Having just heard that the Government is looking at doing yet more testing at primary level is really making my blood boil. Not so much about the test itself (which I don’t like) but more the fact that primary schools have to have 85% of pupils pass. So once again, we lose the focus on the pupil and focus on the mechanism. What will happen is that failing 15% will be forgotten and blamed on something else while lots of focus is placed on how to rectify the school.
We seem to be working on the assumption that testing solves everything, that provides targets to be met and will drive up standards. Once again, we seem to forget what the point of primary education is. Kids will get into hard testing by the end of secondary school, getting harder as you go up into further and higher education.
We know from other countries that leaving “strict” education to later in life (age 7/8) and encouraging fun based things prior to that works well, which is why it saddens me that our country seems to think the answer is to get kids into school earlier and measuring/testing more and more.
This measurement that schools have to have a certain pass rate is also maddening, it puts the focus on the school and not the pupil. We are back to league tables and looking at how to “fix” schools, and not truly focusing on the pupils and recognising that all children are different, have different skills and predispositions, rather than trying to push them all into the same academic shape.
Primary school should be about fun, encouraging a love of learning and helping children to follow and fulfill their natural curiosity. Yes this may sound a bit flaky, but we seem to be keen to cut off a childs own motivation to learn and this is the most powerful tool that we have to use.
Its common sense, everyone responds better to things that they enjoy, so that’s what schools should be focusing on, not how to fill out another exam!