That way madness lies…(1700 pages of guidance)


I, I can’t get these memories out of my mind
And some kind of madness has started to evolve
I, I tried so hard to let you go
But some kind of madness is swallowing me whole, yeah
Muse, Madness


There are decisions which make you breathe a huge sigh of relief. The decision to deny the freedom of information request regarding the marking guidance is one such decision. (A definite Christmas present in disguise)

One can only imagine the madness that would have occurred in Year 6 classrooms had those 1700 pages of guidance been released. The teaching of finicky detail on where to place a semi-bloody-colon. (This to be fair may already be happening)  Lord knows what other nonsense lies within those 1700 pages, thankfully we’ll never know and I’m glad for that.

That the DfE have 1700 pages of guidance for a test for 11-year-olds is another matter entirely


If it had been released can you just imagine that first day back… That Spring term…The booster class nightmares…



Don’t get me wrong I think that there is 1700 pages of guidance is an absolute nonsense. That there are hidden rules to passing these tests that we don’t know about is frankly ludicrous. The fact that in some cases last year children were marked wrong when they absolutely knew the answer is just beyond belief. I’m just grateful that we don’t know the extent of this ridiculousness. I’m just glad that my teachers will just get on and teach the children. Equally don’t get me wrong either I love a good test. Wouldn’t it be great if those tests actually impacted on pupils learning and helped them with the next steps in their learning.

Wouldn’t it be great if they were about children not just measuring the schools they come from. Wouldn’t it be great if secondary had any faith in them and used the information to create effective transition.

On the flip side does this give me any faith in what I feel is an assessment system already teetering on the edge. Definitely not. The travesty that this nonsense is tied to a high stakes accountability system where in some cases people lose their jobs beggars belief.

Does it make me fear for the direction of travel that education is heading in…Yes it completely does.

It’s time to stop and assess what it is we’re doing with assessment. I think its time to hit the reset button and start again.

Be grateful I’ve not even mentioned the nonsense that will be writing assessment this year (or the last two years) and the reintroduction of best fit (in principle I agree but know this will increase the variability of judgement even more)

Writing…Honestly, we need honesty.

So small mercies that we will never know the contents of those 1700 pages but if this does not ring alarm bells about what we’re doing with regards to education then nothing will.



1 thought on “That way madness lies…(1700 pages of guidance)

  1. No SATs in Wales for a long time,I can remember the sigh of relief from year 5children when they were abolished,,we were allowed to teach them again.Not that the recent Standardised literacy and numeracy tests are perfect.


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