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Testing Times


Before half term, Year 6 children across Kent received their 11+ results. For some, it will have been good news and for others, the disappointment will have been a bitter blow. Later in the year, the same Year 6 pupils will take their SATS and older students sit public exams. We are testing this generation of children within an inch of their lives. Whilst some kind of formal testing is necessary during a child’s school career, the key question is not when we test them, but rather is the quality of assessment relevant to them for their future career path?

We know that the skills which will be in greater demand in the future include interpersonal skills and creative thinking. Recently, Lauren Child, the Children’s Laureate, said that modern society is in danger of suffocating creativity if we are not careful. I couldn’t agree with her more and at Kent College we have worked hard to preserve the creative subjects at GCSE and A Level. Child goes on to say that the burden of regulation that teachers face means that there is less time for experimental creativity. And being experimental means taking risks. Allowing children to take risks means exposing them to failure and with such an emphasis on continual, ‘high stakes’ testing, there is the risk that children will become increasingly reticent to try new things and potentially get it wrong. ‘Failure’ and having to persevere until we get something right, is what ultimately teaches us how to succeed at something.

Some of the most powerful words of advice that I was given was to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. As educators and parents, we must have the courage to let children take those risks, be there to catch them when they fall, and then let them try again.

Posted: 08/11/2017 at 15:58
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