Letter: School tests: pluses and minuses

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Sir: We are 14-year-old pupils from a comprehensive school in Gloucestershire who feel strongly about the Standard Assessment Tasks (Sats) examinations. We would like to express our views on them because we haven't seen any opinions from other pupils. We compiled a list of reasons for and against the Sats, and came up with three reasons for doing them and almost 20 against.

The reasons for doing them were as follows:

1. They might prepare us for big exams like the GCSEs; but if that is the reason, why have mock GCSEs?

2. They might give us some idea of how we're doing at school; but if that is so, what are parents' evenings, records of achievement and tests throughout the year for?

3. We might not have done the work on Shakespeare had it not been for the Sats, but we've learnt it all now and have been tested on it three times. What is the point in being tested again?

Listed below are some of the points against the Sats:

1. None of the pupils or teachers will do their best if they have watched the news lately.

2. The great majority of teachers and parents disagree with the Sats, but we still have to do them.

3. We have done all the learning for the Sats and have been tested on most of the work after each topic over the last three years. We will have to revise all this work when we could be learning new things.

4. The cost of doing these exams is enormous and if schools decide to boycott them they can be fined precious money that could be used more productively.

5. They are essentially to test the teachers and compare the schools, which seems rather unfair on us.

6. Unless the exams are carried out on all pupils, not just those who go to state schools, the results do not give a fair overall picture.

We hope this letter gives a reasonable pupil's point of view of the Sats and gives you some idea of how we feel.

Yours faithfully,



Horsley, Gloucestershire

29 April