We’ve written this post because there has been a lot of discussion about the Writing Framework recently and this has caused some to romanticise the days of writing tests.
How the DfE/STA decides to assess writing tells you a lot about its philosophy and epistemology towards the craft of writing and its feelings towards apprentice writers. It also has profound effects on the ontology, methodology and writing pedagogy of the teaching profession. It influences the way things are taught. Therefore, what is deemed important in a test will inevitably lead the way teachers teach. So, you have to ask yourself, is it likely that a high-stakes test will test what should be taught? I ask this question because we as teachers know full well we will be asked to do what needs to be done in terms of writing instruction and activity to produce good scores. I have no problem with this in principle, and indeed it can be the strength of any assessment system, but will a writing test encourage good writing instruction and activity? I have my doubts and I explain why below.