Following its release of consultation outcomes last week, the DfE has now released its test specifications for the new National Curriculum tests. I don’t know enough about current KS1 tests to make comparisons, so hopefully someone else will, but here follows an outline of the proposals for the new Key Stage 2 tests from Summer 2016.
The changes already made for the 2014 series will be maintained, i.e. the test will last for one hour, to include reading time, and will consist of a selection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry tests, with an accompanying answer booklet. Questions will be roughly in order of difficulty. The paper will be scored out of 50, as currently, with final raw scores being converted into a scaled score, with 100 representing the expected standard. There will be no extension paper.
Just over half the points will be awarded for one-mark answers, with 5-8 two-mark questions, and 1-4 three-mark questions. The breakdown of content covered is shown in this table from the specification:
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
The structure of the papers will be broadly similar to those currently used: One paper of 45-minute duration will assess punctuation and grammar (50 marks) through short answer questions, while a second test will assess Spelling (20 marks). The spelling test will be read to students, with each spelling contained in a separate sentence as has been the case since 2013. As with Reading, overall marks out of 70 will be converted to a scaled score, with 100 representing the expected standard.
Most questions on the punctuation & grammar paper will be short answers, with some sentence answers towards the end of the paper. There will be no extension paper. The breakdown of content over the two papers is shown in this table from the specification:
The most notable change to the tests is in the mathematics papers. The former mental mathematics test is to be replaced by a 30-minute arithmetic test. This will consist largely of one-mark questions using context-free calculations. There will be some 2-mark questions for long multiplication and long division calculations. In two-mark questions, it will only be possible to obtain single mark for a wrong answer derived from a correct method when using the intended standard method.
There will be a further two test papers, each lasting 40 minutes and containing 40 marks. These will test fluency, reasoning and problem solving, in a manner similar to the current tests. Up to half of the questions will be provided within a context. There will be no calculator paper, and no extension paper. As with other tests, raw scores will be converted to a scaled score, with 100 representing the expected standard.
The breakdown of content is broadly set out in this table from the specification:
There will continue to be Science testing for a sample of pupils. These will consist of three 25-minute tests, with each addressing either biology, chemistry or physics.
More detail on the test frameworks is available from the DfE website: