Key Stage 2 supported by parents

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A new survey shows that a majority of parents support and value Key Stage 2 tests and use them track the progress of their children.

Speaking at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference in Liverpool, Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families, Ed Balls said Key Stage 2 tests are important to parents because they provide information on the progress of primary age children.

Ed Balls said: “I know that Key Stage 2 National Tests are particularly controversial. I’ve always been very clear that the current assessment system is not set in stone. But I’ve also been clear that it would be a retrograde step to return to the days where the real achievements of schools were hidden from parents and communities. That view is reinforced by our understanding of what parents want.

“We have always said these tests are essential to giving parents, teachers and the public the information they need about the progress of every primary age child and every primary school. Key Stage 2 National Tests currently provide the only external validation of progress for primary age children. We know the final year of primary school is critical to prepare children for the step up to secondary school. Key Stage 2 tests are a robust, objective and consistent source of information for parents at a crucial transition point for their child, and a pupil’s performance at 11 in the core subjects reflects many years of learning at that school.”

Key findings show:

  • 75% of parents think information on the performance of primary schools should be available to the general public;
  • 70% of parents place value on the tests in providing information about how their child’s school is performing;
  • 65% of parents place an importance on their child taking part in Key Stage 2 tests;
  • 78% of parents with children who have done the tests think they are an accurate reflection of how their child is doing;
  • 69% of parents think test results are useful for teachers when their child progresses to secondary school;
  • 44% of parents think tests should stay as they are. 36% of parents say they want to replace the tests, but of those 36%, most think that some form of testing or assessment should remain. 20% do not know. Of those who expressed a preference, this means that 55% of parents think tests should stay at they are.

Mr Balls went on to say: "I don’t think that boycotting next year’s Key Stage 2 tests would be the right thing to do. And to those who say that a boycott is the right approach, I have to say that course of action would be irresponsible and disruptive to pupils and parents; but it also risks doing real damage to the standing of the profession. The right thing to do is to look at the expert group’s report and then to consider what further reforms are needed to the testing and accountability system.”

A summary of the report is available in Leadership Briefings