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Head teachers query Sats creative writing marks

Category: Headlines

Published: 5th Jul 2011 10:55:45

Many pupils in England have been graded incorrectly in a writing test that forms part of their national curriculum tests known as Sats, head teachers say.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) says many of its members say higher and lower attaining pupils have been graded incorrectly.

The tests were taken in May by pupils in their final year of primary school.

The NAHT says the inconsistencies are making a mockery of the investment of time and energy by pupils and teachers.

One school leader told the NAHT: "My year-six teachers are very experienced in levelling writing and they are horrified - some children who we consider have written level -five writing have been marked right down and others whose writing is definitely not level five have been awarded high marks. It is unbelievable."

Another leader told the union: "One child who used hardly any punctuation has been awarded four points, while another who correctly punctuated has been given two points."

"None of the children's scores were an accurate reflection of their ability or teachers' assessment," said another.

General secretary Russell Hobby said: "Anyone who thinks that external tests are somehow an 'objective' measure of pupils' achievement should be rapidly disabused of the notion by this year's second exam fiasco.

"Inconsistencies abound this year, along with stark examples of low quality control.

"As a nation, we pour massive sums of money into setting and marking Sats - money which could be far better spent on teaching children.

"We can only hope that the government pays serious attention to the recommendations of Lord Bew for more teacher assessment.

"This is another nail in the coffin for testing as a gold standard of assessment. Certainly the case for the end of the writing test is now cut and dried."

In June, a review of Sats by Lord Bew recommended the creative writing test should be scrapped and children's creative writing skills assessed by teachers.

But Lord Bew said pupils should still face official tests of spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as reading and maths.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Any school which disagrees with the results for any pupils is able to request a review of the marking."

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