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To think we need to get a grip about SATs and stop the drama

(281 Posts)
PeaceLoveGonk Tue 10-May-16 10:14:12

DD(11) has to work very hard just to be average academically. None of this SPAG bollocks comes naturally but she just bloody well gets on with it.

She came out of school yesterday, said test was hard, she didn't finish it but did her best. We then went for ice cream and when we got home she went on the iPad.

No one in her class had hysterics, went into meltdown, cried or did anything other than try their best.

I've read a thread on TES forum describing the test as 'brutal' and there is much talk about ruining our children's lives. I think it's just 4 tense days before they start the wind down to summer.

We're not doing our kids any favours with all this anger, breast beating and angst. They're not working in clothing factories in India, trying to make a living from a rubbish dump or facing death on a dinghy trying to cross the sea to escape persecution. It's 4 days of tests!

Samcro Tue 10-May-16 10:15:53

unless things have changed its not just 4 days of tests, its weeks of build up and everything being centred round the tesst

PatriciaHolm Tue 10-May-16 10:21:53

It does very much depend on how the school are approaching them to be honest. Ours is very relaxed; no past papers have come home for homework; the kids are all aware that it's the schools job to worry about them, not the kids. Our kids came out perfectly happy after yesterday, and I'm not aware of anyone being unduly stressed by them at all.

However, different schools seem to have taken a much more hard line approach, with piles of homework and children being given lectures about how important the SATS are to their futures. Which is all nonsense and likely to upset even the calmest, brightest of children.

PeaceLoveGonk Tue 10-May-16 10:24:11

Don't I know it! I said on another thread that DD's education has been put on hold this past year whilst they prepared for SATs. I blame the HT for that. However, it's been my job to make sure my DD doesn't get stressed about these tests and gets through this week without any drama.

Redlocks28 Tue 10-May-16 10:24:46

What a naive post.

It's not just 4 days of tests. It's the months and years spent working towards them, the changing curriculum, absence of guidelines until the nth hour, the irrelevant things they are being tested on, the fact that the school are judged on the results with teacher pay and ultimately the careers of head teachers resting on the % passing.

Most importantly, making children sit tests at 10 or 11 where they don't understand or can't do large chunks of it, is very very wrong imo.

Hagothehills Tue 10-May-16 10:27:07

And just because no one in your DD class was distraught after taking the test doesn't mean there won't have been plenty of children who now think they aren't good enough because they couldn't finish it despite trying their best, and there will be even more when the results come out. I'm 25 and did well on SATs when I took them but there were a lot of kids in my class who didn't do well and had their confidence severely shaken going into secondary school believing they were stupid (they weren't). They're 11 ffs they shouldn't be stressing over this, but they are, because as pp said, it's not just a few days of tests, it's weeks and weeks of prep and being told how important they are. It's cruel imo.

sunnyoutside Tue 10-May-16 10:35:17

my dd did come distraught. Despite me telling her to do her best, it's not a big deal - even her older brother who has been through it tried to calm her down and tell her that nothing, not even the GCSEs he is starting next week are worth this much stress and angst. DD said we don't understand and her teacher will be angry and upset with her if she doesn't do well sad

amicissimma Tue 10-May-16 10:35:46

I agree with you, OP.

Neither of my DC remember any dramas around SATs; they just had a week of practice, then did the papers. They rather enjoyed the change to the school routine. Strictly speaking the whole of primary school should be aimed at making sure they can do well in the test: 'working to the test' if you will.

AFAIK, independent schools give tests or 'exams' every year as a matter of course. I don't hear of any stress among the DCs I know who are independently educated.

The papers need to be fairly challenging so that even the quickest learners can be tested. I think it's better that they all take the same test rather than some being marked out for the harder one, although I know that from time to time a level 6 extra paper is introduced. A decent teacher will encourage each child to do the best s/he can and warn the ones who struggle that they are not expected to manage some of the questions.

I really wouldn't be happy if my DC went to secondary school without having been tested to check that they had mastered the primary curriculum, although I would prefer SATs to be in December so that any necessary remedial steps can be taken from Jan to July.

DeadAsADildo Tue 10-May-16 10:36:08

I think having older siblings who are doing A-levels and GCSEs helps DD to keep it all in perspective.

My DD Y6 seems fine but is aware that there is a lot of controversy around the content of the tests, they are harder this year, that the schools have not had time to prepare as the curriculum changed, that teachers are stressed about it and that some dcs were 'striking' about it all. I think talking about all this and following the coverage in the news helps her to see it's not all about her and her results, rather a bigger picture which is in flux and chaotic.

Today she went off to school in great form with a new Jacqueline Wilson book which she can read at school after the test is done.

Saying that, some of her friends have been physically ill with the stress of it which is dreadful.

FranHastings Tue 10-May-16 10:37:46

No drama or pressure from me or my child's teachers and yet we've had tears and dread, feeling sick and not wanting to go to school. For months. Not just this week. Months.

Months of her feeling she's not good at Maths (she is). Months of being desperate to please. All due to the looming tests.

What did I do wrong then? Zero pressure, told her hundreds of times I don't care what she gets, comforted, boosted her up, cuddles. Still the tears. It's not really as simple as just 'no drama'. Children are not robots. Some deal with it better than others, that's all.

