Primary school tests “have little effect on children’s happiness and well-being”
Tests in elementary school do not appear to have a significant effect on children’s well-being and happiness, according to a study.
Research by University College London (UCL) suggested that there was little difference in the levels of well-being and happiness reported by children, whether or not they passed the second stage tests. .
Sixth grade children in England (aged 10 to 11), who took the Sats tests, did not experience any significant change in the way they felt about themselves, their family life and their school in the weeks surrounding the tests, according to the study. .
Researchers say there does not appear to be sufficient evidence to support the elimination of Sats tests “for welfare reasons,” despite calls from parents and teachers to remove mandatory assessments.
The findings follow calls from activists and children to drop assessments of four- and five-year-olds during their first few weeks of school. Campaigners delivered a petition to Downing Street calling for the testing to be removed.
The new Reception Basis Assessment (RBA) will begin this year, after its deployment was delayed due to the pandemic. This is an individual assessment for the students of the Reception, the first year of school, carried out when the students are four or five years old.
After a year of disruption in learning and teaching due to the pandemic, a coalition of school leaders, parents and lawmakers in April called on ministers to suspend sats and all statutory assessments in schools primaries in England. This, they said, would give children time to make up for lost learning.
The study looked at data collected from around 2,500 children living in England and 600 pupils in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Testing only takes place in England, not Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
As part of the study, children were asked a number of questions about how they felt about themselves and their lives over the weeks on either side of the ratings.
Almost a quarter (24 percent) of schoolchildren in England reported negative feelings about their schoolwork before testing. This compares to 28% of children living in the rest of the UK.
This number did not change significantly in the weeks before and after testing.
Study author Professor John Jerrim, of the UCL Institute for Social Research, explained that the findings went against “conventional narratives” about how tests can impact negative on the well-being of children.
He said: “Taken together, these results provide an important counterweight to conventional narratives about how Key Stage 2 testing can have serious negative impacts on children’s well-being. “
Meanwhile, education unions and activists have pointed out that the data used is several years old and therefore does not take into account a number of recent reforms in primary assessment.
Kevin Courtney, deputy secretary general of the National Education Union (NEU), said examining the impact of newer tests “would be much more useful.”
Delegates to the NEU’s annual conference in April highlighted their support for the abolition of Sats tests in primary schools.
At the conference, a vote was taken to “organize a vigorous campaign – using the fact that no statutory primary tests have taken place for two years in the midst of Covid-19 – to re-launch calls for a strategy of ‘alternative assessment’.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education, however, suggested that the tests help “lay the foundation for success in high school and beyond.”
They said: “Our assessment reforms help ensure that children leave primary school with a clear understanding of the basics of reading, writing and math, as part of a curriculum. wide and balanced. It helps lay the foundation for success in high school and beyond.
“Schools should encourage all students to work hard and do well, but the department has never recommended that they spend undue preparation time for assessment.”
Additional reports by PA