Against the proposed Y6 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Tests - your views needed!

(149 Posts)
KarenInglis Sun 16-Dec-12 19:01:11

All - please read this open letter to the Times Educational Supplement from Alan Peat about the proposed grammar, punctuation and spelling tests for Y6 children. I don't know Alan - this just happened to pass my Twitter feed. But I am glad that I read it.

My children are all grown up now but as an author and being passionate about encouraging reading and writing I think what he has to say needs a very close look.

If you agree with what he has to say please do tweet/FB etc using the hashtag he has supplied. He is clearly trying to raise the profile of his piece to ensure that it will be picked up by the TES.

Best wishes,


learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 19:16:58

Maybe I should have read Alan's rant to the end, up I gave up after two paragraphs. Primary schools aren't trying to produce Jane Fekin Austens, ffs!! They're just trying to produce adolescents who can spell and string coherent sentences together. What a waste of reading time!

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 19:22:57

Do you know what a modal verb is or a fronted adverbial learnandsay? Do you need to know if you can use them correctly in your writing hmm

ReallyTired Sun 16-Dec-12 19:24:36

I think that having a spelling grammar and punctuation test is an excellent idea. My son will be one of the guinea pigs for this new test. His class have had extra grammar lessons to help them.

Long writing will still be assessed but it will be coursework. Children will have a portitfolio of their best work. This will measure creativity in a much better way. As I understand it the assessed pieces will be produced under controlled conditons.

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 19:27:21

Not a clue, mrz. Are they harmful?

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 19:40:06

Children sitting the level 6 test will do an extended piece of writing from a set writing prompt that will dictate the purpose, audience and format for the writing. There is nothing in the guidance to indicate the conditions the teacher assessed pieces are produced under.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 19:41:09

No but 11 year pupils will be expected to know. As a matter of interest our inspector didn't know either

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 19:42:17

10 & 11 year old pupils

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 19:46:05

Are you saying that Y6 needs to have a comprehensive understanding of grammar in order to pass this section of the test? Can they fail the grammar section and still pass the test?

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 19:49:30

I would have considered a reasonable grasp of grammar for an eleven year old who had been taught useful grammatical rules would be sufficient. But requiring such children to have an extensive knowledge of sometimes esoteric grammar isn't reasonable, no.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 19:53:41

No learnandsay I'm saying Y6 need to know the technical vocabulary for the test.
The grammar section has the most marks

Catsnotrats Sun 16-Dec-12 19:55:31

Can I suggest people have a look at example test

I think it is incredibly valuable that children are able to write in coherent sentences, I'm just not sure that this test will enable more to be able to do this.

We also don't know what weighting the test will have on the overall writing level, as it is a 45 and 20 minute test it is likely that it will be at least 50%. I know that having to rehearse for this test is going to take time away from the children producing sustained, interesting and meaningful pieces of writing. We already teach and use all the concepts and terms in our teaching, I'm not sure how being able to identify a preposition within a sentence will improve the children's ability to communicate through writing.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 19:56:43

Our children use fronted adverbials correctly and effectively in their writing but I very much doubt they know the technical term.

sausagesandwich34 Sun 16-Dec-12 20:02:47

DD did this the practise test and knows several different types nouns

my knowledge of nouns stops at a noun is a naming word -if I really scratched my head and thought about it I would be able to tell you what common and proper nouns are

it did not stop me getting an A level in English lit or a degree in language and linguistic studies


learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 20:26:21

Hmmm, having looked fronted adverbials up I'm not sure how impressed I am with them.

Gone were the dreary, grey curtains. In place instead were bouncy mats.

Maybe as lessons in writing ungrammatically for the purpose of dramatic effect knowing about them is fine. It's not wrong to know how a sentence should be constructed. It's not wrong to know that some people deliberately corrupt sentences, how they do it and why they do it. So, for the example of fronted adverbials I approve. (I don't know about the others.) Or should that be: About the others I don't know?

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 20:31:56


you need to know

concrete nouns
abstract nouns
proper nouns
collective nouns
noun phrases


learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 20:35:30

My four year old is at a disadvantage. Her one year old sister, as well as being able to read and write next year will also be having comprehensive lessons in grammar!

Is there a list of required technical terms to be found anywhere or do teachers just have to guess whether to call them 'subordinate clauses' or 'embedded clauses'? ::Anxious as my PM target depends on my class all achieving L4 at least.::

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 20:40:17

Stupidly, I missed out pronouns sausagesandwich.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 20:46:50

LaBelleDameSansPatience that's part of the problem. I grew up with common nouns which are now concrete nouns and definite/indefinite articles are now determiners so teachers are relearning

plainjayne123 Sun 16-Dec-12 20:49:56

I also think the letter in OP is mostly garbage, new test sounds fine, just wish if had been around when I was at school.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 20:53:59

So you think we should learn what a modal verb is? Would it improve our writing or could we produce the same standard of work without knowing the technical terms plainjayne?

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 21:01:12

Here's a list of the modal verbs in English:
wouldmustshallshouldought to

I think there is a danger here of learning things simply for the sake of learning things. We all use these terms correctly (well, here on mumsnet, anyway) without having a technical phrase for them. In the case of modal verbs I do not approve.

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 21:02:34

Here's a list of the modal verbs in English:
ought to

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 21:03:02

I did give a clue in my sentence learnandsay wink

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 21:04:39

Well, yes, I can!

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 21:07:48

Perhaps I ought to be more obvious

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 21:13:27

Doing just fine, you are.

Actually this form of grammatical testing could lead to all pupils being able to write dialogue for Star Wars.

cece Sun 16-Dec-12 21:15:16

The thing is they haven't even told teachers how the writing assessment is going to be moderated this year. They haven't told us how all the different elements/test scores will add up to make an overall English level.

The SPAG and spelling will make up to 70 points. The reading test has always been out of 50. Last year a score was assigned to each level of writing and then this was added to the reading and spelling test scores. But we have no idea yet how that is going to work this year.

Mashabell Sun 16-Dec-12 21:15:57

have to
are also modal verbs
and knowing this is useful when learning other languages but totally pointless in English, because English has very few grammar rules.

