The purpose of Sats seems to have been forgotten by teachers, headteachers, and the Department for Education. Sats exams are meant to quickly assess the teaching standards of a school and not to evaluate the children. The children should not know they are being examined and should not feel any pressure or stress. It is the job of the school to educate children while the DfE’s task is to assess the school. Children should not be burdened with the emotional support that adults should provide for these institutions.
In reality, the anxiety and pressure for meeting standards have been placed on children, which has become detrimental to their emotional health and wellbeing. Children spend much of their time preparing for Sats and little on real education. The pressure to perform well has made children fearful of failure and led to low happiness levels. Sats never had evidence of improving children’s education and should be eliminated.
We do not need to assess children through testing that makes them feel like failures. An alternate method is by providing them with a piece of text and grading questions. Questions will start easy and become progressively difficult, challenging pupils that show above-average capabilities.
The situation of Sats exams is only one problem among many that have been caused due to excessive underinvestment in schools. We need to prioritize the well-being of our children by promoting joyful learning environments and investing long-term in schools.
In terms of numeracy and literacy standards, Sats continue to be necessary when determining the child’s readiness for key stage 3. If there is a perceived difficulty in Sats exams, the answer does not lie in making them easier but through examining key stage 2 teaching methods.