As year 6 pupils await the results of this year’s SATs, a new video, featuring celebrities, parents, and teachers is delivering a reassuring message to pupils: “you are more than a score”.
The film features a number of famous faces including author Michael Rosen, comedian Zoe Lyons, podcasters the Scummy Mummies, adventurer Levison Wood, musicians Andy Gangadeen (Orbital) and Dunstan Bruce (Chumbawamba) and Caroline Lucas MP. Each one has a personal message for the country’s 10 and 11-year-olds: SATs don’t measure all the amazing things that you can do.
It has been produced by campaign group More Than A Score, a growing coalition of parents, teachers, heads and education experts calling for an overhaul of the standardised tasting regime in primary schools. They point out that opposition to SATs and other high-pressure testing is growing: all opposition parties have committed to abolishing the tests and over 90% of primary school leaders** believe the system should be changed.
In the video, children are reminded whether they “aced the tests” or “things didn’t quite go to plan”, their results don’t measure a range of other skills, attributes and achievements. For example, SATs don’t measure:
Michael Rosen: “…your imagination, or how well you write a poem”
Zoe Lyons: “…how brilliantly you can tell a joke”
Caroline Lucas MP: “…how much you care about the environment”
Andy Gangadeen: “…how brilliantly you can play the drums”
Dunstan Bruce: “…that when you get knocked down, you get back up again”
The Scummy Mummies: “…how good you are at making people laugh”
Levison Wood: “…how adventurous you might be”
Sara Tomlinson from More Than A Score comments, “By their very nature, SATs can only measure a very narrow set of skills and knowledge, and that has to be under high-pressure exam conditions. In year 6, the curriculum is often narrowed with teaching focused on just English and maths because, ultimately, schools and teachers are judged on the basis of the test results.
“The contributors to our film want to remind children that — whatever their test results — they are capable of so much more. They want 10 and 11-year-olds to be inspired as they move into secondary education, not put off by the experience of taking SATs.
“It shouldn’t be necessary to send this message. Unfortunately, the government remains obsessed with data and league tables and our children continue to endure the consequences. Parents, teachers, heads and experts agree: it’s time to change the system.”
In a recent survey carried out by More Than A Score, 93% of primary school leaders** called for an overhaul of the current standardised assessment system and the same number agreed that SATs do not demonstrate all that a child can do.