Posted by Peter on 31st July 2010

Key Stage 2 results

Key Stage 2 test results which will be released next week are expected to show that almost 40% of 11 year olds ‘failed’ to hit the national targets in reading, writing and maths. What can we read into results such as these? Actually, very little!
Firstly, teachers at over 4000 schools (about a quarter) boycotted the tests and the NUT claim that this protest makes the results ‘an irrelevance’.
The expected standard at 11 is Level 4, but this has always been an unrealistic target for many children for many reasons. Why the government thinks that national testing improves education standards I do not know. From my own experience of 40 years teaching, real levels of achievement have not changed a great deal as a result of testing. They do tend to improve as a result of inspired teaching.
Perhaps what is more important is how little the Government makes of the data they collect. When making statements about how to improve education they would rather push for the latest fad ideas than for the result of any real evidence based research. This week the Centre for Policy Studies concludes that poor achievement in reading is a result of poor discipline and the absence of ‘synthetic phonics’ as a spelling programme. Yet they have done hardly anything to test this. The trials carried out have been tiny with under 200 children taking part – yet they collect all this data from Key Stage 2 test results from every school in the country, every year and fail to relate it to teaching methods to see what really does work.

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