New Government proposals mean that pupils who do not meet the required standard in their SATs will have to resit them in secondary school. The plan is still in the consultation process but already many experts are speaking out against it and nearly 5,000 people have signed a petition opposing it. After the many stories this year about stress and SATs, is it really a good idea to introduce this additional stress in the first few months of secondary school.
The Government claims that by introducing these resits, it ensures all pupils reach the required standard. The idea is that pupils will be able to improve in the first few months of secondary school and will perform much better in a December resit. However, there are several reasons this logic is deeply flawed.
Secondary school is a daunting place for year sevens, it is typically much larger than primary school, meaning there are many pupils and staff they simply don’t know. Should this stressful situation really be compounded by the introduction of examinations? Not only does this pressurise the pupils it also increases a teacher’s workload. At this time, they should be getting to know their new pupils not preparing them for exams.
With the exams in December and school starting in September teachers will only have three to four months in which to help pupils improve. Can enough progress really be made in this time? There is only so much time that can be dedicated to preparing for resits which will impact their ability to improve.
Year seven pupils have their own curriculum to follow and need to work through this. Spending time catching up and preparing for a resit will impact on their progress. Every week they will miss lessons because they need extra help preparing for a SATs resit. This could leave pupils in a state of being permanently behind because catching up would be almost impossible.
What happens if a child doesn’t reach the required standard again? Will they have to resit again, or will they be allowed to focus on their new school. There is no guidance on this situation as yet. This is one of the most pressing issues that has to be resolved in the consultation process.
SATs were originally introduced and are still explained as a measure on schools not pupils. However, by forcing pupils to do resits, it is clearly changing the entire purpose of these examinations. It is not testing the school because they have barely studied there.
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