More than a score: parents say children are anxious about SATs

Children are under too much pressure from primary school tests, say 63% of parents of seven to 14-year-olds polled, with nearly half of them whose child has taken a primary SAT test (48%) saying their children were anxious about taking the exams

As nearly one million children, some as young as six years old, prepare to sit the SATs test this week, new research by YouGov for More Than A Score, looked at the impact of SATs on the well-being of children and their education.

Sixty-two per cent of parents of children aged seven to 14 said primary school children go through too much testing: 40% are concerned enough to support changes to the SATs tests, with only 13% happy with the status quo.

  • 62% say primary school children go through too much testing
  • 63% say there is too much test pressure
  • 48% of children have suffered anxiety about taking primary school tests.

(Source: YouGov)

The findings come as More Than A Score, a coalition of parents, teachers, heads and education experts working for changes to the SATs regime, engages thousands of parents and teachers worried about the impact of SATs on children’s well-being and the quality of education.

More Than A Score spokesperson, Madeleine Holt says: “The polling confirms what parents have been telling us for years: SATs are damaging and pointless. Now we see even six and seven-year-olds school worrying about tests. Surely learning is about more than getting a perfect score?  Children need a broad and rich curriculum that encourages them to be excited about learning, not terrified of failing at such a young age.”

“With the status of a school and teachers’ pay so closely linked to SATs results, it’s no wonder so many are teaching to the test. The SATs regime is inhibiting children’s learning as SATs revision begins to dominate the timetable. Our primary school children in England are already some of the most tested in the world. This results in stress and anxiety in children, narrows the curriculum and distracts teachers from doing their job: teaching.

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“That’s why we are calling for the government to scrap SATs, and commission an independent and expert review to produce recommendations for primary school assessments that are fit for purpose.”       

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