Boycotting Standardized Tests

Recently about 1,900 schools in England

boycotted the Sats.

What are the Sats?

They are NOT the American college admission exams called SATS.

The Sats are national assessments taken by 7, 11 and 14 year olds. Basically they test reading, writing and math in 4 exams that last less than an hour each.

The exams are sent to external markers who grade the papers. The results also form School League Tables, which allow schools to be compared.

What is the controversy?

The Pros

Parents like the Sats because it allows them to compare schools and as well as keep tabs on their child’s performance.

The government likes the “factual statistics,” which allows some transparency on schools’ effectiveness.

The Cons

Teachers and staff feel they have to “teach to the test,” rather than creating the best curriculum for their child.

Pupils face immense pressure to perform well on test day.

There are also concerns about the fairness of the marking.

How does School Choice International weigh in?

It is hard to ignore the multitude of studies on the (extreme!) inefficacy of standardized tests in predicting future academic performance. Standardized tests have also long been criticized for gender, culture and class bias.

“Longstanding gaps in scores between males and females of all races show that females on average score 35-40 points lower than males on the SAT I, but receive better high school and college grades.” www.fairtest.org

Regardless, at School Choice International, we believe strongly in best fit when we place a child in a school. Some students might thrive in a highly competitive environment, while others may find it stifling and have high levels of intrinsic motivation. Tests like the Sats tend to create excitement around schools that score well, but not excellent schools that cultivate well-rounded students.

How do YOU weigh in?

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Read the full BBC article.

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One Response to Boycotting Standardized Tests

  1. Karen says:

    Great post. This could be a FOW.

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