Alan Peat probably does know grammar terminology really well, but it does not prevent him from being an exceedingly boring writer, although I do agree that the proposed test is stupid. I agree with his conclusion:

...if teachers really are ‘trusted’, then they should, democratically, be allowed to vote either for or against it. The collective response of this body of professionals should then form the basis of a real dialogue regarding what should occur and how to progress in a pedagogically sound manner.

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 21:21:40

masha, so glad to see you posting like a normal person and not one of those damn lists. Thank you for that contribution. It was interesting.

partystress Sun 16-Dec-12 21:24:22

I am teaching Y6 this year. My English set is 80% children who have English as their second or third language; the vast majority have no reading materials at home, other than those we send home. I feel a complete fraud spending time teaching these children the technical vocabulary of English grammar. They have absolutely no need to know the terms subordinate clause or modal verb or prepositional phrase. That is not me being patronising or elitist, or trying to deny them something that is offered to children at private schools or from previous generations. It is simply unnecessary not just for everyday life, but also for high level communication. The tragedy is that, unless I want to risk my school's existence as a non-academy school, I have to get most of these children through this ridiculous test and so I am teaching boring, useless, technical grammar when I could be helping them improve skills that would be vastly more useful.

scrappydappydoo Sun 16-Dec-12 21:26:13

whoah whoah - more tests????? - when did this come in??
So this is on top of SATS?? Good grief - my oldest dd is in year 2 and has done the first year of the phonics tests, she'll be doing year 2 SATS and now MORE tests??? wanders off muttering....

(sorry for hijacking thread)

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 21:29:47

partystress, you can slip things into the lesson and draw attention to them without making the whole lesson a boring grammar lecture.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 21:30:37

scrappydappydoo the SPAG test is replacing the Y6 writing tests (so you've got 4 years to brush up on your subjunctives and imperatives)

partystress Sun 16-Dec-12 21:33:54

I don't make whole lessons boring grammar lectures. We play lots of games and weave grammar into other activities. However, to get children to the level of knowledge they will need in one year (this year group being the first, with less than a year's notice), takes a proportion of lesson time that I really resent because I would rather spend it on something useful.

Mrz, I am new to year 6; do you mean that this is the only writing SAT that they will be doing??
I agree with PartyStress; in the 6-7 months we have to prepare them for this test, there is little time for fun and games; drilling on technical terms seems the only possible method. I job share in y5/6. I do one day a week and have to cover the new grammar and spelling test, problem solving in maths, music, PSCHE and French. By my calculation, I have something close to 12-14 hours to get them to learn all these terms.
::Memo to HT -Cancel Chritmas party, carol concert and play times until May June.::

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 21:51:40

Unless you think they are level 6 they won't be doing a writing test just the SPAG (2 papers one spelling the other punctuation, grammar and vocabulary). You will give a level based on your assessment of their work over the year which may or may not be externally moderated. There was talk of a handwriting test but looks like we've escaped for now.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 21:53:10

I think the fact that the samples were only ready last week speaks volumes

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Sun 16-Dec-12 21:55:15

I have a Linguistics degree and don't recognise all these terms - or not in relation to the posted lists, in any case.

Assessing whether a child moving from primary to secondary school has a range of more advanced grammar capability, or is on "this happened, then this happened, then this happened", is worthwhile. Giving names to those constructions so a tested child can mentally tick them off ("right, there's a modal, now how can I shoehorn in some dependent clauses?") is less useful.

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 22:21:36

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus the test doesn't require them to use the constructions, just to identify them.

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Sun 16-Dec-12 22:52:26

That's even dumber then.

mrz Mon 17-Dec-12 07:32:50

I think most people would agree that it is more important to teach children how to use grammar correctly than to know the technical terms.

learnandsay Mon 17-Dec-12 09:15:54

It's also important to teach some examples of how not to use grammar. The most teeth-jarring example that I can think of being the double negative. My dad always used to say if you don't want nothing then you do want something. And then he'd give us what we didn't want. Double negatives died out fairly early on in our house.

Ruprekt Mon 17-Dec-12 17:02:41

Can anyone link to the Daily Mail article that Gove was in this week about the Grammar SATS.

I was talking to DS's teacher about it today and he asked me to send him a link.


Ruprekt Mon 17-Dec-12 17:35:16


Elibean Mon 17-Dec-12 17:36:22

Well, I couldn't quite find the time or energy to read Alan P's entire article. But I certainly agree with the gist hmm

mrz Mon 17-Dec-12 19:07:51
xmastime Mon 17-Dec-12 19:29:47

Hmmmm - just had a good look through the tests and I'm still on the fence

For the majority of the level 3-5 test the children only need to know: verb, adverb, noun, adjective, connective. Even the question that asks for the correct pronoun can be answered without not knowing what a pronoun is (as all the answers are pronouns!)

The punctuation questions are all pretty basic and straight forward.
The vocabulary questions also make sense and seem pretty simple.

It tells the children what a prefix is – therefore doesn’t expect them to know the term.

I guess it depends on the mark thresholds, but looking through it I have a good idea in my head which questions they are expecting level 3, 4 and 5 children to be able to cope with.

I teach year 6 who come to me with an average 3c/b at the beginning of the year and the test doesn’t fill me with as much dread as I thought it would. I think that they will cope well with the level 3 / 4 questions.

A lot of the examples that people are giving above (particulary Mrz – sorry!) are from the level 6 test. I do not agree with these tests and will not be teaching level 6 material when my class are working towards level 4 and 5 (Would be happy to do so for individual children who were secure in level 5 at the beginning of yr 6 but alas, I’ve never taught one yet!)

I do agree that children don’t need to know the technical terms to be good, confident writers but I also think that most of the test can be completed with a very limited knowledge of the technical words.

xmastime Mon 17-Dec-12 19:40:19

Can someone please point out in the test where 10 and 11 year olds need to know the technical term for and identify fronted adverbials and modal nouns?

10 and 11 yr olds should achieve level 4. I get so angry when parents come to parents evening and tell their child off in front of me because they are not a level 5. I tell those parents that their child is doing extemely well and that I'm very proud of their achievement. Shame on those parents. Yet here are teachers giving across those ideas.

An the fact that the writing will be teacher assessed from the children's achievements across the year - erm... isn't that what many teachers have been calling for???

