Government to review exams for 7-year-olds to establish ‘firm basis’ for calculating progress

The government will use a review of testing for 7-year-olds to make it easier to calculate progress to key stage 2, Nicky Morgan will announce tomorrow.

The education secretary will set out plans to shake-up testing at primary school level, hinting at the re-introduction of external testing for 7-year-olds.

She will also re-affirm the government’s commitment to force those starting secondary school without a “good pass” in their English and maths primary tests to re-sit in year 7.

It comes after the government denied reports the review was designed to scrap baseline assessments for infants, but the proposals have led to accusations from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) that the government plans to bring back external SAT exams for 7-year-olds.

Kevin Courtney (pictured), deputy general secretary of the NUT, said the UK already had “the most excessively tested children in the whole of Europe”, and added that parents, teachers and headteachers would be “alarmed to see the latest proposals” which “suggests bringing back SATs for 7-year-olds a decade after their abolition”.

He added: “Children and young people urgently need the formal assessment burden on them reduced. More tests at 7, involving the labelling and grading of young children, is simply the very last thing that is needed to help improve outcomes or learning.”

The government has said that new, more rigorous SATs were being introduced at the end of primary school, but that it planned to look at the tests sat by 7-year-olds to make sure they provide “a firm basis for calculating progress to key stage 2”.

A spokesperson said: “The government will be working with Head Teachers in the coming months on how to get this right, holding schools to account and giving them full credit for the progress they achieve.”

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  1. “a firm basis for calculating progress to key stage 2” =

    “we now realise that ditching levels with having teacher assessment in place in KS1 makes our league tables showing progress between KS1 and KS2 impossible, so we’re doing the only thing possible i.e. national test at KS1”

    “But we’re not going to admit this. Never admit that you might have got it wrong… “