Tim Oates

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Should we scrap SATs? Cautiously, yes

2019-04-20T11:11:05+01:00April 20th, 2019|assessment|

Earlier this week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn turned up at the NEU annual conference with some crowd pleasing ideas. The most eye-catching of these was that he would, if elected, scrap SATs, saying, "We need to prepare children for life, not just exams". Cue rapturous applause from the assembled trade unionists. None of this is particularly surprising, but what does intrigue me is why Corbyn and the NEU want to get rid of SATs. For Corbyn's part, he says, "SATs and the regime of extreme pressure testing are giving young children nightmares and leaving them in floods of tears."Of course, this [...]

Testing, testing… why one test can’t do everything

2016-05-17T19:16:16+01:00May 17th, 2016|assessment|

The thing which most seems to rile people about testing is the fact that it puts children under stress. A certain amount of stress is probably a good thing - there's nothing as motivating as a looming deadline - but too much is obviously a bad thing. Martin Robinson writes here that ... a teacher needn’t pass undue exam stress onto her pupils, and a Headteacher needn’t pass undue stress onto her teachers. People work less well under a lot of stress; by passing it down the chain, each link ceases to function so well. Therefore if a school wants to [...]

Assessment: evolution vs. design

2015-10-16T20:57:38+01:00October 13th, 2015|research|

Optimization hinders evolution. Alan J. Perlis   As we all know, the DfE decided to ditch National Curriculum levels from September 2014 without plans for a replacement. Some have reacted to this with glee, others despair. On the one hand, we have Tim Oates, an assessment expert and advocate for the removal of levels, saying We need to switch to a different conception of children’s ability. Every child needs to be capable of doing anything dependent on the effort they put in and how it’s presented to them. Levels get in the way of this... The new national curriculum really does [...]