FranHastings Tue 10-May-16 10:38:56

You cannot possibly compare SATs of yore with the new tests. They are completely different.

sunnyoutside Tue 10-May-16 10:38:58

ami My ds1 doesn't remember any stress around his sats either. His school were fab. Sadly dds school aren't so fab.

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 10-May-16 10:39:17

Your posts reeks of "there's kids starving in Africa doncha know"

Naive, misinformed and woefully I'm alright Jack.

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 10-May-16 10:40:21

How many times do we need to say it


FranHastings Tue 10-May-16 10:40:43

For the record, no one cried in my daughter's class either and yet I know from talking to Mums this morning that they were very upset when they got home about the reading paper.

jellyfrizz Tue 10-May-16 10:42:54

Learning things like the past progressive tense, knowing the difference between a subordinating or coordinating conjunctive and the definition of a modal verb has no link or use in everyday life.

If you can get to be prime minister without having learnt about this, or feeling the need to find out at a later date, wouldn't that suggest that some elements of the SATs are not hugely important and perhaps a waste of learning time?

HairySubject Tue 10-May-16 10:43:52

Ds is very able and handling it well but even he has been a bit tense and snappy. Sats have been rammed down their throats since Sept with extra lessons and Saturday classes. I will just be glad when it's over. Ridiculous amount of pressure in still very young children.

momb Tue 10-May-16 10:44:00

Youngest DD never worries about such things....but cried at the table this morning because 'I thought they would ask us about what we know Mummy, like in the practice papers...but they just asked us questions to trick us'.
I'm really surprised it has hit her so hard.

sunnyoutside Tue 10-May-16 10:44:08

Jane But from talking to parents who have Yr6 dc in my ds1 old school, they are still handling it brilliantly, despite the tests being harder this year. Not saying there aren't any children at that school getting stressed. My dd's teachers are putting pressure on the children.

givepeasachance Tue 10-May-16 10:45:19


I literally despair at all the drama

DS2 did the test yesterday, we had one conversation about it "finished it. It was ok" and then we moved on. This morning, a quick "good luck, try your best. Love you any which way" and off he trots.

I obviously live in a parallel universe.

exLtEveDallas Tue 10-May-16 10:45:46

However, it's been my job to make sure my DD doesn't get stressed

How lucky for you that you have an easily pliable child.

Mine isn't. Mine is a perfectionist. She tries her hardest in everything she does. If she gets something wrong she wants to know why, and practices the correct answer until she gets it right every time. Missing out an answer, or just ticking any answer if she doesn't know the correct one is something she cannot bring herself to do. She is like this in every avenue of her life - all her sports are practiced day in day out until she is consistently good. If she reads a book with a word she doesn't know she looks that word up in a dictionary off her own back - if she asks me and I give her the answer she says "Are you sure?" and then looks it up anyway.

Yesterday's test had her getting hysterical as soon as she hit part 2 (the agreed 'hardest' part of the test) and panicking that if she didn't understand Part 2 then there was no way she was going to be able to do Part 3 (which was actually easier). After speaking to her friends last night she now believes that she has missed the 'easier' marks because she spent too much time on the harder questions meaning she didn't have enough time to finish the paper. Conversely her friends that did 'complete the test' are now panicking about the fact they missed out the harder questions and thinking they are going to lose 'bigger' marks.

All this played out last night and there were 5 children in the playground holding on to their parents this morning, and one child has been taken out of school

Me telling her not to stress or get upset makes about as much difference as telling a depressed person to 'cheer up'.

FranHastings Tue 10-May-16 10:46:34

OP, how would you feel then, if your child fails the test and has to re-take in yr 7? Your child leaves Primary branded a failure. How will they feel about that? This will happen from next year.

Mistigri Tue 10-May-16 10:46:56

Not all schools are doing such a good job of minimising the pressure on their children.

But above and beyond that, there is the opportunity cost: the things that your children could have learnt, but didn't, because of a year of teaching to a very narrow test. For current Y5s, it'll be the best part of two years, in many schools ... And some of them may have to repeat the test in Y7.

From a statistical point of view, a test which results in the majority of children being clustered in the bottom half of the marks distribution is poorly designed, because it makes it much harder (if not impossible) to distinguish between children who are doing a bit better or a bit worse than average.

And given that there was little material that was accessible for children who are struggling, these kids may all end up being lumped into a very narrow band of scores - even though "struggling" encompasses a wide range of ability. I'm not sure how that is supposed to help anyone.

givepeasachance Tue 10-May-16 10:48:52

All of this does give us an indication of the levels of resilience in our children

And seemingly they are not that good

Maybe that should be on the NC

bicyclebell Tue 10-May-16 10:50:20

Are you not worried that your daughter has spent this entire year cramming this useless information in her head?

My kids will have longer to learn all this nonsense. But also longer to miss out on lovely topic learning, art and even science. Its all just maths and grammar cramming now. Because they're being forced to learn stuff that is not age appropriate. Its more suitable for GCSE kids.

When your daughter gets to secondary school her learning will not become more challenging than this. From what I have read on the TES she will stagnate until GCSE and get bored. The secondary curriculum contains basic grammar - none of this linguistics nonsense. They've pushed them too hard too soon. And those that can't cope now will see themselves as failures and/or stupid.

Don't get me started on the lack of differentiation for kids with special needs/EAL - of which in our school has many.

Yes. I do think you are being unreasonable in your lack of empathy for other parents and kids. If your child found it easy. Lucky her. Thousands and thousands truly didn't.

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