With the year 6 children recently taking their SAT exams, it has again come in to question as to if they are too hard. Many teachers feel that there is a lot of pressure out on students to do well during these exams and that as the papers are getting harder the pressure increases.
It is not only the students that are under pressure when it comes to exams but also the teachers. Not only do they worry as to if they have covered each topic in enough detail as is needed for the exams but also as to if they have taught it in such a way that all the pupils can understand it and most importantly, remember it.
Exams are a good way to measure progress of individual children and also to see how a school is achieving overall, but maybe it’s time to take a step back and remember what education should really be about.
From 2016 all schools that wish to show progress for accountability purposes will need to adopt an approved baseline assessment scheme. In order for the DeF (Department for Eductaion) to track the progress of pupils form an early age, the government introduced baseline assessments. This is where an assessment is carried out on each child at the earliest school age, so usually within a few weeks of them starting reception. At the end of Key Stage 1 another assessment will be carried out to check their learning progress. A test (SATS) is done to help the teacher identify which level the student is currently at. The levels as they were are now being changed and no longer are set in to 2,3,4 etc the levels this year are more likely to be based on if they meet the standard expected for a child of that age, excel it or are below it. It is also much harder for a child to reach the expected level they need to be at this year than previous.
At the end of Key Stage 2 (year 6) the children will undergo another test and this will then be sent away to be marked. This again will form part of their overall assessment for the level they are at academically.
Many parents and teachers are pushing for the government to look in to the number of exams and tests that young people have to endure. The exams are not only getting more frequent but also more intense and pass rates are often dropping due to the percentage of questions that must be answer correctly to pass increasing.
Exams can cause a lot of students stress and some simply do not cope well with exam situations although they may work well in class. Many subjects are now made up of part practice and part written or part course work to allow the students who struggle with exams to do well.
Teachers often have to spend too much time teaching children how to pass exams rather than teaching them the skills and experience they need in the working world. With children being tested as young as 5 is there call for a change in the education system?
With A Level exam results released this week and GCSE’s following closely behind, it is no wonder many students are stressing about the results they will have obtained during these exams. Many students are relying on these results to get in to University, College or Sixth Form.
There is no point in worrying about your exam results during the build up to results day as you cannot change anything now. If you do not get the grades you need to attend your chosen university, then you can apply to go through clearing which is where you contact the uni explaining to them the results that you got and see if they will accept you. Most universities have very limited spaces, so this has to be done immediately in order to try and secure a placement.
You could always opt to repeat part or all of the year to allow you to re-sit the exams the following year, which means you will hopefully have the time to improve your grades.
With the summer holidays upon us, many students will be looking forward to spending some time relaxing following weeks and even months of exams prior to the break up. This is often the time that some pupils following their GCSE’s or A Levels chose to take a year out of education or work to travel around the world.
It is vital that following the stress of exams you take the time to relax and unwind. It may be that you still do not know what career path you wish to follow, but once you have had time to switch off you may find that it is a lot easier to consider all your options and work out your route into employment.
If you are worried about what to do once you have finished your exams then you could talk to a careers advisor who will be able to run through your options with you and assess which route may be best for your personal circumstances.