Schoolchildren face the prospect of tougher new tests at the age of 11 and possibly as young as 5 as part of a government shake-up intended to identify the brightest pupils. This is from the Sunday Times…
Michael Gove, the education secretary, is considering proposals for pupils to take more difficult tests at 11 in maths, English and science where they could be ranked on performance.
Teachers would be able to tell whether, for example, their pupils are in the top or bottom 10% in the country. Experts believe it would help to identify the brightest and the weakest pupils and would force schools to raise standards.
Ministers are also considering plans for a national test at the age of five so teachers know children’s capabilities when they start school. It would provide them with the basis of charting pupils’ progress and help to set targets for them.
The tests might involve, for example, asking five-year-olds how many numbers they recognise up to 10, or whether they can point to objects such as a butterfly or a padlock in a picture. Plans for the tests will not be released tomorrow when David Cameron publishes the national curriculum at a school in north London, but they will be sent out for consultation at a later date.
A senior government source said one option was to publish the scores of 11-year-olds in percentiles. The source said: “We have to see how children are doing compared with others. In Australia at A-level everyone’s results are put into a computer which gives you a ranking, 1, 2, 3, 4… If you were to be in the top 10% at age 11 then you should expect your secondary school to help prepare you for a top university.”
Ministers are agreed that the current levels that 11-year-olds are expected to reach are too low, vague and confusing.
The tests for 11-year-olds would start in 2016. The pass mark will be higher than for the old standard assessment tests and pupils who reach it will be expected to get at least five C grades at GCSE.
What’s your reaction to the prospect of these new tests and the thinking behind them? Would identifying the top 10% at age 11 be helpful? Please share in the comments below, on Twitter or by using this form