Again, I don't know if I fully agree with these tests but I feel that a lot of misleading information is being put across here to those not in teaching.

mrz Mon 17-Dec-12 19:45:52

Who isn't in teaching xmastime?

xmastime Mon 17-Dec-12 19:51:43

I said that a lot of information is being GIVEN to those not in teaching (i.e. by teachers). I know very well that you are mrz!!!

I just think it's rather inflammatory to state that 10 and 11 year olds need to know x,y,z when actually, the average (and even the above average) Yr6 child doesn't)

learnandsay Mon 17-Dec-12 19:51:59

I think she means the parents on mumsnet who are reading these threads.

xmastime Mon 17-Dec-12 19:52:33

Although what do I know? I clearly can't use brackets!

Ruprekt Mon 17-Dec-12 22:12:37

XMASTIME Sorry for capitals!

When you say you have been looking through the tests, where have you been looking?

I want to look!! grin

mrz Mon 17-Dec-12 22:21:45
mrz Mon 17-Dec-12 22:27:09
Ruprekt Mon 17-Dec-12 22:44:17

You are good mrz!! grin

Are they just example papers then?

Is it worth printing them off for DS to practise with?

vess Tue 18-Dec-12 00:22:59

I actually like those tests - they seem simple and structured. As long as they are not taught instead of creative writing, I don't see the problem. Then again, I'm only a parent - does my opinion count?

I just hope they include the apostrophe rule in the test - it is ridiculous how many people get it wrong, and it's such a simple, logical thing.

mrz Tue 18-Dec-12 07:30:18

Yes they are examples of what the test will look like obviously the content will be different.
vess schools are already dropping creative writing to teach technical terms judging by the response from the 500 schools attending the conference I was at earlier this month.

Ruprekt Tue 18-Dec-12 17:58:47

mrz - I was talking to DS's teacher and I said I was surprised that he hadn't had any creative writing homework.

Teacher replied that as it was not part of SATS they were focusing less on creative writing and more on the grammar.

Very sad about that.

Thanks for the links.

mrz Tue 18-Dec-12 18:12:56

At the training people were asked to put up their hand if they were doing less writing in class as a result of the test . . . there were an awful lot of hands in the air!

pointysettia Tue 18-Dec-12 18:40:19

I just had a look at the L6 test with DD2 who is in Yr5 and she didn't seem particularly fazed - but she ended up getting the answers from context, not from knowing the technical terms. And there was one thing in there that I didn't know, and I'm the Lynne Truss of the office. I think the focus is far too much on technical terminology - these questions could be set in a much more 'writing-friendly- way. But what the Idiot Gove wants, the Idiot Gove gets. Evidence is anathema to the man.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 18-Dec-12 18:58:46

At first, I was pleased to hear about these tests. But I have a 10 year old daughter, in year 6, who is complaining - for the first time ever in her entire school career - that literacy is "boring". Judging by the tedious nature of her homework for the last six weeks, I can only deduce that this is because her teacher is having to spend a disproportionate amount of time drilling them in grammatical terms.

She is in the top set, likely to sit the level 6 paper. Her creative writing is expressive, grammatically correct and imaginative. Her spelling is pretty good. She uses nouns, adverbs et al correctly and chooses interesting words for her writing.

I am really sad that she is currently finding literacy so tedious, as a result of the Govt rushing in yet another test without giving schools the chance to implement it properly (i.e. not rushed through at the last minute).

Feenie Tue 18-Dec-12 19:25:15

He's too busy making a name for himself - he's not interested in any chaos he leaves behind.

pointysettia Tue 18-Dec-12 20:02:45

Nor in the fact that the name he leaves behind will be Mud, Feenie!

sausagesandwich34 Tue 18-Dec-12 20:16:20


what sort of scores would the dcs be expected to get for level 6?

and dd wants to know if she would be allowed to write more than that for the arguments about cyber school

dd likes tests -I think they are way over the top

spellings yes but the rest is stiffling the depth of english they are doing IMO

mrz Tue 18-Dec-12 20:23:37

I don't think the government have decided sausagesandwich (or they just aren't telling). My son loved tests too hmm

Well, it's obvious - they haven't invented extra hours in the day, so something will have to go and it will have to be something that isn't being specifically tested.

pointysettia Tue 18-Dec-12 21:33:05

DD2 loves tests too, but I think she will soon change her mind when she finds herself (inevitably) drilling this stuff over and over again and not being allowed to write creatively.

breadandbutterfly Tue 18-Dec-12 21:34:39

I teach grammar, punct, spelling etc - as a Functional Skills and ESOL teacher - and absolutely loathe these tests. They appear to be designed for non-native speakers, as I cannot see any reason why native speakers should benefit by being able to name grammatical terms in this way. I have yet to meet a native speaker who misuses modal verbs - 'could' or 'should', say - so can see no logical reason why 10-11 year olds who are (or are assumed to be) native speakers would benefit from knowing that when they use 'could', 'should' or 'must', they are using a modal verb. If these terms are to be learnt, the only sensible context is as part of the MFL tests.

Learning some grammatical terms - such as adjectives or adverbs - IS useful, as it enables pupils to consciously seek to vary or improve their use of these constructs.

But there is no communicative aim in much of what is being tested - it really is testing for testing's sake. Which I think is a terrible shame - because what is actually being learnt by the pupils is this; 'English/literacy is tedious and just a pointless list of rules'.

Nothing is more likely to turn the young 'off' English altogether than forcing them to learn a list or irrelevant rules and terms. I really couldn't justify teaching this, when there are far more important things to be covered in valuable classroom time - creative writing for one.

As a parent, and a professional teacher of grammar, punctuation and spelling, I shall be personally boycotting these tests in the only way I can - I shall NOT be giving my own DD (year 6) any help or preparation for this test at all, despite the fact that I am a great stickler for the correct use of gr, punct & sp - and will have no interest in whether she achieves a level 3 or level 6 (which, coming from a confessedly pushy parent, is saying something).

It really is the most unconscionable waste of time.

pointysettia Tue 18-Dec-12 21:42:00

And that's the thing, breadandbutterfly - why are these tests even necessary? Why is it not possible to look at a piece of writing and assess the correct use of grammar, spelling, punctuation, extended vocabulary and advanced linguistic constructs from that?

