Prospect of tough new tests for children at 5 and 11 in new shake-up

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.

More at:  Tough new tests for children at 5 and 11 (subscription required)

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 

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Categories: Policy and Primary.

Comments

  1. TeaLadyJune

    SchoolsImprove ‘in the top 10% @ age 11 then you should expect your sec. school to help prepare you for a top university.” And if not?

    • TeaLadyJune

      Coming soon to a school near you? Wilshaw: What are you doing to stretch your Russell Group Children in Years 7 to 11? SchoolsImprove

  2. ky_kystealey

    SchoolsImprove i’ve never really agreed with testing in Primary. Focus on engaging & helping them to learn, not how to pass tests.

  3. LeilaGhaddab

    SchoolsImprove does that mean the late bloomers & kids who fail due to anxiety should be prepared for the mines?

  4. Jason Clark

    Ridiculous and these tests for 5 year olds have existed for years. It’s called the baseline test and is used to measure and target future performance.

  5. Organic_Jane

    SchoolsImprove Already have enough tests & pressure on primary children. Testing can help in measuring progress but learning more important

  6. hecharden

    SchoolsImprove Is there not a risk that you could reduce aspiration, once labelled as being in the bottom 20% a child could give up?

  7. BethShouler

    cyclingkev nooooooo! Children would wear that rank for years.damaging to self esteem,mental health, stigma and perception #AWFUL

  8. _GeorgiaSampson

    cyclingkev ELNUT2606 I remember my SATS and other tests in primary school. Stressed me out beyond belief. Wouldn’t wish that on any kid

  9. _GeorgiaSampson

    cyclingkev ELNUT2606 I remember my SATS and other tests in primary school. Stressed me out beyond belief. Wouldn’t wish that on any kid

  10. trawetsalocin

    cyclingkev No. We must educate them not force them to jump through hoops every term. There’s enough of that in the adult world of work.

  11. brighton118

    cyclingkev educationgovuk – I remember the trauma of being given a class ranking for years. #awful #self esteem.

  12. brighton118

    cyclingkev educationgovuk – I remember the trauma of being given a class ranking for years. #awful #self esteem.

  13. dmouserules

    cyclingkev MichaelRosenYes Thought that was why 11+ was ended & comps “invented”. Labelling @ 11 is dumb. Comp got a pal from SEN to uni!

  14. dmouserules

    cyclingkev MichaelRosenYes Thought that was why 11+ was ended & comps “invented”. Labelling @ 11 is dumb. Comp got a pal from SEN to uni!

  15. nathalieweide

    SchoolsImprove continual testing breeds fear. Teach children to enjoy learning. Test them when older. Finland anyone?

  16. ColmDavisNI

    SchoolsImprove gosh… 11+ test? Gove determined to have a selection process at 11 where success & failure is reinforced…terrible for SEN

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