[ProgressiveEd] For your attention

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Thu, 1 May 2003 14:47:54 +0000 (UTC)

Linda spotted this on the EducationGuardian.co.uk site and thought you should see it.
To see this story with its related links on the EducationGuardian.co.uk site, go to http://education.guardian.co.uk
Teachers want to abandon SATS
Staff and agencies
Wednesday October 16 2002
The Guardian
More than 90% of teachers want to boycott national tests for seven-year-olds, according to a poll carried out by the National Union of Teachers. 
And 84% want to abandon all national testing at seven, 11 and 14 because of the narrowing focus the government-led initiatives in literacy and numeracy have on the curriculum.
Two-thirds said the tests were not educationally worthwhile for their pupils.  Fewer than one in five said they helped identify areas of improvement for their pupils and almost 44% said they did not allow pupils to demonstrate what they had learnt and understood.
On Monday, an Ofsted report, based on the inspection of 30 top schools, found the government's drive to improve literacy and numeracy partly through the key stage testing did not adversely affect the breadth of the curriculum.
If teachers were better managers of classroom time, there should be no adverse impact on other subjects such as music and art, the Ofsted report argued.
But today's results of a poll of 3,000 teachers found a very different experience in the classroom. More than 1,200 believed the tests had led to a deterioration in pupils' behaviour.
The survey also revealed the level of teachers' contempt for the use of test results in school league tables; 94% of teachers opposed the use of test results for school league tables and a similar proportion said such tables should not be published. Tests at 11 are used to rank primary schools in national league tables.
Nearly 80% (77.4%) of teachers polled thought the tests were unsuitable for pupils with English as a second language, and 88.3% thought the same for pupils with learning difficulties.
Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, said the survey showed overwhelming opposition to the tests, and a clear desire to move towards a "more supportive and helpful system".     "Their [the teachers'] desire to be rid of these tests and the resultant league tables is based on straightforward educational grounds. The tests narrow the curriculum, limiting children's opportunities, and the downward pressure from league tables forces teachers to teach to the test. 
"The vast majority of our members have made it clear that they would willingly vote to boycott these tests in conjunction with members of other teacher organisations."
A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said: "If we want a world class education system then we need to test how children  are performing. We make no apologies for publishing the results of tests - we  are not going back to the days of the 70's when parents had little or no  information about the education of their children.
"It is only right that they and others can see how well schools and the  education system are performing." 
Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited