Primary Sats tests in England ‘do not appear to harm children’s wellbeing’

Nationwide assessments that pupils in England sit within the remaining yr of major school don’t seem to hurt kids’s happiness or wellbeing, in line with analysis by College School London.

As concern grows about children’s mental health, mother and father and academics have repeatedly pointed to the impression of key stage 2 standardised assessments in maths and English, generally known as Sats, on wellbeing on the finish of yr 6.

UCL researchers in contrast knowledge on 2,500 kids dwelling in England – the place pupils sit the assessments – and Northern Eire, Scotland and Wales – the place they don’t – and located little distinction in wellbeing and happiness ranges whether or not they sat the assessments or not.

Amongst those that accomplished the assessments, researchers discovered no vital change in how they felt about themselves, faculty or household life within the weeks earlier than or after Sats. Virtually 1 / 4 (24%) of pupils in England mentioned they felt sad about their schoolwork earlier than the assessments, in contrast with 28% for youngsters elsewhere within the UK, and the determine didn’t change considerably on the time of the check.

Prof John Jerrim, one of many research’s authors, mentioned: “There’s rising concern in regards to the psychological wellbeing of younger folks, together with how that is associated to nationwide assessments at college. Nevertheless, the research discovered that happiness and wellbeing ranges amongst kids in England and the remainder of the UK have been similar to each other and sometimes overlapped.

“The analysis additionally discovered there was little proof to modifications in wellbeing across the time of KS2 assessments, or that kids in England grow to be happier, both normally or about faculty, as soon as these assessments are over.

“Taken collectively, these findings present an vital counter to standard narratives about how the KS2 assessments can have critical unfavorable impacts upon kids’s wellbeing.”

The peer-reviewed research, printed in Evaluation in Schooling, means that whereas Sats assessments could also be “excessive stakes” for colleges with outcomes printed in league tables, they’re much less so for the youngsters who take them academic selections about secondary faculty or the themes they could research don’t rely on their scores.

Jerrim mentioned: “The assessments play a elementary position feeding into faculty accountability metrics and our findings counsel they need to proceed of their present type for the foreseeable future.”

However educating unions identified that the UCL findings have been primarily based on knowledge going again to 2012 and due to this fact didn’t consider a variety of latest modifications to major evaluation.

Kevin Courtney, the joint common secretary of the Nationwide Schooling Union, which has campaigned for the abolition of Sats, mentioned: “Sadly, the researchers have drawn conclusions about the way forward for major testing primarily based on evaluation of the regime virtually 10 years in the past.

“Since then, the curriculum has been radically modified in ways in which many specialists believed on the time was ‘fatally flawed’ and ‘overly prescriptive’ with topic content material that was characterised as limitless lists of spellings and guidelines.”

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