Richard Garner: Too much teaching to tests has an impact on learning


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The Independent Online

At least the headline figure of the percentage of pupils achieving fluency in the three Rs by the time they leave primary school is moving modestly upwards.

Very modestly (one percentage point in both maths and English), it has to be admitted but better than stagnation or decline.

No, the real worry behind this year's national curriculum test results is the fact that the percentage of high flyers in English – those doing better than expected – is going down and the percentage with a standard in English of a seven-year-old or younger is going up.

Both of these factors could be due to schools concentrating on the high stakes of the league tables – which rank schools on the percentage of pupils achieving the basic level. Too much teaching to the test is boring to the high flyers and of no use to those who have fallen significantly behind. One can have only hope the changes agreed by the Lord Bew review of testing with their concentration on teacher assessment in writing will play their part in rectifying this.