There is a four-letter word that seems to dominate primary school policy these days.
And there is going to be even more of it if the latest proposals for measuring pupil performance in England are implemented.
Parents could be told where their children fit into 10 ability bands, measured against a yardstick of the rest of the national year group.
Of course parents already get children’s Sats results. If they get a stellar Level 6 they’re in the top 1%. Any Level 5 puts them into the top 25%.
But how much more detail do you really want? And having just about got to grips with levels do you really want them to be scrapped and new benchmarks introduced?
And more particularly how would you feel about rankings if your child is in the bottom rungs?
Would this demoralise or motivate your kids to improve?
As a former Deputy Head I think primary school education is in danger of turning into a spreadsheet.
The amount of paperwork & planning primary school teachers do is ridiculous these days – my friend’s regularly bring home 3 or 4 huge files full of lesson plans, differentiated activities and statistics to plan their weekly lessons for 6 year olds.
It is killing the motivation of teachers as they sink further and further until paperwork and planning.
Of course teachers need to plan but when I was talking to a lovely young class teacher of Reception aged children the other day she told me she’s spent 13 hours over her weekend marking and sorting out her class’s Learning Journey.
There are big underlying questions here.
If pupil information is available, why shouldn’t parents have it too? And wouldn’t more detailed performance measures stop pupils being left behind? Or will the extra information polarise schools even further, creating a superleague of those with the most pupils in the top 10%?
Statistical targets have a habit of taking on a life of their own.
So where do you stand on this new idea to “raise the bar?”
I always wonder when politicians say things like ‘This is not a return to a name and shame” don’t you?
Read more here on BBC News