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Why is Sats at age 11 such a bad thing

(73 Posts)
Coconutmummy Tue 10-May-16 20:27:54

I understand that passing exams is not the only way to effectively monitor progress. It is however a good objective way of measuring if our education system is delivering. Why object so strongly.

wasonthelist Tue 10-May-16 20:31:19

It is however a good objective way of measuring if our education system is delivering.
Depends what you think education is for. If you want to cram their heads with facts, Mr Gradgrind, then test away.

I'd prefer my DD to have a broad education and be encouraged to challenge what she's told and think critically - unfortunately that doesn't fit the governments plans much.

Coconutmummy Tue 10-May-16 20:39:20

I understand what you mean about being an independent thinker. Still as a way of measuring the effectiveness of our national curriculum, I think it's a pretty reasonable way forward

wasonthelist Tue 10-May-16 20:43:20

It's a very blunt way to test if kids can recall facts - if that's what we think we want them to do, then that's fine, but I don't.

Kids with poorer recall aren't necessarily unintelligent and increasingly now it's more about thinking about how to solve things than reeling off a load of stuff you learned by rote. The government are idiots comparing our results to China and Singapore - we don't live in China and Singapore, and I don't wish to. I also don't agree with their apparent plan to turn us into China.

exLtEveDallas Tue 10-May-16 20:43:50

I think it is a waste of time - as do the secondary schools who test themselves when the kids get there because they don't trust the results. It isn't a true reflection of the national curriculum due to the number of school which 'teach to test'. A true reflection of the NC would be simple teacher assessments.

Coconutmummy Tue 10-May-16 20:49:34

Exams will be used as well as teaching assessment. I agree that it can lead to regurgitated information with lost creativity and innovation. I think it has a place in schools and I really can't understand the assertion that it should be abolished because it causes stress.

nonline Tue 10-May-16 20:52:21

It means Year Six revolves around getting good SATs results; schools are judged too harshly on results based on unrealistic arbitrary targets; non-tested subjects lose out.
I think primary school should be about fostering a love of education and learning - in all subjects - as well as having fun and making friends.
NC came in while I was at school and I didn't even do 'science' until year seven - but still went on to do a science degree.

CheekyGit Tue 10-May-16 20:53:16

I dont know op I find it all so confusing!

Marilynsbigsister Tue 10-May-16 21:15:48

I think it's a fantastic opportunity for middle class parents to brag and one up their 'friends' with their little darlings academic brilliance. Especially in those areas so sadly deprived of the 11+ (that's sarcasm by the way) .. What a God given opportunity.
As the mother of many, who has two at Cambridge (different colleges) despite both 'failing' the afore mentioned 11+ , I am vehemently against testing and 'sorting' children at the age of 11. It is obscene. There is simply no need for it.

soapboxqueen Tue 10-May-16 21:23:19

They don't actually achieve what they set out to do. In the process they cause anxiety for schools, children, parents and staff.

I'm a teacher and a parent. I want accountability in schools and I want it to be accurate and meaningful. Sats, league tables and Ofsted achieve none of these things other than create jobs for government friendly randoms and statistics that political parties can bend and twist for their own ends.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Tue 10-May-16 21:26:33

It has led to the narrowing of the curriculum. Some children, particularly EAL and lower ability, spend their entire Y6 in intensive maths/English interventions in order they meet age related expectations.

Kitsandkids Tue 10-May-16 21:45:49

I think Year 6 seems to be an utterly joyless experience in many schools these days. When I was in Year 6 we had play time every morning and afternoon, an hour and a quarter for dinner every day, the teacher always had time to read us a chapter of a book before home time, we spent mornings writing long stories and making them into illustrated books, did a bit of maths then the afternoons were for lots of art and history and PE. We had no homework. It was a lovely year filled with happy times. I feel sad that so many children these days miss so many of the simple pleasures I took for granted.

Coconutmummy Wed 11-May-16 03:54:32

Thanks for all your contributions. I wanted to understand some of the objections. Personally, I do think it has a place in our educational system.
@Marilynsbigsister, I disagree that parents should not be able to celebrate the academic achievements of their kids. I think it's an opportunity to ensue that those who need extra support are provided it. It could also be used to challenge some of the students.
I don't think it's a bad thing still, and I don't support leaking exams or keeping kids out of school to protest is the reasonable response

Coconutmummy Wed 11-May-16 03:56:29


nobilityobliges Wed 11-May-16 05:29:00

I also don't see the problem in theory. I think it's important that kids have the opportunity to do things that aren't examined too. But studying and learning (even the memorising kind of learning) are valuable in learning how to think too. I don't agree that they're not valuable even to weaker students and I don't agree that because a kid doesn't get top marks this means that the exam is wrong for them. Studying and revising can be valuable for students of all abilities, imo. I think that the problem comes when you start to say that academic rigour and testing are only good for the top students. We wouldn't say that children who are poor or mediocre at sport shouldn't be encouraged to play, nor that having a low ability in sports means that playing and improving in sport won't be beneficial. If a child studies and gets a mid or low mark in SATs, then I don't see why that shouldn't be counted just as much an achievement as a child getting a high mark - just as we might say that the uncoordinated kid in the dance show is getting just as much out of it as the future Darcy Bussel that steals the show.

