I was in the cohort of students who had no national testing at all in primary school, the first cohort to be introduced to the National Curriculum from KS3, and the cohort whose KS3 National Curriculum tests were boycotted. Consequently, I am probably also in the last generation of English school students to have found their GCSE exams to be the first external test of their lives. I can see, therefore, why it is perfectly reasonable for teachers to claim that we survived perfectly well before national testing.
I can see, too, the many arguments against high stakes testing for accountability, and even high stakes testing for assessment. I am not, though, in favour of the argument that says tests are automatically a bad thing, or that they automatically narrow the curriculum.
As a middle- and primary-school teacher, I have been guilty in the past (indeed, still am guilty) of using…
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