To consider the effects of national testing on teaching

Aim

To consider the effects of national testing on teaching.

Evidence and reflection

If you are a trainee teacher, discuss with your mentor or an experienced teacher how they see the effects of the testing regime on their teaching. Have there been major changes in their teaching programme, their approach with the pupils, the ways in which groups are organized, etc.?

If you are an experienced teacher, discuss these issues with a colleague and decide which effects you feel have been positive and which seem to have been negative.

Extension

Such considerations lead directly to reflection on the real purposes of assessment. Should it be used formatively, to improve learning? Or summatively, to measure attainment? Can both goals be met? These are extremely important issues, given the incontrovertible evidence that high‑stakes assessment distorts the curriculum. A broad and balanced curriculum can thus easily be narrowed.