Why SATs don’t work!

At the end of the 90s a shift in education began; (for the very best this shift came much earlier) the idea of personalised learning became popular; and rightly so – every educator, parent and pupil know they are different from others; they are individuals.

As individuals, all learners need to be treated and educated as such. Schools went to work on the idea of personalise learning – and did a great job, especially when children were part of the assessment and planning process.

Exciting themed curriculums, building learning power, assessment for learning and the use of technology encouraged youngsters to set their own targets, present learning in a variety of ways and grow as collaborative, empathic individuals.

This was refreshing and the great news is that this still happens in the best schools, facilitated by outstanding practitioners who live a breathe learning.

There is a however a ‘BUT’ – A thought weaver blog wouldn’t be complete without a ‘rant’,’ a ‘catch’ or ‘however’. It will therefore come as no surprise that all of the positivity above comes with a huge dose of irony!…

So here goes; whilst talented, dedicated practitioners facilitate personalised learning, independent thinking and an approach that gives children the habits and disposition that will last them a lifetime, education is still in the grip of league tables and examinations.

What’s our point? League table are based on ‘standardised’ tests, test that are devoid of any independent thinking, are personal to no-one, where any sort of collaboration is not only frown upon, but is called cheating!

Real learning cannot be measured; by its very nature, creativity canning be scored, it’s hugely difficult to test collaboration and we can’t count how many questions children ask. Or from a different perspective, during the 2011 SATs tests the children never needed to use ICT, ask questions, collaborate and assess. To make matters worse, many questions/or the language used had no relationship to their own lives. (What on earth is a ‘Frond’ – Michael Rosen has plenty to say about the reading test! supporting the point we make here http://tinyurl.com/5vuerrx)

Children are not statistics, they shouldn’t be treated as a cell in an excel document (or even worse a raise online stick person) and year 6 children are not football teams competing in a league tables.

Children are individuals, on their own learning journey. Will they be successful? Perhaps the pupils should ultimately be the judge!

The Thought Weavers


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