NFER Tests Suite 2 autumn, spring and summer

Optional tests for Years 3, 4 and 5 to help monitor pupil attainment and progress

Frequently asked questions

What is NFER Tests Suite 2?
How does NFER Tests Suite 2 help schools ensure pupils are on track to meet the expected standards at the end of KS2?
How does NFER Tests Suite 2 help to monitor pupil progress?
Why doesn’t NFER Tests Suite 2 provide scaled scores?
How were age-related expectations calculated?
Why are age-related expectation outcomes not available for the grammar and punctuation tests?
Why are age-related expectation outcomes not available for the autumn set of tests?
Are standardised scores a good measure for calculating a Year 6 scaled score?
How do I calculate standardised, age-standardised scores and age-related expectations scores?
Can I view the tests before purchasing?
When will spring tests be available?
Can we go from using Suite 1 to Suite 2?
How else can NFER Tests Suite 2 support teacher assessments?
Has NFER produced a reception baseline assessment scheme?
Do you have any other materials to support assessment?

What is NFER Tests Suite 2?

NFER Tests Suite 2 is our new range of tests for Years 3, 4 and 5. Aligned to the 2014 national curriculum, Suite 2 tests have undergone a robust standardisation with over 18,000 pupils taught this new curriculum. Suite 2 is designed to help schools to monitor pupil attainment and progress. For each year group, we offer two sets of reading, mathematics and grammar and punctuation tests (autumn and summer). A third set of tests for use in the spring term will be available for use in the 2017/18 academic year. We also provide a set of three spelling tests per year group for flexible use across the year.

How does NFER Tests Suite 2 help schools ensure pupils are on track to meet the expected standards at the end of KS2?

Our tests support teachers by providing evidence of attainment and progress through the provision of:

Data about individual questions can be explored using our downloadable analysis tools to identify pupil and class strengths and weaknesses. This information can then support personalised learning and effective targeted teaching, enabling pupils to meet age-related expectations.

How does NFER Tests Suite 2 help to monitor pupil progress?

As a result of extensive trialling, NFER Tests in reading, mathematics and grammar and punctuation will allow pupil progress to be monitored in two ways:

When used at two points in the school year, tests can be used to evidence progress made in the year. For example, if a pupil takes the Year 3 autumn reading test in September and the Year 3 summer reading test in June, then the progress made in these eight months can be monitored.

When used together, the summer tests for Years 3, 4 and 5 will enable progress to be monitored from one year to the next. For example, teachers will be able to look at the progress made by a pupil who took the Year 3 summer reading tests and then the following year took the Year 4 summer reading test.

New tools are currently being developed to allow teachers to more easily track pupil progress both within the school year and between school years. These will be available for reading and maths as a downloadable resource in June 2017. The equivalent resource for grammar and punctuation will be available in September 2017. For all subjects, this tool will provide teachers with current reliable nationally representative data with which to compare their own pupils’ performance.

Why doesn’t NFER Tests Suite 2 provide scaled scores?

The DfE use scaled scores in order to maintain the same expected standard across different tests. As there are new KS2 tests each year, it is very difficult to develop two tests that are exactly comparable in terms of the level of difficulty. So a scaled score is used to hold the expected standard constant; the average score may go up or down depending on the difficulty of the test in that year.

For published tests, the same test is used every year (during the life of the test) so there is no need to use a scaled score. It is more useful to produce a standardised score where the national average is fixed at 100. This allows you to see how children are performing compared to the national average and to compare the performance of different cohorts.

How were age-related expectations calculated?

We conducted a series of standard setting workshops with over 100 practising teachers. The teachers used their expertise to assess test content in relation to national curriculum expectations. Using a statistical method known as ‘bookmarking’, the teachers’ knowledge of the skills and understanding required of pupils either achieving or exceeding the expectations was used to define score ranges denoting how well pupils have mastered the curriculum for their school year.

Further information about age-related expectations can be found in our webinar series here.

