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Children are worrying about SATs tests

(125 Posts)
Eloethan Tue 12-May-15 00:30:24

I heard on the radio today that it has been claimed some young children are getting really stressed out about SATs tests - being unable to eat, sleep etc. (though I was a bit surprised to hear that some of them are smoking - surely not).

I probably would have thought there was a lot of exaggeration going on but when I went to the school to read with the children the other day, one of the teachers told me the little girl in her class wouldn't be available this week because the class was doing "special work". She put her hand to her face and mouthed the word "SATs" to me. So obviously the teachers in that school feel it advisable to disguise the fact that the children are actually being tested.

I think it's total madness that children are being subjected to this sort of stress and fear of failure at so young an age. I would have thought these days many of them have enough to contend with already without piling more pressure on.

Iam64 Tue 12-May-15 08:18:18

I agree Eloethan, total madness to put the children under such stress and in primary schools as well. Some of the 6 year olds in year 1 taking sats this time will have arrived in school last September, with no English, never having attended school/nursery before and often having suffered all manner of stress and upheaval in their short lives. What is the point of putting them, or their teachers, under this kind of pressure.

vampirequeen Tue 12-May-15 08:52:39

SATS have nothing to do with education or assessment. They're designed to allow an inaccurate league table to be compiled. Why inaccurate? Well say a school enters 20 children into the SATS. Each child is worth 5% of the total results. If a school enters 10 children each child is worth 10%. 50 children...2%. You get the idea. So if a 5% child is absent on SATS day then the school's results drop more than if a 2% child was absent.

I have known children take the SATS with a bucket next to them as they've had stomach upsets and shouldn't have been in school. Their parents waited in the school and took them home straight after the exam. Another year the Year 6 teacher drove to a child's house and brought him to school. Yet another time I went to a child's house to get them out of bed. None of these situations were for the benefit of the child but their absences would have affected the school's place in the league table and would have been held against them by OFSTED.

The other problem with the league table is that one year you could have an exceptionally bright year group. They do well in the SATS and the school ends up in say 10th place. The following year group has more strugglers. Still achieving their full potential but the school falls to 60th place. The teaching hasn't changed. The curriculum hasn't changed.

Mishap Tue 12-May-15 08:59:37

The SATs are iniquitous. Teachers have no choice but to try and coach for them as the school's OfSted and place in the league tables are influenced by them. The league tables are a total nonsense, because of the limited range of things that they measure.

In the school where I am governor, one year group has just 2 children in it and one of those has special needs!

Thankfully the head is a sensible person, who makes light of the SATs and the children barely know that they are being tested - the school tries to make it just feelart of a normal day.

A prime of example of regressive policies that seem OK when sketched out on the back of an envelope, but are not workable in practice.

Good teachers know the stage each pupil is at and respond accordingly - they do not need this nonsense.

Mishap Tue 12-May-15 08:59:55

"feel part"!

Agus Tue 12-May-15 09:04:15

Thankfully we don't have SATS in Scotland. Dreadful thing to put primary pupils through.

Nelliemoser Tue 12-May-15 09:11:15

B league tables, mean schools get increasingly worried if pupils dont acheive because the league tables don't "look good". So that is an extra pressure which goes on.

All schools are very different in terms of their pupil intake as far as how well prepared the children are when they enter school and what experiences or lack of they have had at home.

Schools are rarely working on a level playing field with regard to these important factors of the demograpics of the school catchment area.

Some schools have poor teaching and leadership which can drag down the whole school very quickly.
Near to me a boys comprehensive, which had been a grammar school and several years ago a private school, somehow got its self into special measures because of the management.
This was in a generally prosperous rural area.

ninathenana Tue 12-May-15 09:14:00

I have sat with a not so able group of year one pupils and read the questions to them, and re phrase the question as I thought necessary. Never, I might add assisting with the answers.

This was on the instruction of the class teacher. I would consider this manipulating the results for the benefit of the school.

