The current school accountability system is promoting an increasingly entrenched culture of teaching to the test which is undermining the provision of high-quality education for every child and driving up teachers’ workload to an unsustainable level, the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has argued.
The NASUWT has submitted its response to the DfE’s consultation on its proposals to reform the system of assessment in primary schools in England.
In its response, the NASUWT argues that the current high stakes assessment system is skewing the curriculum and placing schools under pressure to target resources at pupils who are at the borderline of measures of attainment.
The Union has asserted that calls to replace the statutory end of Key Stage assessments with a system of externally moderated teacher assessment are profoundly misguided and risk simply replacing one high-stakes form of assessment with another.
Instead, the NASUWT has called on the DfE to work with the Union and other stakeholders to develop an alternative approach to assessment and accountability which is based on evidence and which genuinely supports schools to assist every pupil to achieve their full potential.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“It is clear there is much more that needs to be done in terms of making sure the national assessment system is fit for purpose and inspires the trust and confidence of the public and the teaching profession.
“The NASUWT has submitted a detailed response to the consultation which calls for a more rounded evaluation of pupil progress and school effectiveness to be implemented.
“However, such an approach will only be of benefit if it also addresses the excessive teacher workload burdens associated with the current assessment and accountability system which are distracting teachers from focusing on meeting the needs of all their pupils and which are driving teachers out of the profession, ground down by stress and exhaustion.
“This also requires recognition that it is impossible to separate assessment from the accountability regime in which it is located.
“If ministers are serious about reforming assessment in a way which frees teachers up to teach then they must also review the high stakes nature of the accountability system to ensure it helps, rather than hampers, teachers to raise standards of educational achievement.”
Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s response to the primary assessment consultation is attached.