Change the tests, but don’t ditch grammar


This time last year the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling test (GPS, popularly called SPaG) was in the news almost every week. The DfE was mocked for not being able to prevent the leaking of a test, the Schools Minister Nick Gibb couldn’t answer a grammar question on live radio, and parents kept their 6-year olds at home to boycott the Key Stage 1 test. Numerous well-known writers, poets and education specialists railed against the tests and their inadequacy. Now, it’s spring and the debate has flared up again. Last month the House of Commons Education Committee published its report on primary assessment. After hearing a large number of experts who made clear that they did not like the tests, the Committee recommended that the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) review them, and that the KS2 test, like the KS1 test, be made non-statutory. (Did you spot the subjunctive verb? I’ll come…

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