Sats reading paper: Government defends ‘challenging’ tests

Sats reading paper: Government defends 'challenging' tests

After some parents and teachers complained that a paper on this week’s Sats was too difficult, the government in England has defended the tests that Year 6 students take.

The English reading test, according to one head of school, contained “GCSE-level” questions. Some students did not finish the paper because they were in tears.

Teachers and parents have been divided over what Sats are for.

BBC News was informed by a spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) that the tests were “designed to be challenging.”

In the past, the government had stated that it worked to guarantee that “all tests are appropriate.”

However, when asked for additional feedback on the English reading test, the Department for Education (DfE) stated that Sats needed to be challenging “in order to measure attainment across the ability range, including stretching the most able children.”

The government has advised that the content of the test paper’s details should not be made public until all Year 6 students have taken it.

Students in Years 2 and 6 take Sats to evaluate their reading, writing, and math abilities as well as their schools’ performance.

The head teacher at Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, described it as “heartbreaking” to observe her students struggling to complete the reading paper.

Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson, who has two young little girls who have taken their GCSEs in the beyond couple of years, said: ” I’m not an optional English instructor, but rather… a portion of those questions were most certainly of that level. It is simply unfair.”

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson hopes this year's pass mark will be lowered

Mrs. Hewitt-Clarkson is hopeful that the DfE’s Standards and Testing Agency will consider lowering the pass mark this year in response to the difficulty experienced by some students.

“It just shows all the flaws of a system that depends almost entirely on one test,” she said, “for children to fail – or not achieve the standardised score – where we know in class they have been performing at an age-related expected level, or above.”

The public authority says it changes over youngsters’ crude grades into “scaled scores” so that tests can measure up, regardless of whether the trouble differs.

Heather, from Ipswich, said her child found the current week’s Sats cycle “totally fine”.

She stated to BBC Radio 5 Live, “Our school puts very little pressure on our children for the Sats.” It’s been a seriously sure encounter.”

Yet, Davina Bhanabhai, an essayist from Leeds, said her girl was “truly bothered” by the English perusing paper on Wednesday.

The children were distraught, anxious, and stressed when they left. “We don’t want our children to grow up with these three feelings,” she told BBC News.

She went on to say, “The teachers are stressed because that’s the only way they can show that they’re doing their job.” Naturally, that stress will be passed on to the children because they want to do well.

The National Education Union (NEU) and the NAHT, two education unions, have expressed concerns regarding the paper.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, added that there were “better ways of assessing students” than Sats.

What is sats?

At the conclusion of Key Stage 2, children take the Standard Assessment Tests, or Sats. They are public educational plan appraisals in English language, accentuation and spelling, English perusing and maths.

According to the government’s Standards and Testing Agency, Sats tests are designed to:

  • assist with estimating understudies’ advancement
  • distinguish in the event that they need any additional assistance in specific regions
  • survey schools’ exhibitions
  • produce public execution information.
  • Youngsters additionally sit Sats in Year 2, toward the finish of Key Stage 1.

Last year, 59% of Year 6 understudies met the normal levels in perusing, composing and maths – down from 65% in 2019.

The public educational program tests were dropped in 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic.

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