Best Practice

Creative approaches to literacy and the SPAG tests

Will the new spelling, punctuation and grammar tests produce an assembly line of rote-learning at the expense of creativity? Alison Wilcox looks at how we can tackle the tests, but still engage our pupils

The government has made it clear that the skill it values most is the ability to pass exams. The content of the National Tests – Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) – sends a clear message to primary schools about what the government measures as success and a rise in standards. 

While the new national curriculum allows teachers greater scope for creative delivery of its objectives, the external tests place little emphasis on creativity. 

SATs have already cast a shadow over the classroom, and restricted the creative opportunities in schools, and there is plenty of evidence that the assessment and accountability systems have an unhealthy influence on schools, not least because performance tables can have a major influence on whether they fail or flourish; continue as they are or become academies.

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