SATS Exams Cost The Tax Payer £44M a Year!

The new regime of SATS exams are costing the tax payer around £44m. The Department for Education (DfE) SATS spending has increased by 9% in just one year. Online exams can eradicate the cost of marking exams.
 The largest expense was £20.5 million on key stage 2 marking, according to the teachers organisation TES. They obtained the figures from the DfE through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The new SATS system was designed to compliment a tougher curriculum that was put in place from September 2015.

Ofqual, the exams regulator, remarked that the SATS in the 2015/2016 round were “unduly hard”.

Parents are up in arms about the reading segment of the English SAT; a pupil sitting the exam needs to pass all elements to be at an ‘acceptable standard’.

All whilst teachers unions are concerned about the new system and have threatened boycotts and strikes.

The National Teachers Union has said;

“The Sats fail to provide useful information to parents about how schools perform and don’t tell teachers anything useful to support individual pupils in their learning. Furthermore, the high-stakes nature of primary testing puts unnecessary pressure on pupils and education professionals.”

Staffing alone costs £10.8 million not including other essentials such as the professional skills tests for teachers.

Multiple Choice Test Online

We Can Cut Marking Costs by 100%!

A major part of the costs is down to the exams being paper based and the logistical nightmare of matching up classes to markers – who may very well be miles away.

SATS are extremely inefficient; like multiple choice sections where the tickboxes are simply crosschecked against a standard marking sheet.

Overlooked all too frequently is the availability of online exams, platforms even mark the tests automatically. If deployed on a large scale the Government could eradicate most of the logistical marking process.

Of course as soon as one suggests computer based examinations, schools and examining bodies begin to fret about cheating. Testing platforms by their online nature present new ways to get round the system; but no more than traditional testing.

Technology has surpassed these fears however given school networks can be easily restricted to produce a fair testing environment.

Online Exams Are The Future

The Scottish Qualifications Authority is transitioning to digital exam content by 2020. The Department for Education is  notoriously slow at adopting technology. There is a real disparity in the Scottish and English approach.

While we wait for the education to effectively enter the digital realm, there are platforms out there for class tests and quiz’s.

Furthermore at DesignATest we think teachers need a break from marking, our online test platform offers automatic grading.

You can easily create multiple -choice, short answer and exam style tests and get results instantly.

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Banning Technology Just Doesn’t Work: Elearning is the Future

Schools throughout the land display large posters of phones with a big red banning sign. They also enshrine harsh reprimands in the school rules for students who bring laptops and phones to school. There’s a state of fear amongst staff that the evils of the internet and elearning will find their way into class. Whilst it is certainly true that internet in many ways make young people vulnerable, but equal so does the fear of it.

It might have worked to ban phones and laptops in schools in the 90’s but social reliance on the internet means rules like this are just unrealistic. We should also examine the aim of banning, is it to somehow get the children to concentrate? Is it distracting? Perhaps. The truth is though that this is inevitable, and the internet is a library you can’t tell them what books to read…

The status quo of the education system is so limiting in that there’s a prescribed curriculum of what kids ‘need to know’ to succeed in life. The internet enables students to learn about the things that interest them, giving them a unique skills set in later life. This is in line with the societal shift about the purpose of education, from preparing us for a life already chosen for us by our social class, to one where students are less limited by this owing to the technical revolution.

The reality is most of the students will use a mobile phone as part of their job in later life. Schools however fail to realise that it is not frivolous digital chatter as a large part of young people lives are online, it is in a sense also a social education for them. It is the responsibility of schools to teach kids how to use these technologies responsibly rather than banish them.

Blanket bans seldom work anyway whether it be for phones, hoodies or crewing gum you just drive the rebellion. With kids possessing multiple devises and a culture based on the internet banning it is regarded as a restriction on their identities. Instead of adapting to the learning this generation needs, the generation teaching them continues to resit the learning they want and need.

So what’s the solution? Put learning online…

Students still need the academic guidance they always have, they just demand it in a different way. Elearning platforms will have their own departments within schools within 10 years, some examining bodies are even shunning paper based exams. 

DesignATest is an academic platform for students, teachers, parents and schools. It offers assessments that give a reliable indication of academic progression, with an interface pupils will engage with. It also harnesses the power of digital based analysis assessing pupils on a range of metrics.

You can create your first test right now and email it out to pupils in seconds. The system also lets you communicate effectively with parents. See what DesignATest does for your class…

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Save Money & The Environment: Test Online

It’s time to create tests online; teachers have been churning out reams of photocopying each year having a devastating effect on the environment. Even as new technology charges on revolutionising the world; many schools are still using the old fashion multiple choice paper tests.

It is so wasteful: because multiple choice tests seldom fill up all the space on the paper there’s a lot of empty space causing you to use unnecessary sheets.  Secondly for the average class of 30 the amount of pages can become immense especially when you have to photocopy something like a past paper at 15 pages per pupil….

This will save you money in reduced photocopying, it will also free up teachers for other tasks given online tests mark themselves instantly. Teachers can also measure time taken to complete the test and other metrics to analyse the child’s progress.

create online tests

Another huge benefit is that it is a platform students actually engage with. When you pop a test on a class you hear sighs as you distribute the same old boring  paper tests. Pupils find online tests engaging given that they can get their results, and see how they are doing as they go along. This helps students do better in tests as it boosts their confidence as it releases ‘reward’ signals in their brain. 

Think of the waste cycle paper tests go through right from the point the tree is cut down. All the trucks that are needed to take the wood shavings to the processing plants, then a truck to stores, then to deliver the paper to your school, and to top it off a truck to take it as waste…

Environment online tests

But where to start? There’s lots of testing platforms but to get started you need a programme students, teachers and parents can interact with. Everyone who is responsible for the child can monitor their progress and identify areas of improvement all working together. That in mind you want something simple, free from technical issues and allows you to design tests easily.

The DesignATest platform is designed with all of this in mind. It has easy drag /drop test building features. You can track a child’s progress with easy to read charts and graphics. You also have the ability to set assessments for different classes, levels and abilities. With DesignaTest the tests mark themselves automatically and you can share results with parents instantly.

You also get access to a huge database of reviewed tests, created by experts in their field, that you can set for pupils in just a few clicks.

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