sats-exams-919869121.jpg Teachers in Ottowa have called for a two year moratorium on standardised tests for primary pupils in order to assess their impact on education The teachers are members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO). In an introduction to ETFO's report on the tests. Professor Joel Westheimer asks, 'What are schools for?' - a question he believes is rarely taken up and goes on to argue that large scale tests areĀ a 'threat to democracy' because they 'foster an education system where creativity and critical thinking are devalued and students are rewarded for not questioning authority.' He characterises education systems focused on testing as ones where 'no child is left thinking.' ETFO points out that the domination of tests causes other subjects such as science, social studies, history and the arts to be sidelined in the race to get as many pupils as possible through the tests. Not only that but in a time of cutbacks in education spending the testing regime costs the province of Ontario some $100 million per annum. The union carried out a survey of some 64 experienced teachers who were paid to participate which concluded that the tests had little value but that on the contrary they skewed the curriculum and put too much pressure on children who saw school, according to one teacher as 'a series of hoops to jump through.' They also discriminate against children with special needs or children with English as an additional language and fly in the face of the government's stated policy that 'learning should be geared towards a child's specific needs.' To read the beginning of ETFO's report go to: http://www.etfo.ca/Publications/Voice/Voice%20Back%20Issues/Documents/March%202010/Campaign%20Against%20EQAO%20Launched.pdf