With the number of academies and Free Schools on the rise, the camp is largely divided on the merits of government curriculum stipulated aptitude tests and children's education; live and let learn? Or test and assess? Changes in coalition government legislation mean England's children are likely to be subject to more rigorous aptitude testing than ever unless popular oppositions to such measures win out (in May 2010, head teachers of the largest teaching unions - NUT and NAHT - voted to boycott SATS testing) However, revamped testing is said to have led to more efficient tests, less intent on pigeon-holing kids and providing more focus on areas for all-round educational improvement and development.
Key Stage 1
To be undertake at age 7. Key Stage 1 is a nationally distributed coupling
of tests based around Maths and English. These aptitude tests are marked within school by children's own teachers, with their assessment of a child's capabilities being the deciding factor on results.
Key Stage 2
Sat during the final year of junior education (age 11) and also known as the '11 Plus', this series of aptitude tests are often used as the yardstick factor in deciding whether a child should be awarded a place at grammar school. Tests in Maths, Science and English are marked externally and published nationally unless the child is seeking a place at grammar school (in which case test results are not published)
Key Stage 3
At age 14, students within local authority controlled schools are required to partake in psychometric testing (SATS) covering English, Maths and Science. Again, these results are nationally published and can sit as benchmarks against which a child's suitability for particular GCSE subjects is measured.
Teaching unions and parents alike are still divided upon the intrinsic educational worth of such aptitude tests.
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