Information for National Reference Test 2020 Markers

Marker privacy notice

What is the purpose of the test?

Ofqual’s National Reference Test (NRT) will provide additional information to support the awarding of GCSEs. The information from the test will be considered each year by Ofqual and the exam boards prior to GCSEs being awarded. The NRT will provide information on changes in performance standards over time and will be based on results from a nationally representative sample of students who will take the test shortly before taking their GCSEs. Currently, exam boards have limited evidence of how performance standards can change over time. The test will indicate if, over several years, there is a change in how students perform at the national level, which exam boards can then consider during awarding. Ofqual has appointed NFER to develop, administer and analyse the test on its behalf.

Approximately 300 schools will be participating in the test with approximately 30 of their year 11 students sitting the English test and a separate group of up to 30 students sitting the maths test. Each student will take either an English or a mathematics test and will only be selected to take the test if they are entered for the GCSE in that subject.

How are the tests being administered in schools?

Because of the highly confidential nature of the tests, representatives from the NFER will visit each school to administer the tests to the students. The tests will take place in schools from 24 February to 6 March 2020.

What is the composition and timing of the tests?

The English test will comprise a reading part and a writing part. Both the English and maths tests will last one hour. The test has been carefully designed to be accessible to all students who are due to sit their GCSEs in summer 2020. Students will be asked to make their best attempt at the whole test.

What is the role of the marker?

Markers will be appointed by NFER to undertake the marking of the English reading, English writing and mathematics tests. Markers must have experience of teaching and marking the relevant subject at key stage 4 and will be required to attend a training day on Saturday 7 March 2020 remotely, i.e. from home. Following the training day, marking will be carried out at home using NFER’s online marking system. Markers will be assigned to teams and will be supported by a supervisory marker throughout the process. All markers must pass a standardisation exercise before progressing to marking of live tests and the quality of their marking will be frequently audited and monitored throughout the marking period.

Markers must be able to commit to being available for the whole of the marking period: from 8 March to the end of 22 March 2020 and expect to work around 2-3 hours per day.

Applications should be submitted by completing NFER’s application form at the link below.

Marker Application Form 

The closing date for receipt is 1 January 2020.

What is the remuneration rate?

Markers should expect to receive a payment in the range of £1.80 and £2.50 per script.

Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interests

The security of the test materials is paramount. You must not copy any test materials that are supplied to you or retain any after you have completed the marking. You must not discuss the content of the test with anyone beyond those in the marking team, or communicate any information about the tests and their marking by email or through social media. All markers must sign a confidentiality agreement form before attending the training session to pledge that their knowledge of the content of the tests will remain confidential and specify any interests in schools and examination boards and inform NFER if, subsequently, they are approached by anyone in any regard in connection with their marking of the NRT.

Disclosure and Barring Service

As part of NFER’s pre-employment checks you will be required to undergo a criminal records check (unspent convictions only) and to provide, at your cost, a satisfactory basic Disclosure and Barring Service (“DBS”) certificate before you commence work with the Foundation.

How will NFER use and protect your data?

All the information you provide will be held securely by NFER whether the information is in electronic or physical format. We do not collect more information than is necessary to fulfil our stated purposes and we will not retain it for longer than is necessary. Read the full privacy notice for this project here.

Thank you for your interest in the test. For more information, please visit this page.

If you have any questions or queries about making the NRT, please contact NFER by telephone on 01753 637007 or by email to