Taking part in our research

Technical pre-tests of Key Stage 2 test materials

Project code: STPT

What are the purposes and aims of the project?

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has been commissioned by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) to trial test materials for assessment at Key Stage 2.

As part of that process we are asking a number of schools to trial new English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS), and mathematics tests. The trial is aimed at testing the performance of individual questions rather than the performance of any pupil, and means that schools can have confidence that Key Stage 2 tests function appropriately for pupils in Year 6 and that the results will be valid and reliable.

How have schools been selected to take part?

The schools have been randomly selected by the STA and make up a nationally representative sample. If your school has been selected we will have written to your headteacher and if your school is LA maintained, we will have informed your LA that your school has been selected.

Please note that from 2016, participation in these trials is statutory.

For more information please go to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/introduction-of-statutory-participation-in-trialling-of-national-curriculum-tests-from-2016

What does being selected to take part involve?

Your school will be asked to trial tests for Key Stage 2 English reading, English GPS or mathematics.

We will arrange for a representative from NFER to come to your school to administer the tests to one class of Year 6 children. The tests should be given to children who will be entered for the Key Stage 2 statutory assessments, in the appropriate subject, in May 2017. The date of the trialling will be arranged at your convenience in the period 18 April – 5 May 2017.

Each school will be asked to trial the tests in one subject only. The tests will take the following form in each subject:

During the administration, a member of school staff, with experience in the test subject, is required to be present at all times. At the end of the administration, they will complete a short questionnaire giving their opinions on the content of the tests.

How will my school benefit from being selected for the trials?

A member of your staff will be able to see what future assessments may look like and will have the opportunity to provide input into the development of the tests. Feedback from your school will give the STA a very good idea of what content to include in final examination papers.

Test scores will not be calculated until after the trials and because they are based on trial evidence there is a possibility that children’s results could give misleading data. For this reason, we are regrettably unable to give feedback to the schools who take part in the development of tests. However, participating children will receive a pencil and certificate as acknowledgment for their help with these trials.

How will NFER use and protect the data collected from my school?

For the purpose of this trial, STA will provide NFER with census data for participating schools and pupils. Schools will only be asked to provide data for new pupils and to make any amendments to existing data. All data collected will be held in strict confidence by NFER and the STA, and no individual school or child will be identified in any report arising from the trial.

Who can you contact for more information?

Our aim is that your experience of taking part in the trial is a positive one and we are on hand to support you throughout if required. Please feel free to contact our team on 01753 637136 or via email at stpt@nfer.ac.uk if you have any queries or require further information.