How Are NFER Tests Developed

NFER’s popular range of standardised assessments for years 1-6 are based on over 75 years of assessment research and expertise.

But, what goes on behind the scenes in the test development process to ensure tests are reliable, fair and robust?

  1. Identifying the assessment need

NFER works with teachers and school leaders to identify common ‘pain points’.

  1. Designing the test model

This stage involves designing the tests – what they need to measure, what types of question will be included, and what data should be generated, and trying out these ideas with teachers.

  1. Early development

NFER’s in-house team of assessment experts, many with teaching backgrounds, work together, to ensure assessments benefit from NFER’s 75 years of assessment research expertise. This phase involves writing texts, questions and mark schemes, and then subjecting them to thorough review.

  1. Qualitative trials in school

Qualitative trialling begins with a small number of schools to see how the materials function in the classroom. This involves working closely with teachers and pupils to understand how they are interpreting the texts and questions.

  1. Commissioning art work

It is important that the assessments are engaging for pupils. Art work is commissioned from experienced artists and designers.

  1. Cultural and SEND reviews

Experts review the material to ensure that it is free from bias and there are no elements which will disadvantage particular groups.

  1. Formal school trials

Large scale trialling begins, involving pupils in schools across England. Checks are undertaken to ensure that this sample is representative of all schools in the country.

  1. Statistical analysis of trials

Analysis of the data from the trials enables the final versions of the tests to be constructed. Standardised and age standardised scores will be produced.

  1. Standard setting

For some tests, NFER convenes large groups of teachers who scrutinise the tests and undertake a judgemental exercise, enabling test thresholds to be set.

  1. Developing outputs for schools

NFER produces teacher guides, results-analysis software and any necessary resources.

Find out more about NFER Tests for years 1-6.