In a seven-part series, teacher and school leader Dave Anderson considers how schools can be a key driver for social justice and how we can make our education system more equitable. In part six, he looks at the problems with our system of assessment and examinations

SecEd series: A school system that drives social justice

Here are three ways the assessment system in England sets children up to fail:

We also know this: Schools in England are ranked by public, high-stakes, standardised test outcomes. These tests are administered throughout primary and secondary and dominate student and teacher actions at key times; they also profoundly affect the curriculum.

The nature and scope of standardised assessment is my focus here and it is worth noting that we have a wider compulsory national assessment regime than most other countries:

This is considerably more than other European countries and at odds with some of the highest performing international education systems. Countries such as Finland leave high-stakes compulsory testing until the age of 17/18, at the end of compulsory education. (Sahlberg, 2015).

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