Those pesky sats again.

Yes it is those pesky sats again. The do keep cropping up whereever one goes. Hot on the heels of the just-published Ofsted report, which says that while more children may be getting good marks in sats and examinations, they are being drilled to pass tests rather than  equipped with the mathematical skills or understanding of concepts which they need for later life, Dr Tony Gardiner, reader in maths and maths education at the University of Birmingham, is reported in last Friday’s   Education Guardian as saying that “maths teachers from primary through to secondary school have been teaching children to pass tests for the past 10-15 years”.

He said: “This isn’t education. It’s training people to do mindless tasks.

“You can train people to to do a task but, because there is no soil for it to grow in, they forget the knowledge and it evaporates.”

The 200 top-scoring 14- to 15-year-olds in Birmingham recently attended a maths festival at the university earlier this month. They struggled to find the answers to more challenging maths problems, said Gardiner, because they had not been taught to think about maths.

He said: “We are creating a nation of experts in what I call “one-piece jigsaws”. Give them a three-piece jigsaw and they’re screwed. It’s an utter tragedy.”

The tragedy is that no matter how often, of by whom, it is said that all this concentration or sats, exams and league tables is damaging, nobody – or at least nobody that counts –  appears to be paying too much attention.


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