Slow Education are delighted to be part of a new campaign in the UK to abandon the disastrous Key Stage 2 tests. Slow Education opposes the use of high-stakes testing in primary education. Its impact on children and teachers is creating an unhealthy environment both in the home and in the classroom. Testing has its place in the process of education, but it should be within broader contexts of assessment and never become the only thing that matters.
We believe that the current system of national testing of primary school children to judge the effectiveness of teachers and schools is deeply flawed. It has resulted in:
- A narrowing of the curriculum, as schools concentrate on teaching to the requirements of the assessment system at the expense of a broader education.
- The introduction of an unrealistic set of standards, which in 2016 categorised nearly half of eleven year olds as failing, and which undermine some children’s sense of themselves as learners.
- The exclusion of large groups of students – particularly pupils with special educational needs and disabilities – from mainstream learning activities.
- An increase in numbers of children suffering from school-related anxiety and mental health problems and who became disengaged from learning.
- A fall in teachers’ morale, contributing to serious problems recruiting and retaining staff.
Children are more than a score. Testing reduces the complexity of children’s learning to a numerical score, which is grossly misleading.
The Way Forward:
We call on the new government of Theresa May to:
- Recognise the scale of these problems, the unprecedentedly high level of professional and parental concern, and the need for radical change.
- Suspend arrangements for primary assessment in 2016/17.
- Hold an independent and expert review to produce recommendations for the revision of the primary school curriculum, assessment and public accountability.
More than a Score is committed to promoting a range of forms of assessment to influence teaching effectively – and reveal the full range of a child’s abilities – rather than to judge schools.
We will campaign with teachers, parents and others to end the present system of assessment and introduce an alternative model which enjoys professional and public confidence.
You can find out more on the campaign website: https://morethanascore.co.uk
More Than a Score is a coalition of:
- Association of Child Psychotherapists
- Association of Educational Psychologists
- Association for Professional Development in Early Years (TACTYC)
- Cambridge Primary Review Trust
- Guy Roberts Holmes, education researcher
- Let Our Kids be Kids
- Merryn Hutchings, education researcher
- National Association for Primary Education
- National Union of Teachers (NUT)
- Pam Jarvis, education researcher
- Rescue Our Schools
- Save Childhood
- Slow Education
- United Kingdom Literacy Association