These tests seem to me to see grammar as an end in itself - when it's the means to an end, which is useful and contextually appropriate communication. I'm a non-native speaker of English (though fully bilingual) and I agree that it is useful to understand adjectives, adverbs, connectives and clauses. These all have a function in improving the quality of written work, and are readily explained to young children in a way that makes them useful. The rest of it is just more Govean nastiness.

Dromedary Tue 18-Dec-12 21:44:30

My DC does loads of grammar at school, and weekly spelling tests. But very little creative writing or reading poetry or plays together, etc. I don't like it at all. I want to see my children doing loads of reading and writing - preferably for fun as well as schoolwork. I don't remember learning English grammar or spelling, certainly know almost no grammatical terms, but have well above average spelling and grammar. You pick it up by doing lots of reading for fun, and practise it by doing creative writing and essays. And apparently they've done research which shows that learning spellings is a waste of time. My DC usually doesn't even bother reading through the week's spelling list before the test - I support her in that (and she usually does well in the test).

vess Tue 18-Dec-12 21:59:13

Obviously it's not great that these tests have been introduced at the last minute and teachers are forced to make room in the daily schedule for more grammar. But once things fall into place and everyone is more used to it, I really can't see why it should limit creative writing. Why should it be either one or the other?

If you have a child who is good at writing, they will probably pick up the new things quickly, and won't be too bothered, other than to say that practice for the test is a bit boring. I happen to have a dyslexic DS who is struggling with writing, and no matter how much his English teacher praises him for creativity and great ideas, he is still on level 4a in Y8 because his sentence structure, punctuation and spelling let him down. And I can't help but think that if he was taught grammar separately in primary school, it would have worked better for him. In fact, I think teaching grammar separately from composition may work better for a lot of kids because the focus is on one thing at a time.
I wonder what will be the impact on secondary schools - are they going to teach more grammar now?

breadandbutterfly Tue 18-Dec-12 22:11:43

Exactly, pointysettia - Gove seems to have randomly picked out bits of grammar that matter when learning other languages - but not when using one's native language correctly. His memories of grammar teaching are obviously based on his schoolboy French/Latin, not on English lessons, and are thus basically totally irrelevant.

The way to improve one's literacy skills are to read as widely as possible, and write across a range of genres and task types. Beyond an understanding of the essential building blocks, there is nothing to be gained by knowing the name of every grammatical construct there ever was.

The irony is that, even when learning foreign languages, this kind of 'grammar rules' approach is incredibly dated. Few would argue now that one could learn any language from scratch simply by learning a list of grammar rules. And of course, we have no need to learn our own native language from scratch. So these tests really do not serve any useful purpose at all.

Sadly, that is not all they do. By taking up important time in the curriculum, they prevent pupils from reading real texts or writing creatively themselves - ie what they should be doing.

Gove really is an idiot.

pointysettia Tue 18-Dec-12 22:11:55

vess but you are basing your statements on the assumption that children aren't being taught grammar in primary school.

Nothing could be further from the truth. DD1 is now almost 12 and she learned this stuff in primary long before the test was even a twinkle in The Govester's eye. She learned the useful bits that I mentioned above, which have helped her enormously in her writing. This is the problem with Gove - he does not actually have a clue what goes on in state education. I'm sorry that your son's primary failed him, but what Gove should be doing is putting in place structures which will allow best practice in primaries (of which there is a lot) to be cascaded or percolated through to other schools. This whole throwing the baby out with the bathwater approach helps no-one.

Writing and grammar should be taught in tandem - it is perfectly possible to set an exercise which incorporates a particular aspect of grammar whilst also incorporating the techniques that make for a high-quality piece of written work - DD2, for example, has just completed a piece of work on describing Santa Claus and his room, which has to contain a range of apostrophes used in different ways (possessive/contraction) and other punctuation to make the piece interesting. She has written a beautiful description with engaging vocabulary and has really enjoyed it. It isn't a zero sum game at all.

Pantomimedam Tue 18-Dec-12 22:12:34

I'm all in favour of children learning the parts of speech - I had to pick them up myself, as a keen reader whose parents went to grammar school. Maybe this test will produce more children who know when, where and how to use an apostrophe, which would be a blessing. Clearly there is a balance to be struck between knowing the rules and creative expression - will this test really suck all the joy out of English lessons?

Jane Austen's not really a fair comparison because I think in her day the rules were still rather more fluid. And there's only one Jane Austen - most children aren't going to be great authors whose work will still be read hundreds of years after their death. But they do need a good working grasp of written English.

Pantomimedam Tue 18-Dec-12 22:14:08

pointy, yes, I'm fully prepared to believe Gove doesn't actually know what is being taught now. He seems to suffer from Daily Mail prejudices that the world is going to the dogs and the answer is to teach all the paupers Latin.

breadandbutterfly Tue 18-Dec-12 22:15:09

vess - but the grammar being taught is NOT the grammar that pupils need to know to improve their writing. That is the problem. They are being taught the arcane terms for various constructs that they ALREADY use perfectly correctly in their writing. All of them. So it doesn't help them one little bit.

What you are talking about could have been the focus - and then it would have been a useful exam. But that is not what is being tested - and hence not what will be taught.

pointysettia Tue 18-Dec-12 22:17:24

Pantomimedam and hang them and flog them, of course. The paupers, that is. Probably for misuse of apostrophes. grin

Pantomimedam Tue 18-Dec-12 22:26:20

pointy, sadly I've forgotten the Latin, but perhaps Gove deserves the sort of punishment of which Catullus would approve? Radishes up the bum, I seem to recall...

vess Tue 18-Dec-12 22:34:38

Breadandbutterfly, have you never met anyone who says 'should of' instead of 'should have'? And writes it down like that?

vess Tue 18-Dec-12 23:08:45

Here's something I found - Six reasons to study grammar by David Crystal, author of The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language:

1. Accepting the Challenge
"Because It's There." People are constantly curious about the world in which they live, and wish to understand it and (as with mountains) master it. Grammar is no different from any other domain of knowledge in this respect.

2. Being Human
But more than mountains, language is involved with almost everything we do as human beings. We cannot live without language. To understand the linguistic dimension of our existence would be no mean achievement. And grammar is the fundamental organizing principle of language.

3. Exploring Our Creative Ability
Our grammatical ability is extraordinary. It is probably the most creative ability we have. There is no limit to what we can say or write, yet all of this potential is controlled by a finite number of rules. How is this done?

