SATs must go
by Sonia Sodha
There is no question that SATs are unfit for purpose. Even the government’s Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has argued SATs have narrowed the curriculum in English schools. They are too easily gamed by schools through ‘teaching to the test’, and they thus encourage risk-averse teaching in classrooms. Moreover, they are a very poor measure of an individual pupil’s progress – experts have estimated that around a third of Key Stage 2 tests and 43 per cent of Key Stage 3 tests are misclassified by at least a level, and that to increase accuracy to 90 per cent correct classification, the tests would each need to be over 30 hours long!
It’s unsurprising then that there has long been a consensus within the education community that SATs must go. It seems that at last, the government has conceded that SATs are not the most useful way either to hold schools accountable, or to act as a guide of an individual pupil’s progress.