Sats do not harm children’s well-being, study finds


The results were released after a coalition of school leaders, parents and MPs this year called on ministers to suspend sats and all statutory assessments in primary schools in England to give children time to catch up their delay.

However, the research, which uses data from the 2012 Millennium Cohort Study, suggested that 6-year tests are not necessarily “high-stakes” indicators for children.

Study author Professor John Jerrim of the Institute for Social Research at UCL said: ‘Taken together, these results provide an important counterweight to conventional narratives about how Key Stage 2 tests can have serious negative effects on the well-being of children. “

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He added: “Based on what we have found, there does not appear to be strong enough evidence to support that Key Stage 2 testing is being phased out for welfare reasons.

“Testing plays a fundamental role in fueling schools’ accountability measures and our results suggest that they should continue in their current form for the foreseeable future.”

However, education unions and activists said the data did not take into account a number of primary assessment reforms in recent years.

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Kevin Courtney, deputy secretary general of the National Education Union (NEU), said researchers had drawn “conclusions about the future of primary testing based on an analysis of the regime nearly 10 years ago.”

This was echoed by Tiffnie Harris, senior and data specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, who said: “The data on which these results are based are now nine years out of date and these tests need reform for other reasons. “

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A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said their assessment reforms “help ensure that children leave primary school with a clear understanding of the fundamentals of reading, writing and math, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. It helps lay the foundation for high school success. school and beyond “.

They added, “Schools should encourage all students to work hard and do well, but the department has never recommended that they spend undue preparation time for assessment.”