QTS Skills Test week+ equivalent tests-some Easter hols this is!
My teacher training has been going well, good observations, children making progress and happy. I have a backlog of assessment pieces to mark at home but thought that I could tackle those over Easter, making a note of which child requires what in their writing for ARE in Sats-useful work. I was also hoping to relax and ret and actually feel a bit less overwhelmed and more prepared for my assessment to go through for the summer.
School is in the throws of a restructure, so before Easter I had to make a decision-more unnecessary stress.
So Easter arrives, I have practised my maths work for the DFE Skills tests and haven’t really worried about the English-my brother calls me the grammar police on a regular basis. I get to the test centre in Nottingham to have my tests cancelled-so that stressed me out. I had to stop practise then as I had to revise to take my science equivalent test in exam conditions at school on the Thursday-another afternoon given up to paperwork that doesn’t actually help my teaching. I had my skills tests booked for the Saturday-which turned out to be the hottest day of the year at 23 degrees, talk about melting. Anyway, the tests went as expected-I passed the English but failed the maths. I failed the maths by 1 measly mark-which I have an issue with considering that my computer froze and cost me over a minute in time and could easily have been the extra mark. So now I am revising again for maths, especially considering that some of the questions were not anything like the practise papers and the data so tiny it was hard to see. So I phone learn Direct’s helpline-and their answerphone states they are closed for the bank holiday-a week early!
Below is a quote taken from the DFE website:
Your first attempt at each test is free of charge. If you don’t pass within three attempts, you will need to wait 24 months before you can book any further tests – this would mean starting the teacher training application process again, so make sure you allow plenty of time to revise.
I find this to be complete and unnecessary stress, as a student teacher-I have been graded as good, as above the children’s progress shows I can teach. This stupid test full of ridiculously long winded questions does not. I understand having to look at grammar, spelling and punctuation, we use those daily (however, this is covered in standard 3 of the teaching standards!) This type of maths I do not. It is now getting to me to the point where I actually want to pull out-why on earth do we need to sit such ridiculous tests-which are being made harder and the practise material not being updated, either on the DEF website or in all the books sold.
I just want to cry. I have spent thousands of pounds doing my course, have taken a risk on my career and now I am in danger of being locked out for 24 months-2 years!!!!!! We have a teacher crisis for goodness sake and yet we are blocking dedicated people from the profession over a silly test. You are already required to produce GCSE certificates-why on earth these tests haven’t been abolished is beyond me.
My head, senco, deputy head and assistant head took none of these skills test yet are the SLT of a GOOD school-they are not necessary. They are an extra piece of pointless “red tape” designed to allow only the most academic in to the profession-not all academic ability can be assessed by a ridiculous electronic test, neither can the ability to teach.
The whole of my first week off has been ruined as the beginning of the second. So when school reopens on Tuesday next week I will not be refreshed, ready to teach, nor will my assessment be done (as I’ll have to do the weekly planning) as I have wasted time studying for a silly test that is POINTLESS!