Building confidence as our children are preparing for assessments is essential. Schools are busy practising exam techniques and filling heads with as much content as possible. As Parents/Guardians what can we do to support our children?
Bluntly speaking, SATs really have no significance other than to the school itself as they are used to rank the school in the National League Tables. Results may be used to set groups for the next academic year but these groups are temporary. It is important to make anxious children aware of this as some schools put pressure on pupils and make up stories about what will happen if they get a low score. As a Tutor I find that most anxious children are struggling to learn in Year 6 because they believe that they will be refused entry to secondary school if they do badly in their SATs!
Positive Aspects of Assessments
Some pupils gain a real sense of achievement when they work hard at something and the outcome is positive.
As a teaching tool, SATs are really helpful as they inform teachers what their pupils know and what needs to be covered again.
Negative Aspects of Assessments
A major failing with the current system is that children are being treated like computers rather than human beings. The latest introduction, of a Baseline Assessment, means that every child is assessed in Reception and Year 6 and that they should each be seen to have made the same level of progress during that time!
Children have good and bad days- teacher observations are therefore more realistic and reliable than a snapshot test.
The impact of these tests and the pressure they can create is having a catastrophic impact on education. Many educators are being put off by the constant pressure and need to prove their own value. As a Tutor I am astounded by the fact that these tests get harder every few years, without rhyme or reason. The children are the same age and yet our expectations of them grow, tenfold! This can make bright pupils feel inadequate, let alone children with learning difficulties.
Build Them Up
A good healthy diet and lots of fresh air and exercise helps to stimulate and support brain function. Also, give your children the opportunity to talk about any concerns they are having. If kids have worries and nobody to share them with, the worries will grow. If they understand that their best is good enough, this will really help. Some children need a little nudge but generally added pressure from adults will cause brain blocks and effect achievement negatively.
Non-academic clubs, particularly drama clubs, are excellent at building confidence in children. Singing, dancing and acting can provide a creative escape and give children courage. Having a positive focus away from school will help to put any pressures into perspective and give them another chance to excel and achieve at a level they are comfortable with.
If your child is interested in dancing, acting, singing and musical theatre, please click here.
Sarah Watson, Dramacube