Today’s poll: Is it time to age standardise tests to remove ‘summer born’ issues?

Durham University’s Professor Stephen Gorard says age effects mean summer born children have lower attainment all the way through school but there is one way to remove the issue: age standardisation of tests. Should we introduce it?

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Comments

  1. irvingphil

    SchoolsImprove cart before horse. If they mean so little we can harmlessly doctor the way they’re assessed, better to just get rid of them.

  2. Janet2

    Scrap the tests altogether.  They have no educational value.  They’re just used to judge schools and don’t tell teachers what they don’t already know.

    And they’re susceptible to cheating.

  3. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove No. It’s time to ditch the public school curriculum in favour of one which makes sense #ReadWriteBuySellCookCleanFix

  4. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove No. It’s time to ditch the public school curriculum in favour of one which makes sense #ReadWriteBuySellCookCleanFix

  5. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove No. It’s time to ditch the public school curriculum in favour of one which makes sense #ReadWriteBuySellCookCleanFix

  6. MissHuntBennett

    SchoolsImprove being a summer born baby and being expected to do what everyone else did I always achieved. High expectations is key

  7. echeadmaster

    SchoolsImprove Misses the point. It’s not the one off effect of born in August, not September, but the year after year cumulative effect…

  8. Mammy Julie

    No, I believe part of the reason summer borns are at a disadvantage is they start formal education before its developmentally appropriate. If the curriculum was accessible to all children regardless of their ability and age there would be no need to adapt the scores. We should have a school system that enables all children to thrive and meet their full potential instead of one that judges them on how well they do in exams.
    If we want to overcome the summer born effect we should look to countries where it doesn’t exist. Finland for example – children don’t start formal education until 7, no standardised testing until they’re in their teens and a child led curriculum and they’re at the top of international education tables and the summer born effect doesn’t exist.

  9. KatherineHarkness

    It’s the social and emotional effects of starting school too early that worry parents of summerborns, not their performance in SATs. I’m sure this would “fix” the problem for schools, but not for the children.

  10. PaulineMHull

    One of the reasons this even persists as a question is because so few people in England are even aware that another solution exists, and that is to allow parents (who want to) to enrol their summer born children in school AT compulsory school age (the term following their 5th birthday), starting in Reception class.
    An early age 4 school start only exacerbates so many of the problems (some) summer born children face, of which academic outcomes is only one aspect (as anecdotal comments will always attest – ‘I was born in August and I excelled academically’).
    How do you age-adjust the summer born child that has achieved top marks? And where do you draw the line on adjusting for educational disadvantage? Should we adjust scores for children from homes where parents don’t read to them or are unable to afford stimulating extra curricular experiences?
    Can we please stop trying to inflict a statistical solution to what is essentially an inherently more ‘human’ problem here?
    Because as far as I can see (especially given that age standardised test results are unlikely to affect opportunities at university or in employment – these institutions are interested to know ‘actual’ academic attainment), the proposed massaging of test results has less to do with what’s in our children’s best interests, and more to do with how we can improve how things look on paper.

  11. Elena

    Totally agree with PaulineMHull. This is nothing, but massaging the figures. But it should be about a child reaching hers or his potential and these adjustments will do precisely nothing to address that. I am very disappointed by the way the question is phrased, very misleading. Age-standardised scoring is no solution to the problem of low attainment, but the “problem” of low test results. But I guess in the current environment of obsessing about test results our educational establishment can thing about nothing but these. Sadly.

  12. MikeHaines20

    SchoolsImprove Bigger Q – who decided all children should reach the same stage of development (eg in reading or number) at the same age?

  13. samdavid

    This completely misses the point. Summer born issues are more than just academic. It effects social, emotional and behaviour because they are just too young. If you are going to simplify the question then focus on CSA being so young in England, then you might find a useful answer.

    Why don’t we just start test them in the womb?

    The summerborn issue is largely allowing the right for summerborns to start school on time in reception, not bullying them into starting earlier.

    By testing them, you will help the statistics but definitely not the problem.

  14. holly

    Wow. This question really highlights a massive flaw in our education system that results are more important that children. Summerborns will continue to suffer, but the problem will be disguised behind a handy set of results.

    Increase the CSA, allow summerborns to start school at CSA in reception and then you will have solutions that will actually be a positive change.

  15. RDut24

    SchoolsImprove SummerBorn issues are more than just academic. It is time to debate the admissions code so sb’s can start reception CSA

  16. jwpetal

    This country is one of 3 countries in the world with a school starting age of 4 with no policy to protect the truly vulnerable.  It is one size fits all system.  Adjusting exams does not change the pressure on these young children being constantly compared to older children over the years.  Some children thrive on this as stated by one of the posts below ‘being a summer born baby and being expected to do what everyone else did I always achieved. High expectations is key’.  

    Others, do not and this is what the issue is… to allow parents with children that require time to develop emotionally and socially to have that time before pushing them academically.  Age standardisation only looks at one issue of education.  We need the whole picture.

  17. stefanrichter

    This question is flawed as it suggests that standardising tests will remove the ‘summer born’ issues. Voting yes OR no to this question seems to be misguided as the answer lies elsewhere: allow children develop at their own pace. Their lowest common denominator is not their date of birth, these are individual human being we are talking about.
    And the mere idea of trying to ‘fix’ anything by adjusting test results seems so misguided it is almost laughable. Sure, the school and education system would look better, but how does the child which was forced to start school at barely 4 benefit from this? 
    Why not rephrase the question: Is it time for the admissions system to provide enough flexibility to allow every child to develop age-appropriately?

    The English education system will indeed be left behind, not because we don’t adjust test results but because we are losing all common sense when it comes to child development.

  18. SusannahK

    Don’t standardise tests, just allow summer born children to enter reception year at Compulsory School Age. Simple.

  19. SusannahK

    Don’t standardise tests, just allow summer born children to enter reception year at Compulsory School Age. Simple.

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