SATs – the great timewasters

Oh look! At last some action over the wretched SATs testing. About time!

Some schools are boycotting the current tests because they quite rightly believe that SATs disrupt children’s learning, inhibit the good work teachers do and are humiliating to schools, teachers and children. What I’ve never understood is why teachers haven’t done it ages ago.

I do hope it doesn’t make parents panic, conditioned as they are to believe that SATs actually do some good. Many parents want handles to hang onto, in the form of test results, so they can ‘see’ how their child is doing. The sad thing is that SATs results are not a good way of telling how a kid is doing – if you want to know how well your kid is doing get involved and get to know them. If you want to know how well teachers and schools are doing – same – get to know them, get involved.

Ignoring a child’s education for the most part, not being involved with the teachers or schools, and then choosing a test result or a league table as a way of understanding how they’re doing is an absolute disgrace and a cop-out as a parent. Testing is not a way of indentifying individual needs and what’s required to help that child fulfil a potential. It’s just a way of telling how cloned a child is!

It may be of interest to know that while we were home educating our children they never sat a formal test of any sort whatsoever, unless they chose to (swimming, dancing, driving, etc). And neither did many of the other home educating children they were involved with. Yet these children have gone on into further and higher education, integrating back into mainstream education successfully. Perhaps home educated children do so well because they haven’t had their time wasted or their self esteem shot with test taking!

Makes you wonder why all the other thousands of children need to sit them doesn’t it?


One thought on “SATs – the great timewasters

  1. The only way SATs could be useful is if they were just sat at the end of the year with no preparation for them (it is ridiculous to spend all of Year 6 stressing about one test which “really doesn’t matter, but make sure you get 100% in it, children!”). This would test the genuine ability of children with regards to basic maths, English and science skills.

    It’s interesting that you mention the lack of tests in homeschooling, perhaps the other (voluntary) tests in sports, music etc. help to prepare a child for the official fun of testing (for they surely must take a centralised test at some point? at least in university?) and so school tests are unnecessary. I do think that a ‘proper’ exam at the end of Year 6 is somewhat helpful in getting children used to that atmosphere, but not in the way it is currently conducted. For me, the 11+ was the most useful experience for GCSEs etc.

    You make an excellent point about the importance of getting involved with your child or school to judge progress and achievement. Perhaps that return to a closer parent-child-school relationship would be what is needed to help children succeed. And if parents must know some concrete figures for their child’s attainment, don’t they have homework and weekly tests etc. that could indicate their level at school?

    I hope the schools that are boycotting the tests are using the time wisely, though! Some teachers seem completely lost without their SATs timetable.

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