot of 10/11 year old children have the flu during the tests. I certainly won't be sending DS2 to be ranked. And I wouldn't care if they fined me either.

It's an unbelievably terrible idea.

Pozzled Wed 17-Jul-13 16:03:39

If they try and bring this in, I think Mumsnet should organise a mass boycott- children all over the country should have 'flu' during the whole of SATs week.

Teachers can strike over tests, why shouldn't children and parents?

grin

georgedawes Wed 17-Jul-13 16:08:39

Awful idea and I think if they do try and introduce it a mumsnet campaign against it would be much welcomed.

Worriedmind Wed 17-Jul-13 16:14:57

I am concerned and baffled by its objectives.

Clegg said on the news that it was to help the 40% of children in each class that left primary not ready to learn, mix with others or behave at secondary school.

How will ranking 11 years olds at the later end of the year when they are about to leave help with that?

I also do not like his insinuation that low achievement equals bad behaviour. From my experience in schools some of the worst behaved would have been in the top 10.

The current testing already tells me that my child is underachieving because she has learning difficulties.

I worry this kind of testing will allow schools to pick and chose or write off pupils based on ranking.

I also worry that prejudgement of a child being non academic at 11 is very early. For some children it just clicks later. My father did terribly at primary but at secondary he found teaching methods that suited him and came out top of the school.

BalloonSlayer Wed 17-Jul-13 16:18:39

Not sure I like the sound of this but other countries do similar things.

In Australia when they do the HSC (like our A levels - ok yes I know these children are much older) the results are totally to do with where you are compared to everyone else. There are no standalone marks - just your ranking. So if you get 80 for your HSC, then 79% of people did worse than you, and 20% of people did better than you. To get into a University, each year the boundary is moved. It doesn't seem to bother anyone, it's just how it is.

Morebiscuitsplease Wed 17-Jul-13 16:19:00

Hear hear GeorgeDawes. How does this help children? I really can't see how it can? As a parent I don't care how other children are doing I care about mine. I would be dead against my child being given such scores. More data does not raise standards, good teaching and more resources. Am seriously appalled by this idea. [ angry ]

Worriedmind Wed 17-Jul-13 16:20:21

Would definitely back a campaign.

School already know my child's strength and weaknesses.
She already has very low self esteem from the frustration of being verbally bright but her sen stopping her transferring this to paper. The other children know and share their scores already.

But my biggest concern is a secondary school receiving a child at 11 in the bottom 10%. Is that going to encourage them to push that child harder or will it simply be seen as a lost cause.

MrsVamos Wed 17-Jul-13 16:40:40

Bloody ridiculous.

Children are not robots, nor should they begin their lives as statistics or as numbers in statistics.

The more I hear about what's happening in education, the more happier I feel that I took mine out of school. And all the people who looked down their noses at me, and told me I was mad, now tell me how right I was.

What I actually want to know is how my son is actually doing in relation to himself. Is he 'achieving his potential' (a vomitous phrase if there ever was one)? How does he learn and what could help him to learn more effectively? That sort of thing.

It doesn't matter if he's the brightest child in the country, on the 47th percentile or the 3rd percentile. I don't actually care about how he's doing in relation to everyone else's children (or even in relation to 'national expectations' as they do it now). He is a person and my child and I care about whether he is doing as well as he can. Nothing more. I'd imagine many parents think similarly.

I think the government have looked over at Japan and thought, 'oh let's see if we can stress our children out as much as that'.

Worriedmind Wed 17-Jul-13 16:44:53

When is this meant to be coming in by the way?

EauRouge Wed 17-Jul-13 16:51:08

The more I hear about changes like this, the more certain I am that we made the right decision to home educate.

tabbycat7 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:57:36

I think maybe a lot of politicians went to schools where children were ranked and their parents cared about wherr they were in relation to everyone else, so they've decided that us ordinary folk care too <sceptical >

Worriedmind Wed 17-Jul-13 16:57:59

Its making me seriously consider InterHigh tbh,

vess Wed 17-Jul-13 17:40:33

Waste of time and money IMO. It's only a proposal and, chances are, it probably won't get anywhere.

Educational success has a lot more to do with motivation and hard work than with 'ability bands'.

prettybird Wed 17-Jul-13 18:06:02

With Gove's mathematical prowess, I am sure he'll be expecting all pupils to be ranked in the top 50% and will penalise those schools that fail to achieve this. hmmconfused

domesticslattern Wed 17-Jul-13 18:21:38

Tabbycat you are so right. I hadn't thought of that. Every report from my brother's posh public school listed his position in the class for each subject. (Usually near the bottom but we won't go into that!). You are right that politicians are digging into their (limited) experience of schools.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 17-Jul-13 18:26:54

Haven't schools always done this.
I'm an old nut but can remember being tested during infants, end of infants going into junior and end of junior to go to secondary. Then we had tests at end of y3 which is now y9 before O'levels.
They just didn't have fancy names, Ofsted criteria, and stressed out teachers, parents and kids.
It's not the testing its the circus that surrounds it thats the problem.

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 17-Jul-13 18:30:02

With Gove's mathematical prowess, I am sure he'll be expecting all pupils to be ranked in the top 50% and will penalise those schools that fail to achieve this.

This. grin

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 17-Jul-13 18:30:50

OK it's not funny. It's very scary. Have we got a scared emoticon?

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