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As British Teachers Lament New Test Results, Parallels to Education Climate in U.S. Unmistakable

As British Teachers Lament Results of New Standardized Tests, Parallels to Education Climate in U.S. Unmistakable

Not only is the political climate across the pond eerily familiar to the U.S. (see:Brexit), so is the state of education.

After British teachers took to social media yesterday to vent about the release of the results from the country’s updated SATs (Standard Assessment Tests), it’s impossible to not draw parallels between their complaints and the consistent concerns of U.S. teachers.

In England and Wales, students must take the SATs to test learning progress at ages seven, 11. 14 and 16. This year, the SATs were updated to be tougher in order to align to the countries’ new primary curriculum, a curriculum designed to impose higher standards on students (as if this doesn’t sound exactly like the Common Core).

The tests are so different, in fact, that officials in the Department for Education (DfE) are calling this year “year zero,” and have repeatedly warned teachers that this year’s SATs will not be comparable to past years in the slightest. 

"Neither schools nor parents should try to compare this year's results with previous years,” said Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

“The tests are new and are based on a new, more rigorous national curriculum – based on the best evidence from across the world.” 

After the release of results today, teachers have taken to social media to express concerns. The top things complained about include over-testing, lack of proper implementation of a new curriculum and student stress. Sound familiar?

According to TES Global, England’s teachers were sleepless last night, many staying up until the wee hours of the morning viewing and interpreting test results.

"I woke up at midnight to log in and spent the next hour long awake mentally composing the letter I want to send to parents with the kid's results. Going to be a long day studying scripts today,” said one teacher, according to TES Global.

This particular teacher also made mention of a student group similar to one our country constantly struggles to support: English Language Learners. "I despair, I really do. Our kids are largely from Roma Gypsy Czech and Romanian backgrounds and the tests were just beyond them."

Other teachers took to Twitter to express similar complaints.

“What silly tests! What a waste of time, money, heart and effort” Tweeted user @Kenbiff.

"So depressing and upsetting reading the tweets of hard working Y6 teachers and HTs this morning. Not checked our #SATsresults yet #worried,” Tweeted primary head Paul Shanks via his account @paulshanks1974.

"Just come off the phone to a tearful 11 yr old who has his SAT results but is over [analyzing] it. He did his best. He is awesome,” said another discouraged teacher.

Most U.S. teachers have put the stress of standardized test results behind them as summer vacation begins, but there surely is sympathy to be had from a lot that has experienced much of the same in past years.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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