Maths SAT results at ‘outstanding’ academy annulled

Janet Downs's picture
 2

STA investigated St Matthew’s CofE, Hillingdon, for ‘maladministration'

The Standards and Testing Agency has annulled maths SAT results for St Matthew’s CofE Primary School, Hillingdon, following an investigation into alleged ‘maladministration’, Schools Week reports. 

The school was judged ‘outstanding’ in October 2009 before converting to an academy with Frays Academy Trust in February 2013.  As an outstanding school, its Ofsted judgement was carried forward.  Concerns have been expressed about the increasing number of schools which haven’t been inspected for more than eight years.

Second school to have had SAT results quashed

This is the second school to have had SAT results annulled.  The first was Harris Academy Philip Lane (formerly Downhills), a finding which has rather tarnished Harris’s reputation.   

The real culprit is the excessive emphasis on test results

England is almost unique in having high-stakes tests at the end of primary school.  They are used solely to rank schools.  This puts pressure on schools to have good exam results.  But this brings a temptation to ‘over-aid’ pupils or maladminister the tests (aka cheating).

Such dishonesty could be stopped by dropping these unnecessary tests.  Their lack of real worth is demonstrated by the number of secondary schools who set their own tests when pupils arrive in Year Seven, such is the distrust in the validity of SAT marks.    

SATs have no educational value, distort the curriculum and lower educational quality.  They should be scrapped.

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Comments

rogertitcombe's picture
Thu, 16/08/2018 - 14:57

SATs have no educational value, distort the curriculum and lower educational quality.  They should be scrapped.

You are so right Janet. But there is another even more important reason arising from the potential for SATs results to be inflated through coaching, cramming and cheating. When the stakes for schools and their leaders are so high these perverse inentives are obvious and there have been plenty of examples.

The consequences can be disastrous for secondary schools because the government's flawed Attainment and Progress 8 accountability measures use SATs as baseline assessments, for which they are  entirely unsuitable. See my latest article about the failure of the Sutton Trust to recognise this.

https://rogertitcombelearningmatters.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/potential-...

This has also been posted on LSN

The consequence is a plethora of deeply flawed claims that secondary schools are failing to build on the 'high attainment' of pupils admitted in Y7, especially those 'disadvantaged' through eligibility for Free School Meals (FSM)

Even more shocking is that the likes of the Sutton Trust and the Social Mobility Foundation keep repeating these claims despite being repeatedly given the evidence for their false nature, whichthey just ignore making no attempt at rediation. Their Press Releases are uncritically re-gurgitated by a lazy mainstream media that too seems uninterested in the truth. You will find a number of recent articles on this issue here

https://rogertitcombelearningmatters.wordpress.com/category/blogs/


John Mountford's picture
Fri, 17/08/2018 - 11:53

You are both right in your assessment of the SATs. We are looking at a house of cards that will eventually fall. It is amazing that so few people in a position to question the validity of our examination and testing system, choose to act. The most shocking source of inaction, however, is the failure of professional bodies representing schools, colleges and universities to expose the cheating (Janet's word) that comes in tandem with this misplaced system of accountability. Next in line must be a partisan/lazy national media and finally our MPs, last in line simply because at least we can appreciate they have their livelihoods and political futures at risk within their parties to explain their choice of action. What accounts for the apathy of the others is a mystery to me.

Of these tests, Janet, you write, "Their lack of real worth is demonstrated by the number of secondary schools who set their own tests when pupils arrive in Year Seven, such is the distrust in the validity of SAT marks. " This is not only an issue of test reliability, however. The work Roger and I have been doing examining the use of CA testing with whole Yr 7 cohorts in secondary schools carries a cost to those schools. How can this be justified when we have it from Nick Gibb that the KS 2 tests for 2016-17 (latest available figures) amounted to a staggering £42,237,550. The consequences of this flawed procedure do not extend simply to many individual pupils and to all primary and secondary schools when Ofsted come knocking. It comes at a heavy financial cost at a time when all public services are under threat of further, life-changing, cuts


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