The SATs effect

More Than a Score report makes the case that learning, not school accountability, must be at the heart of our assessment system.


Commenting on The SATs Effect, a new report commissioned by More Than a Score and released ahead of Year 6 SATs tests which begin on Monday, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:   

"Primary schools are places which inspire children and instil a love of learning. Unfortunately, the report released today by More Than a Score shows how Year 6 SATs make it incredibly difficult for schools to provide the broad and exciting curriculum children deserve.   

"Because of SATs, teachers feel forced to prioritise test preparation over everything else. With whole lessons spent answering practice questions and every day starting with a maths paper, Year 6 is no longer the exciting, celebratory year in primary school it should be. Other curriculum subjects, such as art, PSHE and PE, are being squeezed out from the school day as early as January so more time can be devoted to tested subjects. This situation is even worse for schools in deprived areas, desperate to meet the demands of our punitive accountability system.   

"SATs, and preparation for them, place unacceptable pressure on our children, making them incredibly anxious and not wanting to come to school. Regarding one reading paper, one teacher said they had ‘never seen so many children cry’. Any government truly serious about improving school attendance must take account of the serious impact SATs have on children’s wellbeing.   

"SATs are not a useful or accurate way of assessing what children can do at the end of their primary education. These out-of-date and harmful tests must stop, and learning, not school accountability, must be at the heart of our assessment system." 

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