I think that a lot of the negativity around testing stems from an idea that academic work is only for the talented few, where actually it should be open for everyone at all levels, imo.

nobilityobliges Wed 11-May-16 05:38:57

It has led to the narrowing of the curriculum. Some children, particularly EAL and lower ability, spend their entire Y6 in intensive maths/English interventions in order they meet age related expectations

But what will the alternative be for these children? There are lots of children in secondary school who just don't know how to use capital letters in sentences and basic grammar. There is no provision for remedial teaching of these things in secondary school, and so if kids don't know them they get left behind and alienated. If children don't leave primary school with basic literacy and numeracy skills the alternative is not likely to be a gentle accumulation of basic numeracy and literacy in the coming years, but just an inability to keep up with secondary school. Personally, I think in the circumstances its best for those children to acquire these basic skills in primary school so that they are able to engage later on, than to have a more relaxed (and yes, enjoyable) time in primary school and then find that they are unable to cope in secondary (and consequently fail to get the standard 5 gcses at A-C with all the ramifications this will have for their later lives).

ChalkHearts Wed 11-May-16 05:51:20

Nobility - you are spot on. It is crucial children leave primary literate and numerate. Secondary school is not equipped to teach the basics. Children who can't read or write well will do very badly at secondary.

My DS spent all of Y6 in interventions. And I am so pleased he did.

Why Y6? Why wasn't he already literate and numerate? Because schools only really concentrate on pupils in Y6 - due to SATs.

So the pupils who really benefit from SATs are the pupils who are behind, the pupils who don't do well in them.

You see the same in secondary. Pupils are totally ignored in KS3 and then all the help is given in KS4.

SATs are a good thing. They are the only thing that force schools to really help the lowest ability pupils.

LindyHemming Wed 11-May-16 06:10:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LindyHemming Wed 11-May-16 06:11:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wanderings Wed 11-May-16 06:22:44

Somebody I know says that this is one (of many) reasons she will not have children - she can't bear the idea of putting children through the increasingly Orwellian and cruel world in which we live.

AllMyBestFriendsAreMetalheads Wed 11-May-16 06:39:38

I don't understand why it is necessary for children aged 10/11 to learn how to revise and take tests. It's not so much the test I object to, but I don't believe it offers any benefit for the children to spend so long preparing for it - a year is ridiculous. Good Sats results are good for the schools, not the children.

They have 5 years before they need to do GCSEs, plenty of time to practice taking exams when they are at high school, not before.

I'm seriously considering home schooling for year 6 (few years to go yet!)

FutureGadgetsLab Wed 11-May-16 06:41:34

I agree with Was entirely.

ChalkHearts Wed 11-May-16 08:03:17

Euphemia - how do you explain the fact that more help is given to pupils inY6 then in other years?

The only conclusion I can draw is that it is because of SATs. If it was concern for pupils progress interventions would be evenly distributed across the school years.

sunnyoutside Wed 11-May-16 08:07:18

I don't have a problem with testing children in Year 6 to see where they are academically. I have a huge problem with teachers and headteacher putting pressure on our children and stressing them out and making them worry more than the teachers who teach my ds when he is just about to take his GCSEs.

babybythesea Wed 11-May-16 08:22:43

Our dear Prime Minister couldn't answer one of the questions on the Year 6 paper. Neither could one of his ministers, Nick Gibb. They nonetheless seem to have done ok for themselves career wise. So either the questions the SATS are asking are really not necessary, and need to be redone to actually assess something of value. Or any old idiot can go on to lead the country, despite an inadequate education (which his parents paid thousands for, although as it was private he may never have had to do SATS). In which case lack of SATS isn't an issue for our kids either, because they could still do really well for themselves despite not knowing what a formerly articulated causative subjunctive is.
I'm not necessarily against SATS in principle. But as they are at the moment, with ridiculous questions which don't really assess much of value and which leave kids feeling like failures. Plus the idea that a kid who failed will have to go off to secondary, after a summer at home with no extra teaching, and take them again (and obviously will magically have reached a full understanding of the nuances of grammar and maths) in order to pass is a pile of crap. Labelling kids as thick at secondary before they've even got there?
I'd rather my kid knew how to write a really creative piece of writing, and how to structure a story, than deliver a piece of writing which is wooden and rigid but at least has the required number of exclamation marks in it.
Some testing, some understanding of grammar, yes. The extent to which these SATS test it, which means it's not realistic for large numbers of kids, and everything else has to come a poor second in order to achieve it? Nope.

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