4. Solving Problems
Nonetheless, our language can let us down. We encounter ambiguity, and unintelligible speech or writing. To deal with these problems, we need to put grammar under the microscope, and work out what went wrong. This is especially critical when children are learning to emulate the standards used by educated adult members of their community.

5. Learning Other Languages
Learning about English grammar provides a basis for learning other languages. Much of the apparatus we need to study English turns out to be of general usefulness. Other languages have clauses, tenses, and adjectives too. And the differences they display will be all the clearer if we have first grasped what is unique to our mother tongue.

6. Increasing Our Awareness
After studying grammar, we should be more alert to the strength, flexibility, and variety of our language, and thus be in a better position to use it and to evaluate others' use of it. Whether our own usage in fact improves, as a result, is less predictable. Our awareness must improve, but turning that awareness into better practice--by speaking and writing more effectively--requires an additional set of skills. Even after a course on car mechanics, we can still drive carelessly.
Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said, "Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language." If that sounds a bit too lofty, we might return to the simpler words of William Langland in his 14th century poem The Vision of Piers Plowman: "Grammer, the ground of al."

Niceweather Wed 19-Dec-12 07:57:44

Wouldn't be so bad if they had also had a test for original, creative writing to let the Agatha Christies, Flauberts, F Scott Fitzgeralds, Hans Christian Andersens and Jules Vernes of tomorrow shine. These guys all had dyslexia and would have flunked the test.

breadandbutterfly Wed 19-Dec-12 08:41:30

Vess - I have no objection to children being taught to use 'should have' rather than 'should of' - but you will note that that commonsense point is NOT tested in these tests. What is tested is not kids' correct USE of grammar but kids' correct RECOGNITION of grammatical terms. Which is not a particularly crucial thing for them to know, beyond the basics - noun, verb, adjective, adverb.

Could you name the grammatical structure that 'should have' represents? I very much doubt it. I could - but that is because I have twenty years' experience of teaching ESOL/EFL - to NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS. They are the only ones for whom being consciously aware of the very technical terms to describe the language they are trying to use might be helpful. And I only say might - very few TEFL/TESOL teachers would agree that memorising grammar terms or indeed learning languages as a list of grammar rules (rather than, say, via communicative functions), is the best way to go about learning English.

breadandbutterfly Wed 19-Dec-12 08:46:31

And David Crystal's points are all valid - but really only applicable to adults. 10-11-year-olds do not have the intellectual abilities or time in their days to learn all the grammar rules of their native tongue. In point 4, I'd wager he was not advocating that all English children be able to correctly label a future perfect continuous tense, for example.

Moominmammacat Wed 19-Dec-12 08:47:04

It'll help when they start foreign languages ...

Elibean Wed 19-Dec-12 10:26:13

I agree with whoever said radishes in dark places for Gove angry

catinhat Wed 19-Dec-12 11:30:55

The tests are very disappointing; they are tedious, use technical language that I suspect some children won't understand and they won't find out what children can do.

I have loved the way that our dds have been taught English at primary school; they do lovely, long bits of creative writing. It might be poems, stories, reports, letters, but they are encouraged to write and write and use the right style.

I have visions, now, of the less able children being put through loads of tedious exercises to even give them a chance of getting a score in these tests. (Like Spain, where the education is all about grammar and - apparently - everyone hates school!)

I have learned most of my spelling through reading - why can't modern children be given a chance to learn in this more delightful way.

Does Gove actually know what goes on in schools? (Is he a bit thick?)

pointysettia Wed 19-Dec-12 20:33:03

catinhat exactly, it worries me that the writing part of assessing English has now been reduced to the bare mechanics of spelling, grammar and punctuation only. Only L6 children will sit a piece of long writing, and based on previous writing tests I dread how dull and uninspiring that will be. I realise that this is a consequence of previous cock-ups with English marking and that there had to be a solution, but this isn't it. It's perfectly possible to mark a piece of creative writing for all the mechanical aspects as well as for content.

vess Wed 19-Dec-12 22:37:34

I think learning a bit of grammar will help children have a better understanding of their own language. It develops abstract thinking, learning skills and ability to categorise information. It may not be of immediate benefit to kids in Y6, but useful for their education in the long run. Definitely not pointless.

I can see how it could be a PITA for Y6 teachers, though.

Vess, I completely agree. It's just the way that it is being done, and the fact that it is at the expense of creative writing. But then, introducing something new will always have to be at the expense of something else.

vess Thu 20-Dec-12 00:40:29

It doesn't sound to me like it should impact on creative writing - except, maybe, for the current Y6, because they will have to squeeze the new stuff in.
Didn't the article say that the teacher will assess their creative writing work throughout the year and that will form part of the mark? It's not like they can forget about it just because there's a new test!

mrz Thu 20-Dec-12 07:01:53

Do you think children are not currently taught grammar vess?

orangeberries Thu 20-Dec-12 08:45:30

I was schooled abroad in a different system, and we did grammar lessons every single day, increasing to an hour a day as we got older (in primary). I used to hate it, however when I came to study languages in the UK at a Russell Grop university, I was shocked at what a poor grasp of grammar many of my fellow students had. The tutor had to start from scratch teaching grammar before we could tackle the language itself.

I don't think things have changed considerably, my children do a little bit of grammar at school but it is very basic and very occasional (once a week, sometimes once a fortnight), I know for sure as I have seen their grammar folder. Everyone is now going to jump on me and say that their children's school does 1 hour a day, but if one school is doing it this infrequently, then I guess it can't be that consistent.

I think an emphasis on grammar is an excellent idea, but obviously I cannot comment on the proposed test and I am sure there will be valid arguments for an against as with all tests.

Bramshott Thu 20-Dec-12 09:26:42

This is interesting. DD1 is in Y5 and as I read through the first part of the example level 3-5 test I thought "oh this is all simple - she'd have no problems". But later on there was stuff I couldn't do - I'm hazy on prepositions and adverbs for example, although she probably isn't! Too scared to open the level 6 test!!

DD1 is very strong on creative writing but NOT on spelling and so far the school have done really well in encouraging her rather than just telling her her mistakes. I'll be sorry if that all changes in Y6.

