Can someone explain the tests controversy to me?

(67 Posts)
ISaySteadyOn Wed 04-May-16 11:08:38

It seems there are two sides: all tests all the time or no tests ever. The truth lies between the two, doesn't it?

I honestly don't quite get it. So could someone give me an objective explanation, please? Thank you!

SpoonintheBin Wed 04-May-16 12:59:52

you know the truth already so why do you need an explain on for? For what tests? primary school? Early years? Sats? Baseline assessments?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 04-May-16 13:29:48

It isn't quite that simple.

There is a gap between the demands of the new curriculum and the old one. The current year 6s have only had two years to cover the gaps in a 7 year curriculum plus the curriculum content for years 5 and 6. This is particularly true for the grammar test.

There's also a large question about the usefulness of the grammar test in the form that it's in.

Many of the changes have been rushed through and badly communicated. Consequently there are huge numbers of errors and contradictions in government documents.

And the writing assessment exemplification is total bollocks and needs to be scrapped and rewritten.

I don't have a problem with testing. The idea of end of primary phase testing is a reasonable one but they have totally screwed this up. The current yr 4 should be the first group tested imho.

ISaySteadyOn Wed 04-May-16 15:30:31

I didn't think it was that simple which was why I asked. And I was asking because DD1 is in Reception and I wanted to know a bit more about what we will be facing.

Thanks, Rafa, that's really helpful. I understand better now.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 04-May-16 17:08:28

There are people objecting because they don't believe in testing at all, but that isn't the only reason.

ISaySteadyOn Wed 04-May-16 19:15:43

No, you were really clear above. I understand it isn't either/or. The rhetoric in the circles I move in is very either/or so I wanted to know the nuances.

jennielou75 Wed 04-May-16 20:33:33

It's not just the tests in year 2 it's the whole assessment demands and rigor. If a child fails one aspect or we do not have 3 examples of each aspect then they fail the whole section. I have children who are going to fail because they don't use and correctly spell words with the suffixes ment ness ful and ly. There is no credit for creativity and use of language except use of noun phrases! They are great writers and their judgement will not reflect this at all.

mrz Wed 04-May-16 21:05:47

I'm sure the DfE said 3 examples weren't enough but they change their minds so often it's hard to keep up ...they certainly can't.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 04-May-16 21:12:47

I'm sure it depends on exactly which piece of paper/interview/tweet you were looking at.

It would sort of make sense from the point of view of trying to avoid that whole 3 ticks and you've achieved the target type thing that sometimes happened before. But they haven't really thought through how that will work for moderation at all.

SpoonintheBin Wed 04-May-16 22:08:51

Point is though that the Sats are there to measure teaching and school performance but it's the children (and teachers, HT, all school staff) who suffer from pressure and stress. I would like my children, and all children, to learn in a positive and supportive environment, not a stressed and pressurised environment. The Sats as they stand now (with new curriculum) are creating a lot of insecurities in schools, cause intense stress for some children. We all want our children to do well but this is not the right way. The spag test freaks me out, I can't help my ds as English is not my first language and I have no idea how to support him. So I try my best to not stress him out and if I see that I need to take him out of the test I will. He is in year 5.

mrz Thu 05-May-16 06:30:20

Perhaps you can explain how that works spoon when KS1 test results aren't reported to anyone confused

kesstrel Thu 05-May-16 14:19:21

This is an interesting piece giving the rationale for the tests. The biggest problem would appear to be politicians/DfE incompetence in insisting on implementing a test of material that is designed to be covered over 6 years for children who've only had 2 years of teaching.

educationmediacentre.org/blog/spag-a-brief-history-of-the-teaching-of-spelling-punctuation-grammar-the-sats-tests/

jennielou75 Fri 06-May-16 06:49:50

It's all a complete mix up. We have been told 3 ticks is what we need. Some people in some areas have been told best fit, we have been told they need everything. No portfolios needed but they will help. No need for tick sheets but we need to show where the evidence is quickly. No need for those exemplification sheets but the moderators are using them so it would be quicker......

Pipbin Fri 06-May-16 06:59:47

It's also the content of the tests in my opinion.
I imagine most of us have got to Adulthood without knowing what a fronted adverbial is, yet we now expect our 11 year olds to know this. They have to know so much about the technicalities of English but not the creativity.

mrz Fri 06-May-16 07:12:22

At the moment the DfE say best fit not good enough but that could change

jennielou75 Fri 06-May-16 07:25:36

I know and that's why we are going for all of it but I have heard some las are saying best fit!

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 06-May-16 09:39:22

I though having to meet all the criteria was the point of the writing exemplification. That's where most of the controversy came from.

It wouldn't be so bad if the criteria were a bit more sensible but at the moment you can not meet the expected standard for some pointless minor stuff that is not 'the basics'.

MrsKCastle Fri 06-May-16 21:06:39

Surely the Interim Assessment Framework is clear that they must have everything? Are there rumours that this could change?

jennielou75 Fri 06-May-16 21:30:40

There are rumours but I have heard people say that their la moderators are looking at best fit for this year. True or not I don't know. It just adds to the uncertainty.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 06-May-16 21:32:58

I don't think so. Although who knows.

A best fit judgement would solve many of the issues of exemplification, but would still have the same issues as making a level judgement under the old system.

I does make even more of a farce of the system in moderation teams are going against what is set out in the rules.

mrz Fri 06-May-16 21:43:25

They've said if a teacher is confident in their judgement to ignore the exemplifucation confused

mrz Fri 06-May-16 21:45:16

They've also said that standards are old level 4b whereas exemplifucation is more like a 5a

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 06-May-16 21:55:39

Ignore the exemplification? confused

Doesn't seem like much point in having waited so long for it.

With that and the announcement that only 1% of schools will be below floor standard, do you think they're concerned they've cocked this up and the pass rate is going to be very low?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 06-May-16 21:58:19

Although that would allow plenty of forced academisation, so maybe not.

Myothercarisalsoshit Fri 06-May-16 23:41:12

Moderation meeting last week - said that the suffixes mentioned are only examples and the child should be credited for using any suffix (could be -ed or -ing)
For conjunctions we were told that and / or / but were, again, only examples - the story we heard was that someone had pointed out that the exemplification pieces didn't contain any examples of the child (Sam) using the conjunction 'or'. It's a fucking shambles.

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