Do you know a Noun phrase?

Early last month I sat KS2 English SAT test*. The whole experience was very enlightening. While writing down about the experience I began with excuses in case I had done very badly and let myself down (results at the bottom of the blog).

– I ran out of time to revise – or more accurately – to learn the spelling, grammar and punctuation rules!

– I spent an hour on BBC bitesize that morning before noticing the page was archived and was for the old SAT’s test.

Now with the excuses out of the way here are my reflections:The impact of sitting the test has made me paranoid about my punctuation and grammar! I am not sure whether that exclamation mark is correctly used, or whether any part of this sentence constitutes a ‘subordinate clause’. I don’t even know that ‘subordinating conjunction’ was a thing and I am far from convinced that it matters.

The second impact was that friends who are parents and have children in year 6 had been asking me if I can leak the paper and they were not joking! I was more than prepared to be the source of a leak, but the test I did was a sample that was published in July 2015 and is freely available.

It makes me sad that we have a testing regime in place, originally implemented to provide data to place schools on a league table, that has led teachers to ‘teach to the test’. This test has parents stressed to the point that they will cheat, and it will fail any 11 year old who can’t retain what a ‘noun phrase**’ is.

* TES invited me to take the test, as part of their research for this article. A fuller version of the article with my test results appeared in the TES magazine dated 29 April.

**A ‘noun phrase’ is a word or group of words containing a noun and functioning in a sentence as subject, object, or prepositional object.

RESULTS announced end of April 2016

Adam Annand. Score: Reading 92%, Grammar a mere 60%.

Remarks: A pleasure to mark the reading paper – gave excellent contextual discussion, such as ‘because we have a society that is structured around wealth…’ and ‘£14 million – I wonder if it was tax-deductible?’  Grammar paper was less successful, particularly in the second half where I felt he somewhat lost the will to live.

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