What is the context? In a recent speech, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced that a Labour government would scrap the current primary national curriculum assessments, commonly known as SATs, including those taken at the end of Key Stage 2.
Instead, Labour plans to bring forward proposals for a new system that would separate the assessment of schools from the assessment of children, understand the learning needs of each child, and encourage a broad curriculum aimed at a rounded education.
ASCL’s position: ASCL welcomes Labour’s recognition that high stakes test-based accountability has impacted negatively on primary education.
We would support a review of end of Key Stage 2 assessment. These assessments should support schools in preparing children effectively for the next stage of their education, and support stakeholders in effectively holding schools to account for the quality of education they provide.
Why are we saying it? We believe strongly that action needs to be taken to address theimpact of the current high stakes accountability system on primary education. We are also clear, however, that high quality assessment is essential to support children’s learning, and that schools should be held accountable for the education they provide.
We therefore support a review of the end of Key Stage 2 assessment, based on the following principles:
- It should recognise that testing, while an important aspect of pupil learning, is only one of a number of strategies that contribute to our understanding of the quality of children’s education.
- It should consider the role of Key Stage 2 assessment in ensuring pupils leave primary school with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the next phase of their education.
- It should aim to reduce the perverse incentives drive by the current approach to accountability.
- It should include a clear focus on strategies to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils.