Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Year 2 SATs - an alternative view

"What are SATs?" asked my 7 year old daughter recently, as I dropped them into a conversation about the state of the school hall and how I couldn't walk through it for all the exam tables that had been set up.

You see, neither she nor her twin brother have any idea that they are taking the tests this year.  That's how the school have played it with the Year 2 children and I'm rather glad.

Now I've been through SAT's many times before.  I blogged about the Year 6 tests that my middle child took last year, and how I thought that the hysteria surrounding them had mainly come from how so many schools/parents approach them.  Our own Primary School was particularly bad at this (working them hard and then promoting relaxation techniques to 11 year olds, FFS) .

With the Year 2 SATs I'm not so sure this is the case.  My children have been to two different Primary Schools between them and none of them have ever been aware that the tests are even taking place.  The school my eldest son went to did refer to them as "clever testing" which rather appealed to my son as he liked the idea of potentially beating a clever test.  Shame that he doesn't see his upcoming GCSEs in the same light but you can't have it all.

My twins have been given some practise books for English and Maths, but with the strict instruction that completing them is optional.  This means that my eager to please, rule loving daughter has finished them while my very laid back, homework hating son has just said he doesn't need to do them because he knows it all already.  I see shades of the teen boy in him which is a slight worry.

But none of this matters.  The tests are testing the school, not the children as I understand it, and why wouldn't you want to know how well your school is teaching your children?  I know I do.

And the results?  I can't actually remember how well any of my older children did in their SATs*.  The results were buried somewhere on the back page of their report along with an explanation of the grading system which resembled a light novel in size.  I'll confess, I got really bored and stuffed the whole lot in a drawer never to see the light of day again.  The kids didn't even ask how well they'd done.

In a couple of week's time nobody will remember anything about them anyway.  We'll all be talking about the end of year concert and how we can get out of being volunteered for the face painting stall at the PTA Summer Fair.

As for after SATs parties, we won't be going to one of those either.  They aren't finals for god's sake. Either that or I've missed the memo about what a life defining point the Year two tests are?  Don't even get me started on High School Proms - a blog for another day.

So, another year, another bunch of tests.  That's how I'm looking at it.

I just wish everybody else did too.

*  You can pop my 'Mother of the Year' award in the post now if you like.

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