That said, I do remember really struggling to learn foreign languages at secondary school in the mid-80s because we just hadn't been taught any grammar at primary, so I do think there's a place for learning the technical terms (but maybe not quite all the ones on mrz's list!)

pointysettia Thu 20-Dec-12 12:46:08

I was schooled in the Netherlands, and we did grammar too - but certainly not every day. (In Dutch it really isn't necessary). I have no trouble with grammar at all, not in my native tongue, not in English, not in any of the other languages I'm fluent in.

I have no issue with children learning the essential building blocks of grammar - nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, basic clauses. All those things aid writing and the learning of MFL.

However, I did not suffer from not learning about the passive voice until secondary school, nor was my command of Dutch any the worse for not being able to tell a nominative from an accusative until I started learning German in the second year of secondary school.

The technical terms should only be taught when they are actually going to be used. There is no point in teaching something which is not routinely used, just for the purposes of a test - it will simply be forgotten. That's a basic principle of training technique.

And as I've said above, my DD1 went through primary before the grammar test and she most certainly knew all this stuff - and this was not in an academically selective super school, just a local primary rated 'Satisfactory' at the time by OFSTED.

What really makes me angry at the Idiot Gove is his assumption that because not everything is being done perfectly everywhere, it is therefore necessary to tear down the education system and rebuild it in the image of his own experience. I don't think there is anyone on here who is against striving for continued improvement, but Gove just keeps on throwing the baby out with the bathwater. He simply cannot stop his tinkering, and it is the current generation of children, my own included, who will suffer the consequences.

Tutoringmummy Fri 21-Dec-12 11:29:22

How can anyone who cares about language and literature be against the teaching of basic punctuation, spelling and grammar?

I've spent decades teaching children and adults. If someone writes in " non-sentences" the only way they can understand what is incorrect is by knowing at least some basic grammatical terms. A very simple example would be to say that there was no verb in their sentence, or they had used the wrong tense.

Similarly, if you are teaching the use of commas, it's helpful if they know what a subordinate clause is - when the commas act like a pair of brackets.

I can't stand this notion that somehow we must all rebel against something hat appears a little difficult and is therefore a bad thing for children.

Anyone learning a modern foreign language has to understand grammar, so why should our own native language be an exception?

I do agree though that there is a fine line between teaching enough grammar so that you have a reasonable understanding in order to write correctly, and teaching it at a level that would be part of a degree in linguistics.

Feenie Fri 21-Dec-12 11:39:30

But we're not talking about basic grammar, are we?

pickledsiblings Fri 21-Dec-12 11:46:10

My DC love the technical vocal associated with different subjects. My LO will happily talk of digraphs/trigraphs/phonemes etc and it makes it easier to talk about the learning involved. I can say 'no, look again, can you see that that's a split digraph?' and my LO will change his pronunciation accordingly. Is there any way that the proposed grammar material will allow for a similar dialogue to be opened up in terms of making the learning of grammar explicit?

pickledsiblings Fri 21-Dec-12 11:46:37

technical 'vocab'

learnandsay Fri 21-Dec-12 12:25:29

pickled, I think that that's largely what this discussion has been about. If your child is actually learning phonics then talking about digraphs and trigraphs is fine if that's he wants to do. But he's unlikely to be using a fronted adverbial in the first place. Or if he is using one he's probably only using it because it's part of his lesson or his homework. So it makes more sense to talk about nouns, adjectives, subordinate clauses, verbs, tenses and punctuation, because the children will be using these all the time, than it does to talk about adverbials and modal verbs, which do seem to be being introduced simply for the sake of introducing technical terms, which seems a bit silly. (Maybe it's not actually harmful. But it's not very clever or necessary.)

pickledsiblings Fri 21-Dec-12 13:17:18

Will the children not be using modal verbs then?

Another thing that my DS enjoyed learning about last year in Y3 was pathetic fallacy. You could argue that it is a bit silly to introduce this technical term too I suppose.

learnandsay Fri 21-Dec-12 13:21:37

I suppose that's the debate! How has knowing what a noun phrase is helped you in the last two weeks?

pickledsiblings Fri 21-Dec-12 13:27:55

Learning about fronted adverbials could help DC to improve their writing, no?:

"Fronting is mainly used by writers (authors, journalists etc) for dramatic effect. It is not common in everyday speech. It is useful to be able to recognize fronting when you see it. However, you do not need to use these structures to demonstrate a good working knowledge of English."

And here is an example: "On the table stood a vase of flowers (A vase of flowers stood on the table)."

pickledsiblings Fri 21-Dec-12 13:31:29

Knowing the technical terms allows for dialogue to be opened up - it could even be argued that by labelling these parts of speech/written word we are helping students to generalise their usage.

Tutoringmummy Fri 21-Dec-12 15:17:37

I don't feel I can comment fully without seeing the curriculum.

However, what i do take strong exception to is Alan peat's assumption that childen can and should improve their grammar by reading extensively for pleasure. This is the same waffle that was spouted several decades back about the best way to teach reading and spelling ie Look and Say- as if they learn by osmosis.

Some children- the brightest- will learn a lot by reading well written English, but many won't.

The other point is that this puts the onus squarely on families- and many children do not have educated or supportive families.

It's a nonsense for Peat to bang on about Jane Austen. And anyone who holds up " famous authors" as examples of why it's not necessary for children to master spelling or punctuation, on the basis that some of our great writers didn't get it right all of the time, is bonkers IMO. That's a different argument altogether.

mrz Fri 21-Dec-12 17:05:16

pickledsiblings Fri 21-Dec-12 13:27:55

Learning about fronted adverbials could help DC to improve their writing, no?:

Does he need to know what it's called, or would being taught how to use the technique not improve his writing...

pickledsiblings Fri 21-Dec-12 17:14:40

Yes, but why not teach them what it's called too, do you think that that in itself is harmful?

mrz Fri 21-Dec-12 17:18:46

I don't think it's harmful but knowing what something is called doesn't mean that you can use it effectively which surely is more important.

Feenie Fri 21-Dec-12 22:29:25

The test doesn't measure whether they can use the technique, only whether they know its name, pickled.

pointysettia Sat 22-Dec-12 18:24:21

Exactly, Feenie - because the only way of assessing whether the techniques have been mastered is to assess a piece of real writing. Not rocket science, is it? Except, it seems, for Mr Gove.

