Sunday, 11 May 2008

More proofs

Another glorious day in Cambridge, but I spent most of it indoors reading the proofs of Tales of Terror from the Black Ship to myself. This is my last chance to spot any errors or make any changes before I return them to Helen Szirtes at Bloomsbury tomorrow.

My son starts his SATs tests tomorrow. SATs are a curious phenomenon in England. The school spends months training the children to do the tests, which were intended as an assessment on the standard of teaching, and then take credit from the results. Perhaps they ought to pay the children for providing them with good PR. I would not mind if I thought that the tests and the endless preparation for them provided a format to reinforce learning, but I see little evidence of that.

If schools are going to be judged on the results of the tests, then of course they are going to train the children to do them. But SATs seem to have taken up nearly the entirety of Year 6. I struggle to think of any brand new information my son has taken on in the whole year. What History has he learned? What art has he done? Where is the creative writing? And when they are over, the children will do nothing new. It seems absolutely crazy to me.

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