‘The primary assessment system is an endless anxiety merry-go-round, driven by an engine of mistrust’

The TES reports that by participating in the primary assessment consultation, we’re taking a step to act as the defenders of our children’s educational experience and their mental health, writes one of the winners of the TES School Awards.

I recently submitted my views for the primary assessment consultation. I found it a difficult exercise because the questions were asking for responses to things that I did not want to discuss and yet did not ask about the things I really wanted to consider.
The assessment consultation invites us to respond on how to measure progress – from key stage 1 or from Reception? It does not ask why a baseline is necessary. Schools are awash with data on pupil progress, none of which will be enhanced by inclusion in league tables.

Testing everybody in a set week in May means that we test many children on what they do not yet know. Is this not a recipe for low self-esteem for many of our children?

Why is it that we have to give these tests to all of the children at the same time, regardless of readiness? Is it to prevent teachers warping results by practising papers with children before using them?

The effect of stressing such young brains so intensely for such a prolonged period is only just beginning to show. The constant hamster wheel that our children are on during their school lives is taking its toll.

Is it any wonder that mental health statistics are beginning to build a frightening picture of our children and young people’s stress levels and wellbeing?

We are continuing to slide down international tables that gauge the happiness of young people, in a relentless attempt to rise up the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tables, in which our position is stagnating.​
Are you worried when you read articles like this? Do you feel the same way? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Exams, Mental Health and Primary.

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