End 'toxic' exams and test pupils on subjects they like, says report

Teachers and parents of primary school children should be allowed to choose which exams their children sit, a think-tank recommends, as a way of countering the "toxic" effect of universal assessments.

The report for Demos by James Park, founder of the charity Antidote which campaigns for a focus on "emotional literacy", says the current system of testing every pupil in the same way is damaging their interests. It argues that tests in a variety of subjects should be available so parents and teachers can select the subject the child is most interested in for testing at 11, while still assessing literacy and numeracy.

"People become good at things – whether doing long division, writing elegant sentences … or competing in basketball – because they practise them persistently and purposefully," it says, "…to practise them, they have to see the point."

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