Last year, teaching Year 2 during SATs, was really unpleasant. What kind of society makes seven-year-olds sit exams when the sun is shining?
Anyway, this year I’ve been making the arrangements for optional Y4 and Y5 tests, and at the same time looking at how the papers have changed. I have come to an interesting, if unscientific conclusion – the 2006 SATs papers were easier by a mile than the 2001 papers. The TA who works in my class also noticed it, as did our teaching student.
“Why are they easier?” they asked.
“Who benefits from making it appear that our children are doing better at tests than they really are?” I answered, mischievously.
In a completely unrelated incident (!) my class has written to Tony Blair as part of a literacy project, asking him about Fairtrade products. We had a letter back from 10 Downing Street today, and I don’t think they’ve ever been as animated. Nine- and ten-year-olds engaged and excited by playing a part in the political process! We may test these kids to destruction, but I think there’s hope for us all yet…