Exam focus damaging pupils’ mental health, says NUT
4 July 2015
From the section Education & Family
Education should be a joyful experience, says the NUT
Too much focus on exams is damaging pupils’ mental health and self-esteem in England’s schools, a report says.
The National Union of Teachers’ report says pupils are developing stress-related conditions linked to testing.
Based on a survey of 8,000 teachers and a review of research, the report says drilling for tests has narrowed what children are learning.
The government said it is determined to ensure every child is able to realise their potential.
The report, Exam Factories? The Impact of Accountability Measures on Children and Young People, by Prof Merryn Hutchings of London Metropolitan University, says pupils’ emotional health and wellbeing is suffering because of “high-stakes testing”.
These are the national tests, exams and progress measures which the government uses to hold schools to account.
Most teachers surveyed for the report agreed pupils became “very stressed/anxious in the time leading up to Sats/public examinations”.
One teacher said: “You just see them sat there, a 10- or 11-year-old kid in complete meltdown.”
Another said: “I have just had a child off school for three days because he was so worried about his recent test result and didn’t want to take any more tests.”
Lucie Russell, director of campaigns at mental health charity Young Minds, which backed the report, said: “Both pupils and teachers are under a lot of pressure to achieve results in a pressure cooker, exam factory environment.
“Many of the young people Young Minds works with say that they feel completely defined by their grades and that this is very detrimental to their wellbeing and self-esteem.”
According to the report, the tests affect both able and less able pupils similarly.
One secondary …read more
Source:: BBC UK