The TES is reporting that Education Minister Nick Gibb has admitted that last year’s highly controversial Sats did not go as “smoothly” as he would have hoped.
Last summer’s tests for Year 6 pupils were the first under the tougher curriculum, and were hit by leaked test papers, complaints from schools about inadequate time to prepare, concerns they were too hard and a boycott by some parents.
Asked what went wrong, Mr Gibb told today’s Education Select Committee hearing on primary assessment that it was “a challenging year”.
“I think things were in place,” he said. “There were issues. For example, we had the breach of security over the grammar and punctuation test, and we had multiple messages that were coming out of the STA [Standards and Testing Agency] that were designed to be helpful for the system, but which I think served to overload the system with multiple communications, and I think that was part of the issue which led to the impression that last year’s Sats were not under control.”
Claire Burton, chief executive of the Standards and Testing Agency said some of last year’s problems were due to delivering changes “over a number of fronts”, although she took responsibility for some STA failings.
She said: “This year I think we have a far greater degree of stability. I think teachers know what to expect. There’s very little change, and we have improved some of our guidance with teacher unions.
“Broadly, I expect it to go far more smoothly this year. I certainly haven’t had any indications in our monitoring that there are any issues emerging. But this is always a very volatile area, and that is almost inevitable.”
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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