SATS and our Children

The big controversy over SATS rolls on . As a professional working with children for 40 years and as a Dad and Grandad I have done a lot of thinking over the years about how we test children in our education system.

Of course we all need to know (the Government, the education authorities, and us as parents) how our education system is working for all our children.

BUT , to me it is a real anomaly that we decide to test children under stress. It is an accepted fact that when we are stressed we adopt what is called the “Fight or Flight ”  response. Some people “fight” and some “take flight”! During this reaction other thought processes slow down or even stop! Especially those “creative” thought processes.

This adrenalin reaction is driven by what is called the “reptilian” part of our brain – the oldest most basic self preservation primal behaviour. We as adults cannot control this reaction.

So .. the question is ? – why put children under stress and then test them as to their progress. The results are bound to vary greatly by the child’s “fight or flight ” response.

Surely assessment should be a regular on-going process by teachers who have been trained to have level  (but high) expectations of all the children in their care and then assess the child’s progress against those expectations and National standards.

Teachers should be the best placed person to judge a child’s progress because they should KNOW each child.

All of this would depend on teacher training ensuring that teachers under stand this need to know each child and to be aware that children can be influenced by teachers’ expecations.

Maybe I’ve got this wrong but I’d love to hear the opinions of parents and teachers on these thoughts.