I against testing grammar, not against teaching it - there's a huge difference. Teachers are can assess a piece of writing and identify strengths and weaknesses without a test like that. Most primary and secondary schools do teach grammatical terms and have been expected to do so for years. I just suspect Gove of wanting to reduce English and Literacy assessment to objective right-or-wrong answers, because it makes it easier to count marks (and therefore to rank school, and calculate percentages). Also, marking the SPAG test will be quicker and therefore cheaper than marking a writing paper. You wouldn't need an English specialist to mark that test, for one thing.
I'd find it much easier if my marking load was reduced to a tick or a cross for an answer, instead of having to read pages of writing and evaluate it as a whole, but I can't imagine that would do much to improve my pupils' writing.

Malaleuca Sat 22-Dec-12 22:29:38

I don't think it's harmful but knowing what something is called doesn't mean that you can use it effectively which surely is more important.

This is true to a certain extent, but not always, because learners do not get things right all the time.

Children are often inconsistent in their use of particular grammatical forms, for example, common errors are where subject and verb do not agree, shifting from present to past tense, inaccurate use of pronoun referents.
It is easier to correct these errors if you have the words to describe the error.
In my experience, most children do seem to have a good grasp of what constitutes a sentence. But for those who do not, it is not easy to say what is wrong with a sentence, unless the child and teacher have some commonly understood terms. This may be the 'correct' grammar term, or some alternative that is used, eg 'doing' word as an alternative for 'verb' or 'the part of the sentence that names someone/something' as an alternative for 'subject'.

Clearly, it's better when we all use the same words to describe the same thing. Part of the spin-off of a test for children, will be that the teachers also have to acquire the knowledge if they do not already have it.
And as with everything to be taught, will also think of interesting ways to teach it to engage the children. Learning grammar terms need not be intrinsically dull.

learnandsay Sun 23-Dec-12 00:20:33

I'm not sure that I agree with that at all, Malal. I think the most useful way of correcting young children's grammar is simply to repeat the phrase to the child in its correct form. If the children are very young, I'm pretty sure that doing anything else would simply cause confusion (probably for both the adult and the child.)

learnandsay Sun 23-Dec-12 00:28:03

There are an awful lot of adults, myself included, who can form correct sentences but do not always know the technical reasons why this or that sentence is correct or not. And my grammar is not particularly bad.

ohfunnyFRANKENface Sun 23-Dec-12 00:41:04

I like the test- not too complex, stretches the most able- first questions are very basic.

Might have to pinch it for class.

Malaleuca Sun 23-Dec-12 01:25:38

I think the most useful way of correcting young children's grammar ....

Repeating the correct form is one way of addressing errors, and one we use all the time when teaching youngsters our spoken language, but it is usually one on one.
Using the correct form in writing, with children who are not always so young - say older primary and secondary, and in a classroom situation - is different. (Add to that, vernacular may be different from the standard English written form.)
For example, saying to a class, "Have you checked that you have written your report in the past tense?" is only possible if the children know what is meant by 'past tense' and know regular and irregular forms.

PastSellByDate Sun 23-Dec-12 01:40:18

Hello there

found this very interesting but for parents like me who have no idea what this is about here are the links:

Level 3-5 example papers here: - just click test examples/ info on right in blue box.

Level 6 materials (which is the bulk of what mrz & others are discussing) here:

In the test framework (here: on page 19 it explains content of LEVEL 3 - 5 & Level 6 tests (that's National curriculum level - for explanation of levels see Mumsnet learning pages here: It seems Level 3-5 test only spelling and grammar and Level 6 has a 3rd test which is a creative writing excerise (Test 1 extended task) which is this:

A local IT company is gathering views about Cyberschooling for research purposes. Cyberschooling is a way of learning that involves pupils working at home on their own computers and watching lessons on the internet. The company has asked for pupils’ views, to be presented as a short report showing whether they support or oppose the idea.

Now it is clear that mrz is correct there is an increase in technical language in the level 6 test - but the level 3 - 5 test is more about filling in the blank.

On the fence on this one. I can see the government want to ascertain that children are really grasping these concepts but I can see that teachers (like mrz and others posting here) are concerned that this may lead to an overemphasis on grammatical terminology at the cost of creative writing work (which I do value and would hate to see decline further at our school).

One thing that was raised up above somewhere was that grammar would only be of use when learning a foreign language, not when learning English (for native speakers). At our school at least MFL is rolled out in KS2 (not hugely seriously - maybe once a week) - and perhaps grammar can be incorporated a bit more in the MFL work - for example explaining present and past tense/ articles/ nouns/ verbs - all could be explained in the context of MFL teaching and benefitting knowledge gain for Y6 English grammar test?

Very interesting discussion all and a lot to think about. Certainly the first I'd heard about this. Once again Mumsnet better able to keep me up to date on what is going on/ should be going on than our school does (although to be fair this is really a Y6 issues and both DDs are younger).

mrz Sun 23-Dec-12 08:04:49

"This is true to a certain extent, but not always, because learners do not get things right all the time."

so would knowing what it's called ensure they got it right all the time or would be thorough teaching work better?

I'm in favour of schools teaching grammatical concepts, but I'm very much against this kind of testing.

A test like this lends itself nicely to Gove's love of norm referencing exam results. I think there's a separation from the concept that a certain set of skills means a certain level. Tests like this could see the level boundaries being shifted to preserve a particular view of what % of pupils ought to get a level 4/5/6.

This has definitely happened at GCSE level already, pupils are marked according to bands which don't correlate to particular grades. Secondary teachers can no longer say,"If you do xyz, you'll get a C." The best we can say now is, "If you do xyz, and you score more points on the course than 60% (or whatever) of the country, then you might get a C." Pupils - and their parents - don't want to hear that.

Hamishbear Sun 23-Dec-12 08:56:23

FactOfTheMatter -please can you clarify a little. Many thanks. What don't you like about this form of testing? It's unclear to students etc?

learnandsay Sun 23-Dec-12 09:02:32

Factof, secondary teachers can't even say that any more because Mr Gove and his pals on the exam board now log in after the pupils have sat the exam and change the scores.

