Thursday, 17 July 2008

SATS madness

From today's Times. Two primary school children writing about Pip Davenport, fairground inventor, for their SATS test.

Child A (11 years old) wrote: "If he wasent doing enthing els heel help his uncle Herry at the funfair during the day. And had stoody at nigh on other thing he did was invent new rides. Becoues he invented a lot of new rides he won a prize. He didn’t live with his mum he lived with his wife.”

Child B (11 years old) wrote: "Quickly, it became apparent that Pip was a fantastic rider: a complete natural. But it was his love of horses that led to a tragic accident. An accident that would change his life forever. At the age of 7, he was training for a local competition when his horse, Mandy, swerved sideways unexpectedly, throwing Pip on to the ground, paralysed.”

Child A was given a higher score than Child B. Understandably, the head teacher is extremely displeased and is refusing to publish the scores until all the papers have been re-marked. Both of the above examples were graded as Level 4, ie what you would expect of a typical 11 year old. Clearly, there is no way that A reflects what one would expect of someone at the end of primary school. Meanwhile, candidate B is clearly exceptionally able. I don't know whether the mark for 'Composition and effect' includes spelling, but children are being short-changed if it does not. In the real world, people need to be able to produce written work that other people are able to read.