Children are More Than A Score

More Than A Score is here to change the way children are assessed and schools are judged.

Primary school children in England are let down by a system that cares more about measurement than education. It’s damaging, and they deserve better, especially now. Because in 2020,  the government is pressing on with SATs, phonics and multiplication tests straight after the disruption – and, for some, distress and bereavement – of months of lockdown.

We want pupils to enjoy an exciting learning experience and then move on to secondary school with a love of learning. We don’t want them spending months cramming for government tests. We believe schools should be judged on the overall quality of education they provide, not the results of a narrow set of standardised tests.

Our #DropSATs2021 campaign supports teachers who want to stimulate young minds and expand their knowledge and creative problem-solving skills, rather than having to “teach to the test”.

Add your voice to the campaign to change the system for the better.

Did you know?

Children face formal government tests in four out of the seven primary school years:

Year 1:  Phonics Screening Check
Year 2:  Key Stage 1 SATs English and maths
Year 4:  Multiplication Tables Check
Year 6:  Key Stage 2 SATs papers in English and maths, written under exam conditions.

From 2021, children in reception class will also be tested in English and maths within the first few weeks of starting school.

To find out what tests your child will be facing in 2020/21, visit our Parents Guide.

SATs don't work

The current system of standardised tests (SATs) for year 6 pupils makes no sense, least of all in these uncertain times. Designed to measure schools’ performance and improve their position on the government league table, it’s certainly not working out that way.

Children are under pressure to do well and teachers waste months of learning time “teaching to the test” across a narrow curriculum of just two subjects.

This situation has been made worse by the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic. Year 6 should be a time for children to expand their knowledge and discover a love of learning; yet now they find themselves facing high-pressure Key Stage 2 SATs papers in English and maths, taken under exam conditions. These are stressful for both teachers and pupils and do nothing to benefit children’s learning.

We believe that what children need is low-intensity, teacher-led assessments that identify and bridge the gaps in their knowledge. This will give them the education they deserve while supporting their safety, mental health and wellbeing after the instability and distress caused by Covid-19.

Click here to download and share our leaflet which explains what you really need to know about SATs.

Testing four-year-olds makes no sense

This autumn, four-year-olds across England have taken a major step forward as they start school. It’s an exciting time, made all the more so by the welcome news that the introduction of Reception Baseline Assessment has been delayed.

Due to Covid-related school closures and More Than A Score’s campaigning efforts, the government has postponed its planned tests for four-year-olds until September 2021.

These screen-based maths and English tests are roundly condemned by teaching professionals as a time-wasting tick-box exercise whose only purpose is to judge schools against each other. In fact, the British Educational Research Association states that it’s impossible to get reliable data from testing four-year-olds, least of all within six weeks of starting school.

If you agree that it’s madness to make small children who have just started school take tests, please sign our petition.

The phonics check is nonsense

At the age of five, reading should be opening up a whole new world of discovery. Instead, Year 1 pupils spend their time learning ‘nonsense’ words in preparation for the phonics check.

Described by the government as a ‘light-touch’ assessment, recent research has revealed that the test causes children stress and confuses good young readers.

This state of affairs will only be compounded in 2020/21, because year 1 pupils who missed the Phonics Check during the pandemic will have to take catch-up tests in the autumn term 2020 as they start year 2. In other words, just as they’re starting year 2, many cases this means they will have to go back to what they learned in year 1 purely to sit the Phonics Check.

We believe learning to read is far too important to put such pressure on young children, as well as their teachers. The only purpose of these ludicrous test results is to judge schools, which are then expected to achieve a higher pass mark year after year.

Say no to the times tables test

Knowing their times tables introduces children to the exciting world of numbers, patterns and problem-solving techniques. It’s a pathway to understanding maths. But a standardised government times tables test for year 4 children is an unnecessary and unfair burden on pupils and teachers.

No one doubts that a quick recall of tables helps children to solve more complicated mathematical problems; however, schools already teach and assess times tables – this new test doesn’t tell school professionals anything they don’t already know about a child’s mathematical ability.

Add your voice to the More Than A Score coalition of teachers, headteachers, governors, parents and education experts in our call to scrap this unhelpful, time-wasting test. Let’s scrap it in 2021.

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