Malaleuca Sun 23-Dec-12 09:44:09

so would knowing what it's called ensure they got it right all the time or would be thorough teaching work better?
No, of course not, but to me, thorough teaching would include using a terminology that both child and teacher share, so that where errors occur, they can be discussed. There are of course ways to teach discriminations between a grammatically correct form, and a grammatically incorrect form without having knowledge of the grammatical terms.

I have given an example in my later post.
For example, saying to a class, "Have you checked that you have written your report in the past tense?" is only possible if the children know what is meant by 'past tense' and know regular and irregular forms.

mrz Sun 23-Dec-12 10:20:08

Well I might teach my class that dog, cat, man, house are common nouns but in the test they use "concrete nouns" or I might teach that a and an are "indefinite articles" but in the test they are "determiners" (simply because I'm very old and those were the terms I was taught but aren't the terms used in the test hmm )

Malaleuca Sun 23-Dec-12 10:23:28

Well, as I said earlier, there may be new stuff for teachers to learn too! What's the definite article now called?

mrz Sun 23-Dec-12 10:30:38

a determiner

learnandsay Sun 23-Dec-12 10:33:31

Are both the indefinite and the definite articles called determiners?

learnandsay Sun 23-Dec-12 10:35:02

If they are I'd teach the old terms and then tell the children that some people now call both of them determiners and that's what the test expects.

Hehe, 'or whatever' is actually part of what secondary teachers have to say - for the reason you give, learnandsay We don't know what the percentage will be!

Hamishbear, these tests will be used to rank schools. It's not about what pupils know - teachers can assess that without this sort of testing. But the 'beauty' of test like this one is that it appears to be an objective measure, but in reality probably disadvantages school with a high number of EAL learners (ie non-English-speakers) or pupils from more deprived backgrounds. To take an example from the test linked to earlier, I think very few of my pupils would know that 'scaled' can mean 'climbed'. But they can fluently speak two or three times as many languages as the people saying that this test is the measure of their educational achievement.

I think the 'old' (hah!) National Literacy Strategy referred to articles as 'determiners'.

mrz Sun 23-Dec-12 10:43:01

yes both definite and indefinite articles are called determiners as are possessives my, yours, its, theirs etc, quantifiers such as few, many and demonstratives such as this and that ...all determiners

pointysettia Sun 23-Dec-12 16:51:28

Hamishbear so do you not have a problem with norm referencing then? Because I do.

Norm referencing presumes that every year, only a certain % of the pupils will score passing/good/excellent grades. This means that once the exam papers are in and marked, the exam boards get to look at the results and set the grade boundaries accordingly. In a strong year cohort, you will need to score a higher number of marks to get that pass than in a weak cohort.

So if you're a middling student in a strong cohort, you could find yourself in a position of having done better than someone in next year's cohort, but having a lower grade. How is that fair?

And to posit an extreme hypothetical situation - what if by some statistical miracle, everyone in a cohort scored, say, 100% correct answers. How would you use norm referencing then?

If someone scores 80% correct answers in year X, they should get the same person as someone who scores the same in year Y. The people who set exams should have the skills to ensure that the difficulty of the exams remains stable.

pointysettia Sun 23-Dec-12 16:52:42

mrz I am horrified by this talk of 'determiners' for types of words which had a perfectly useful and sensible name and definition. How can a possessive be classed the same as a definite or indefinite article? That isn't grammar, that's bollocks!

learnandsay Sun 23-Dec-12 19:55:32

Definite and indefinite articles haven't lost their meaning any more than English has been replaced by strak, noop, and jobe on account of the phonics test. The pupils who are taking the more difficult test will have to remember some daft terminology in order to do well. People looking on the bright side will be able to say that at least the children will be introduced to definite and indefinite articles, even if in the process they're having it explained to them that for the purpose of this test some moron in Whitehall has classified them all as determiners!

mrz Sun 23-Dec-12 20:00:48

" People looking on the bright side will be able to say that at least the children will be introduced to definite and indefinite articles" no they won't they will be introduced to "determiners" now

pointysettia Sun 23-Dec-12 20:06:03

Precisely, mrz - and I'd much rather my children were able to used definite and indefinite articles accurately in their writing than that they could identify a 'determiner' in a test. Which in fact they can, because their teachers know what they're doing. Only you'd never get The Govester to see that.

What's very neat is that if they do use norm referencing here (and I'm speculating) and the top (say) 5% are awarded a level 6, they will then be the ones to go on to get a level 8 at the end of Key Stage 3, and ultimately the same 5% to get the A* grades at GCSE. No actual teaching required ;) They just stay 'top' of their cohort.

Malaleuca Tue 25-Dec-12 21:18:16

I can't see what is to be gained by the change in nomenclature but the UK government can't be blamed for that. It is grammar theorists according to wikipedia.

Ruprekt Sat 02-Feb-13 18:27:47

THIS is the thread I was looking for!

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 18:38:45

Well, Congratulations, you've found it! wine

Why were you looking for it?

Ruprekt Sat 02-Feb-13 18:46:57

Because I wanted to check out the SATS papers for Grammar for this year. grin

and i have just gone through one with my eldest and he did really well.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 18:48:40

That's the same link I gave you earlier though, isn't it? confused

Curiosa Sat 02-Feb-13 22:37:13

Delighted by contents of sample grammar test. A lot of young primary school teachers have been let down by their own education and have poor grammar themselves so these tests are good for teacher and pupil and future employer!

Ruprekt Sat 02-Feb-13 22:39:58

yes it was Feenie but I wanted to re-read the comments!

goingmadinthecountry Sun 03-Feb-13 11:35:28

Are definite/indefinite articles now officially called determiners, or is it something just for school grammar?

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 11:40:33

determiners are -

1 Article a boy the girls

2 Numeral two cars the first day

3 Possessive Adjective my job their friends

4 Quantifier some coffee few tickets

5 Demonstrative Adjective this tape those books

goingmadinthecountry Sun 03-Feb-13 11:51:43

Thank you. Is the fact they are determiners all they need to know then or do they need to know they are quantifiers/demonstrative adjectives etc?

Sample test looks pretty fair. Personally would like a section on "we done", "my pen don't work" and "should of" as well....

Ruprekt Sun 03-Feb-13 11:52:43

Oh I agree goingmad!! Should of............aaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 12:32:14

I prefer the level 6 test because it actually requires children to demonstrate they can use correct grammar in their writing

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