Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has recently announced, as part of her plan for educational reform that she intends to introduce formal testing for seven year olds.
During her speech to the Policy Exchange on 3rd November she explained that it was imperative that achievement occurred right from the early stages of primary teaching, highlighting the fact that by the time a student reached secondary school, it was often too late to fix under-performance in the key skills of English and Maths which would go on to have implications in later life.
She explained that whilst at present, students are tested by their teachers, she wanted to bring back formal testing, which was abolished in 2004, into the classroom, most likely to be taken at the end of Year 2.
These proposals naturally have both their proponents and their detractors. Some are concentrating on the advantages that more frequent testing brings – that is, the ability to spot when a student is falling behind right away, and thus act upon it, sooner. Others worry about the stress that such formal testing places upon children who are still in the early stages of their childhood.
Ms Morgan says she wants these tests to be ‘robust’ and indeed, ‘rigorous.’ What this means specifically is yet to be seen…