Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement about Labour’s plans to scrap primary school tests, Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) said:
“It is important to distinguish between tests and worrying levels of pupil stress.
Tests are a legitimate part of educational assessment and play an important part in children’s learning. They are extremely helpful to teachers in understanding children’s learning. Children need feedback on what they have done well and the things they need to focus on and practice. Regular tests, including national assessments, included as part of normal learning processes, need not invoke high levels of anxiety.
As Professor Tim Oates has pointed out, we are not the most assessed school system in the world. In fact, many high performing systems have far more testing in primary schools than we do. For example, Finland has more timed, ‘quiet’ tests in primary schooling – but everyone works hard not to convey or create too much test anxiety.
External tests have a role to play in a balanced assessment system – they are a valuable and dependable reference point for everyone. Teacher assessment should play an important role, but needs anchor points. And external tests can in fact reduce teacher and school workload.
Fair and accurate assessment is a vital part of any high quality system.”