Government adviser criticises ‘flawed’ primary school literacy test

A new literacy test for primary school pupils is “flawed” and will not improve the standard of their English, one of the Government’s own advisers has warned. This is from the Telegraph…

The controversial “back to basics” spelling, punctuation and grammar exam is being introduced this year for all 11-year-olds in England despite strong criticism from academics and teaching unions.

One of the experts consulted about the test said it went against the findings of decades of research into how best to teach pupils written English.

Professor Debra Myhill, from Exeter University, said she warned the Government that it was wrong to test children on grammar out of context and suggested that it would give a false impression of their literacy skills.

“I did a very detailed analysis of the test and I had major reservations about it. I think it’s a really flawed test,” she told the Times Educational Supplement.

She added: “The grammar test is totally decontextualised. It just asks children to do particular things, such as identifying a noun.

“But 50 years of research has consistently shown that there is no relationship between doing that kind of work and what pupils do in their writing.

“I think children will do better in the test than they are able to in their writing because it isolates the skills so that children only have to think about one thing at a time.”

Professor Myhill was one of the academics consulted by the Standards and Testing Agency when it was developing the new exam for the final year of primary education.

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