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Critical Aspects Of The Education System

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One of the most critical aspects of the education system is the assessment of pupils learning. Biggs & Tang (2011) determine that “assessment is the senior partner in the instructional process. Get it wrong, and everything else collapses” (page 195-7). Assessment is one of the most important aspects of teaching and learning, it ensures that student learning is checked and conclusions are made, to put it simply, assessment shows how well pupils have learned what they were supposed to, and it is the only feasible way to check if learning outcomes have been achieved or not. Throughout this essay I will be evaluating the purpose of assessment and how it effects pupils in our schools, I will be addressing the impact of pressure on performance,…show more content…
In 1998, under Margaret Thatcher’s government, the Education Reform Act was put into place. This brought into play compulsory tests for our 7, 11 and 14 year olds. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland however, SATs for 7 year olds have been abolished, the government has realised children at 7 were much too young to be put under the pressure of tests. When children reach 11 they sit their year 6 SAT’s and these results are used in league tables to compare schools. These results can be very negative for the schools, teachers, and pupils involved. Again this is very different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where the year 6 Sat’s league tables have been abolished. Why is it that England is so out of kilter with the rest of the United Kingdom?

In 2003, the QCA asked primary school teachers how long they spent on average each week preparing children for their year 6 sat’s. Shockingly they found that 10 hours a week was spent preparing children for the end of year SATs and between Christmas and May, schools spend nearly 50% of their teaching time coaching children. This leaves very little time to teach anything other than the topics needed to pass the tests. Pupils become very demotivated and stressed with the pressure of failure. This was shown quite movingly when the BBC Panorama team interviewed a year 6 student, the 11 year old told interviewers: “ I’m really scared about my SATs, the head teacher came and talked to us about our
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