Learning in place of testing … wow!

excerpt from The Independent

“May 10, 2010

Nearly half of schools to boycott SATs as teachers rebel

By Richard Garner, Education Editor

As many as 300,000 11-year-olds will find their national curriculum tests cancelled this morning …

The NUT – along with the National Association of Head Teachers – has voted in favour of boycotting the tests because they believe the importance placed on them – with performance tables based on their results – has forced schools to teach to the tests at the expense of the broader curriculum …

Meanwhile, at an anti-SATs rally in London‘s Jubilee Gardens yesterday, children’s authors revealed they would be going into schools to read poetry and tell stories to provide pupils with an alternative to the SATs.

The author Alan Gibbons said at the rally: “We will be conducting poetry sessions, reading books and doing story-telling activities – trying to show an alternative approach to SATs.”

More than 90 children’s authors and illustrators signed an open letter to the Government warning that the tests were switching pupils off reading because they concentrated on learning excerpts from books for the tests rather than reading the whole story.

Ms Blower told the rally: “We are standing up and saying we must get rid of the SATs and the league tables. Let’s make sure that every child has a great year unencumbered by ridiculous tests and make schools a SATs-free zone.”

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News from the front …

In The Guardian from March 26th:

Education unions plan 2010 Sats boycott

Teachers are threatening to bring the Sats system in England to a halt by boycotting next year’s tests.

Two of the biggest education unions will ask their members to refuse to take part in the tests, which they say have become “unacceptable for the future of children’s education.”

Would a boycott like this ever happen in the US? Probably not …

Rest of the article here.