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TOPIC: Exams

Exams 9 years 9 months ago #8344

Hi Dadtalkers

Some advice please - our house has been stress city this week what with Year 6 SATs and Year 9 tests. Arguments galore so I need to prepare myself for the dread GCEs - any top tips or should i just move out for a few weeks!!!

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Re: Exams 9 years 9 months ago #8355

It is a sad reality that there is still too much pressure placed on young children and their families due to the over-emphasised importance of 'getting a good level' in their SATs/end of Key Stage tests, tests which carry little importance educationally. It is particularly sad, as all the progress that a child has made throughout their time at a particular Key Stage is merely distilled into a snapshot assessment that counts for very little, without any opportunity to recognise achievements that a child has made along their learning journey.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against assessment - it is important to measure improvements in the ability to learn and to benchmark this as part of a child's educational progress. It is essential for a child to know their potential and what they need to do to reach it. Research shows that 'formative feedback' is one of the strongest factors influencing a child's progress. This means telling a child what they need to do to improve [specific strategies, targeted at specific aspects of learning], not just labelling them with a level. There are simply better ways of doing this than with SATs/end of Key Stage tests throughout their pre-16 learning.

At Key Stage 4, GCSEs/BTEC are important, as they have a direct impact on your child's life choices, such as opening doors to further education [including influencing university selection], offering opportunities to get a good job. And don't forget that the vast majority of GCSEs include a 'coursework' or modular element, recognising learning achievements along the journey, which is fairer.

Anyway, to get to the important bit. Here are some useful links to help you support your child:

DirectGov: helping your child to learn
DirectGov: information about tests
Dept for Education: information for parents
Dept for Education: parental engagement resources

I hope they help you find a way to enjoy learning together, but above all else, never lose sight of the fact that our children are whole, and not just the sum of some assessment scores. If all else fails, give them a cuddle, look into their eyes and remind yourself that you love each other for the people you are [and you can't get a GCSE in Love].

Good Luck!

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