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10yo slates errors in Gove's SPAG test.

(17 Posts)
pointythings Fri 17-May-13 21:05:12

In the Guardian, here.

I love this girl, she's a hero.

spanieleyes Fri 17-May-13 21:46:29

And there was an impossible question in the maths paper too! They're not doing very well this year, are they!

jellysmum77 Fri 17-May-13 21:47:48


StuffezLaYoni Fri 17-May-13 21:50:43

Which was the impossible maths question?

spanieleyes Fri 17-May-13 21:54:54

The one with the measured lines, there was no way, if you measured accurately, that you could make the target number. It nearly drove one of my HA children crazy as he measured and re-measured as accurately as possible! The slap-dash ones just assumed they were close enough and shoved an answer down!

Feenie Fri 17-May-13 22:03:42


StuffezLaYoni Sat 18-May-13 09:13:32

Ha! I hadn't realised :-)

learnandsay Sat 18-May-13 09:18:47

Very funny.

RustyBear Sat 18-May-13 09:36:17

There was also a question in the level 3-5 SPAG test that had two possible answers - don't know if they will be accepting both...

Kaida Sat 18-May-13 10:35:52

I'm confused. According to the article, the commas the child and her classmates insist need to be there, don't. They're a matter of taste/style/choice, and the sentence is grammatically correct without them, as written in the test. Personally, I like commas so tend to put them in in cases like that, but technically the girl tried to pull Gove up incorrectly. Unfortunate, as I'd love Gove to be embarrassed.

RustyBear Sat 18-May-13 10:39:00

I thought the problem was that they were there in one case but not in the other, so it was the inconsistency she was complaining about. Whichever style of punctuation you choose, you should be consistent within a single document.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 18-May-13 10:40:04

They'll have been taught to put them in, but in sentences like that they are optional. Short-sighted test-setting for 10 year olds though. I was really hoping Gove had cocked up too!

spanieleyes Sat 18-May-13 10:45:42

A point being that children of this age are being tested on things, such as commas, where there is a personal preference or question of style. If adults can't agree whether they are right or wrong ( or just plain old " either way is right") then how can we expect 10 year olds to get it right!!

Kaida Sat 18-May-13 11:29:09

I thought that too RustyBear but if the article is accurate, there wasn't a comma in either sentence. They girl was saying there should've been.

Ah that makes sense spanieleyes, on scanning the article it seemed the question was about missing words not commas so I didn't realise they were also tested on commas. So do they mark wrong things that aren't actually wrong then? I mean, if they're asking, "Does a comma go here?" and the answer in reality should be "Maybe" how can they mark either yes or no as incorrect? Sounds mad!

CloudsAway Sat 18-May-13 11:40:39

I agree with the editor; I'd have used it in one sentence, and not the other. I don't think that was inconsistent - it does depend on the length of the sentence. You do need to teach children that there are general rules for commas, but that there is room for interpretation. That doesn't make the rules useless. I would hope that in a test of commas, however, they made sure that there were examples where you really did need the comma after the equivalent phrases (i.e., fairly long sentences!).

I did think that the BBC examples for the SPAG test were funny in that almost all of the examples given as 'sentences' (most of which were testing various other aspects of grammar) didn't have full stops after them. I hope the real version was more accurate.

pointythings Sat 18-May-13 18:29:47

I think this does highlight the main problem with the SPAG test - Michael Gove's presumption that grammar can be taught as something that has simple questions with answers which are 100% right or 100% wrong. Lots of teachers have told him that it isn't that simple, and he just isn't listening.

jmspbro Sat 18-May-13 21:20:16

Perhaps a nice example of the standard of education the exam paper authors had.

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