Tests Force Teachers to Use Old Methods Teaching Traditions on Schools
Judith Judd Education Editor, The Independent (London, England)
Tests for 11-year-olds, introduced by the Government three years ago, are forcing schools to use more traditional teaching methods, according to research published today.
A study by the government-funded Economic and Social Research Council shows that more primary schools are using whole-class teaching and more are grouping children by ability - both policies supported by traditionalists.
In one school, children were divided by ability rather than age for English, maths and science, so that nine-year-olds were being taught with 11-year- olds. The Home Counties school believed that advancing able children was a good way of competing with private schools. The study found that children were being tested more between the ages of seven and 11. Though primary schools are not placing pupils in rank order, growing numbers are using rows of stars on a notice-board to illustrate children's progress in spelling and multiplication tables so their position in class is self-evident. And teachers are spending more time preparing them for the national tests, which are in May. Some schools are starting science and maths revision in January and some are using practice tests from commercial publishers. The researchers, Professor Caroline Gipps of London University's Institute of Education and Professor Margaret Brown, of King's College London looked at 32 teachers from 32 schools. …