Why are age-related expectation outcomes not available for the grammar and punctuation tests?

It is likely that grammar and punctuation expectations will vary considerably as teachers and pupils become more familiar with the relatively new Programme of Study requirements in this area of the curriculum. Therefore, we are not providing age-related expectation information for the grammar and punctuation tests: a standard setting exercise will be carried out when teacher and pupil familiarity with this curriculum area is more developed.

Why are age-related expectation outcomes not available for the autumn set of tests?

The autumn tests are designed to be taken towards the beginning of the academic year and as such, these tests make allowances for the fact that pupils have not been studying the current year’s curriculum for long. This means that for maths, the tests cover a small proportion of content from the curriculum of the previous year with the majority of content from the current year’s curriculum. For reading, some of the texts included are not as demanding. This ensures that there are questions which all pupils feel confident they can attempt. However, there are still questions that challenge the more able pupils and allow them to demonstrate their ability. For this reason, it is not appropriate to provide an age-related expectation outcome at this point; most pupils will likely be below the standard expected at the end of the year due to limited coverage of the content for that year.

However, autumn tests do provide standardised and age-standardised scores and are more useful for establishing a baseline against which within year progress can be measured. In many cases progress will be as expected – children will maintain their position relative to the national average. Others may make small incremental steps of progress improving their relative position whereas others may slip backwards – these are the children that you may wish to then monitor more carefully in the following year.

Are standardised scores a good measure for calculating a Year 6 scaled score?

A standardised score of 100 is not the same as, nor equivalent to, the Year 6 scaled score of 100. On NFER tests, a standardised score of 100 represents the average performance of the sample. The scaled score of 100 represents the ‘expected standard’, as defined by the DfE, and is not the same as an average score. The measure of age-related expectations provided in the summer tests may be a better guide, but we do not claim to provide any measure that explicitly predicts or mirrors the Year 6 scaled score.

How do I calculate standardised, age-standardised scores and age-related expectations scores?

Look-up tables are provided in the teacher guides. However, downloadable analysis tools are available for free when purchasing the associated teacher guides. These tools are designed to automatically calculate standardised scores, age-standardised scores and age-related expectations when you enter raw test scores. Our range of analysis tools also allow teachers to collate class level information, monitor class performance across Programmes of Study and gain insight into individual pupil development by tracking strengths and weaknesses.

Further information about how to use the analysis tools can be found in our webinar series here.

Can I view the tests before purchasing?

Examples of the types of materials you will see in NFER Tests Suite 2 reading, mathematics, spelling and grammar and punctuation tests can be found here.

When will spring tests be available?

Spring tests will be available to pre-order from April 2017, these tests will be delivered for use in the spring term 2018.

Can we go from using Suite 1 to Suite 2?

Yes. You will have the ability to monitor pupil progress between NFER Tests Suite 1 and NFER Tests Suite 2 due to the large nationally representative samples. For example, pupils who have taken a test from Suite 1 in Year 3 can take the Year 4 summer test from Suite 2 and progress can be monitored through a comparison of their standardised scores.

How else can NFER Tests Suite 2 support teacher assessments?

Our independent Analysis and Marking Service (AMS) provides schools with comprehensive analyses of pupils’ performance and progress in Suite 2 summer tests. NFER manages every stage of the collection, marking and analysis of your NFER Tests and provides you with a tailored report containing question level data profiles for each pupil including raw scores, age-standardised scores, and standardised scores, in a format suitable for sharing with staff, governors and Ofsted.

Has NFER produced a reception baseline assessment scheme?

Yes, NFER has developed a baseline assessment scheme for use on children's entry to Reception. This is currently being used by schools and is available to order here.

Do you have any other materials to support assessment?

We are in the process of developing Year 1 summer and Year 2 autumn reading and maths assessments which will be available for schools to order in 2018. These assessments have been designed to be age-appropriate with a distinctive KS1 look and feel.

We have also produced a set of four guides to support the teacher assessment of writing, especially grammar, at KS2.