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A qualitative study into the effects of Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) on year 6 children with special educational needs

Bannan, Shirley (2010) A qualitative study into the effects of Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) on year 6 children with special educational needs. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The 1988 Education Act introduced the policy of inclusion for children with special educational needs allowing all abilities to be educated in mainstream schools where extra resources would be supplied to ensure additional requirements are met. The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2001) promotes equality of education and access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum for all children regardless of their mental or physical disabilities. The aim of this study was to establish what effects Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) have on year 6 children who are considered to have special educational needs. A qualitative research method used semi-structured interviews as a means of obtaining information regarding the subjective experiences of teaching assistants and learning support assistants. All these practioners either still work or have recently worked with children with special needs throughout revision and implementation of SATs. Thematic analysis of transcriptions revealed that these tests had a large impact on the school life of year 6 children with SEN. Intervention programmes were curtailed, work was not always sufficiently differentiated, and the amount of time spent on foundation subjects was greatly reduced. The teacher’s primary focus in year 6 is on improving attainment for children who are eligible to sit SAT tests due to the fact they are under constant pressure to maintain or improve the school’s position in performance tables.

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