Brendawymms Tue 12-May-15 09:17:12

My youngest grandson age 8 was set a homework test relating to numbers. I don't say math because it had nothing to do with that subject in my opinion. It took his mum, who has a PhD and I who love numbers, some time to find the three possible correct answers.
No wonder children don't like math if numbers are treated in the way they were.
If that homework is an example of the work kids have to do in SAT tests heaven help them.
On testing in general, I remember as a child in the 1950's frequently being tested in school with regular exams and reading checks and that was in junior school.

glassortwo Tue 12-May-15 09:19:38

My DGD in year 2 is doing her sats at the moment, but the children are not made aware so have no pressure, not sure how its handled with the older children.

rosequartz Tue 12-May-15 09:22:17

Children in Wales do not take SATS but they do take tests in National Reading and Numeracy.
DGD (y2) took them all last week; some parents have been really wound up about these tests and I wonder if that anxiety transferred to their children.
DS and SIL took a more relaxed attitude (after all, she is only 6) and DGD, when asked how she felt about the tests, said she was really enjoying them!

thatbags Tue 12-May-15 10:05:25

In the last two years of my primary school career (I don't remember before that but it was probably similar), we had Tests (devised by the school itself I presume; they were not national tests) every term. Testing in primary schools is not new and I suppose kids getting stressed about them isn't either.

It does seem odd that in the half century since my primary school days, we haven't deviously hidden from children's eyes the assessment of their academic achievements.

annodomini Tue 12-May-15 10:06:00

DGS1 is doing SATs this week. His school is brilliant with lots of activities in which he participates with enthusiasm. But they still have to teach to the tests which does not enrich the pupils' experience of primary school. His cousin, a year younger, is already in full SATs mode and his parents have engaged a maths tutor because they were dissatisfied with the school's teaching. I don't comment.

rosequartz Tue 12-May-15 10:12:32

There have always been tests; I remember the DC doing Richmond tests in the 1980s.

It's the league tables that should be abolished.

Juliette Tue 12-May-15 10:19:43

Like thatbags I remember the last two years of junior school being pressurised. A test in the third year determined whether you took the 11+ the following year. There was no media involvement back then so I suppose it wasn't quite as intense.
DGS has his first GCSE today, lots of pressure there, just hope he's up and revising. hmm

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 12-May-15 10:48:10

DD is doing KS1 SATs this week. School call it "hard working week" and none of the kids seem to be bothered about it. We had a meeting about it at school and were impressed with the way the school handles all of this stuff.

FlicketyB Tue 12-May-15 11:04:41

Children worry about SATS because the adults around them convey their sense of anxiety to the children and the children reflect it.

Exams and tests, with places announced so we knew who was first and last were common place when I was at primary school and I cannot remember every worrying about them - and that was not because I always did well, I didn't. Nor can I remember anyone else being bothered. DC never worried about tests either - and they too had them regularly with special SAT type tests at the end of each year. I think they never worried because I didn't. DGD did SATS last year and, despite being a worrier, seemed unfazed because I think both home and school took them calmly.

Mishap Tue 12-May-15 11:16:37

"Children worry about SATS because the adults around them convey their sense of anxiety to the children and the children reflect it."

That about sums it up - the teachers are put under pressure because of the potential to influence the league tables and that conveys itself to the children. I do not know a single teacher who thinks that SATs enhance education in any way.

TriciaF Tue 12-May-15 11:27:14

I've never seen the Sats tests, but wonder if they're more difficult than these from the '50s:

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 12-May-15 12:06:34

I can't for the life of me think what's wrong with, "the bishop and another fellow then entered the hall".

Purpledaffodil Tue 12-May-15 12:37:52

Answers at the bottom of it Jings. It says it should be 'gentleman' not fellow.however it could mean an academic fellow couldn't it? Total DM rubbish.

Ana Tue 12-May-15 12:49:40

The DM didn't set the questions or provide the answers, Purpledaffodil.

jingl I can only assume that in the 1950s 'fellow' was considered a slang word.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 12-May-15 14:32:48

Ah yes! Daft that innit?! grin. And for 11 year olds! shock

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 12-May-15 14:35:29

I guess we are not so reverential towards bishops these days. grin

TriciaF Tue 12-May-15 15:16:38

Things have certainly changed.
Some of the sums are hard too - I think there was a time limit on finishing the questions.