While most of us were munching through baskets of chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday members at the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Brighton were voting to ballot for a boycott of all primary school tests in England.
I admire the dedication to their profession, working over the holidays, yet alarmed at their resistance to testing.
Delegates at the conference heard warnings that schools had become “exam factories”, spurring many of them to vote in favour of the ballot to boycott tests taken by seven and 11-year-olds and baseline tests – used as a benchmark to monitor a child’s progression.
As a mother of an eight-year-old, I feel children aren’t tested enough. The earlier you introduce testing the better a child’s chances of success; it empowers them, prepares them for life’s challenges.
If introduced early enough and without fuss, it becomes second nature.
Surely, this can only enhance a child’s education, highlight areas that need to be worked on or subjects where acceleration is required.
Master A spent a few days at Summer School where he worked on his timetables, reading and spellings. Before joining, he was tested to see where he was academically within the National Curriculum.
The educator running the programme showed me the results – two year groups ahead in spelling and reading; exactly where he needed to be with his timetables. She was surprised when I told her that this was the first time I had heard anything about his capabilities.
This short test – which didn’t faze Master A due to the way it was handled by the educator – highlighted the areas where the school could focus with my son. It also helped me as parent to understand how I could work better with my son.
I’m sure I am not alone in wanting the best education for my son, to know that he is being nurtured, encouraged, pushed and challenged. Testing a child at every step of the way can highlight this – it also can show which teachers are doing an amazing job, which are not. And there’s the rub.