Taking part in our research

Technical Pre-test of key stage 1 Phonics screening check

Project code: STRP

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 1.

As part of that process we are asking a number of schools to trial new materials for the phonics screening check with pupils in year 1. This is a short, light-touch assessment which is used to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

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?

STA will randomly select a sample of up to 20 year 1 pupils, from each assisting school, to participate in the trial (based on the size of the year 1 cohort in each school); where possible up to five additional pupils will be selected as reserves. Similar to the live Phonics screening check it will take approximately 10 minutes to trial the check materials with each sampled pupil and the check will be administered on a one-to-one basis by a teacher who is known to the child, preferably the class teacher. An NFER administrator will bring the materials to the school and remain in school during the day to support the teachers and the administration process. The trialling date will be at the school’s convenience during the period 12-16 June 2017.

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.

Test scores will not be calculated until after the trials and because they are based on trial evidence there is a possibility that pupils’ 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 pupils 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?

All information relating to this project will be kept confidential by NFER and STA and no individual or school will be identified in any report. The NFER will need to supply the STA with a list of the schools that agree to take part in the trial and their pupil data to allow the random sampling of pupils and matching of results to national pupil data. NFER and STA will not disclose names of individuals or schools involved in the trial either in any reports arising from the use of this data or in any other way.

Who can be contacted 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 637137 or via email at strp@nfer.ac.uk if you have any queries or require further information.