Ofqual has introduced the National Reference Test (NRT) to provide additional information to support the awarding of GCSEs. The first NRT was held in February and March 2017 and involved 341 schools and nearly 18,000 GCSE students. Each year, a sample of GCSE students will take the same test so it will show, over time, if there is any change in how students perform at a national level.
NFER developed and administers the NRT under contract to Ofqual, and today we are publishing the 2019 Results Digest as part of this contract.
The NRT Results Digest 2019 includes details of the sample, the analyses conducted on the test data and how the tests performed overall. The main findings are:
- Overall, for both English and maths, the NRT tests functioned well, just as they had in 2017 and 2018.
- The expected percentage of students in English at grade 4 and above in 2019 is significantly lower than in 2017, the baseline year, at the 5% level of significance, but not at the 1% level of significance. The differences for grade 5 and above and grade 7 and above were lower than in 2017 but they were not significantly different. Nor were there any significant differences from 2017 to 2018 or from 2018 to 2019 for any of the three grades.
- In maths, the data indicates that the expected percentage of students at grade 7 and above is significantly greater than in 2017 at the 5% level of significance, but not at the 1% level of significance. The differences for grade 4 and above and grade 5 and above from 2017 to 2019 were not significantly different. Nor were there any significant differences from 2017 to 2018 or from 2018 to 2019 for any of the three grades.
You can read the full report here.
For additional information on the NRT please visit this page.