Reading Furore

What a morning! Today saw the first of this year’s Sats tests and to be honest, I wasn’t that worried. My pupils have made great progress with reading this year. Their enthusiasm and interest has grown and their understanding and ability to infer from a text has really developed. We have done the sample paper and not done too badly and done lots of other similar types of questions over the past few months.

My feeling of general optimism lasted for about 10 minutes after the test began. The texts looked all right, not too densely printed so that the pupils weren’t put off by huge amounts to read but then I began to look at the answer booklet.

How on earth can anyone seriously think that was a valid test of an entire cohort of Year 6 pupils? Many of the questions were pitched at a level well above the understanding of an average child and the language being tested was unrealistic. There seemed to be a lot less single mark questions that could be answered fairly straightforwardly too.

What really annoys me though is the damage that the government have done to my children’s feelings about reading. All year, I have encouraged them to read and introduced them to texts that they enjoy. I have worked hard to get them to view reading as something enjoyable that they are all good at.

That has been totally destroyed for many of my children this morning. Reading will now become something that they have failed at and the memory of their struggle and upset will overshadow the pleasure that they found earlier during this year.

Nicky Morgan and Nick Gibb should be ashamed of themselves for presiding over such an unsuitable test for assessing the reading ability of 10 and 11 year olds. There has to be a better way and it needs to be found before next May.