Well the count down has now truly begun for SATs week over here in England. Primary school children in Years 2 and 6 will be having the past year's work moderated and tests will be taken. These results will be used to make comparisons and judgements about schools - whether you have lots of children with special needs in your school will be inconsequential when the results are published in the press and the results tables will show who has achieved 100% of their children achieving level 4. Not a very level playing field and once again a very difficult one to truly access the state of education for children with SEN in mainstream schools as many special schools do not publish results due to the small numbers of children sitting the exams.
I am also wary of the local authority moderators who have in the past have come in to my school and made judgements without me present about levels where due to the strange nature of the system being awarded a level 1 or 3 means that a child is decreed to be achieving at a level 1b or 3b whereas a level 2 is published in its three separate categories of either a 2c, 2b or 2a. This has meant that children in my special needs maths group have been given a level 1 and recorded as having reached 1b at age 7 where in fact they are just beginning to consolidate work at a level 1c and are unlikely to progress to a 1b for at least another year due to their very slow (but significant to them) progress. This will therefore mean that it will look like they have stalled in their learning and have made no progress through the coming year - a real help to the poor teachers and students who are trying so hard!! Likewise a bright child who may achieve a level 3c in reality will now due to the government's insistence on increasing attainment be recorded as having achieved a level 3b and be expected to achieve a level 6c in four years time for the school to be judged as "outstanding". If they do not achieve at least a level 5b the school will be classed as in need of improvement!! Great isn't it - and what does this actually benefit anyone in the long run - worn out teachers and children made to jump ever higher and in some cases turned off learning.
I am all for providing a good and stimulating education for children but at what price?
Let me know your views as parents and teachers - are tests and results the be all and end all of a primary education?