Annual Tests Causing Students Stress: A series of annual tests, introduced in Wales for pupils aged seven to fourteen, are causing some pupils such stress that they are refusing to attend school, according to a survey of teachers. In extreme cases, there are also reports of the stress causing students to stop eating.
The assessments, introduced after Wales fell behind the rest of the UK in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests. The survey, conducted on behalf of the NUT, was found to echo results from 2013, with findings including:
• 96% of teachers do not think the tests were a positive experience for pupils
• 90% said they did not believe the tests provided new information about schools
• 87% of teachers did not believe that the tests would help improve attainment
• 87% said the tests impacted negatively on pupil stress levels
• 82% said their workload had increased as a result of the tests
• 70% said the tests were not consistent with the curriculum
The Welsh Government responded to the survey by saying that the tests, and data provided by them, help to identify learner’s strengths as well as any areas for development – and that schools could use this to differentiate the way different pupils are taught within the classroom.
Findings released earlier this year have also found that poor pupils in Wales are lagging behind the rest of Britain. According to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, only 26% of Welsh children who receive free school meals achieve five good GCSEs – in comparison to 38% of the same pupils in England. In addition, nearly half of three year olds living in deprived areas were failing to make the grades expected of them.
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