2016 Key stage 1: assessment and reporting arrangements (ARA)

Section 5: Participation in tests

How different types of schools participate in the tests, which pupils should take them and details of access arrangements

5.1 Participating pupils

Pupils must take the KS1 tests if they:

  • have completed the programme of study for KS1
  • are considered to be working at the standard of the test

The tests are designed to be used with all pupils at the appropriate standard. There will be some pupils who will be working below the ‘expected standard’ of the test, who will not achieve a scaled score of 100, but who should still take the tests. Teachers should use their knowledge of each pupil to decide whether to administer the tests to them. They may use the sample materials to help inform these decisions.

Pupils that shouldn’t take the tests

Teachers shouldn’t use the tests with pupils who:

  • are working below the standard of the tests
  • are unable to participate in the tests using suitable access arrangements

Headteachers should decide whether it is appropriate for each of their pupils to take the tests. The headteacher’s decision regarding participation is final.

If a school decides not to enter a pupil for the tests or if a teacher does not have evidence that a pupil consistently meets all the statements in the lowest standards in the interim teacher assessment frameworks, the interim pre-key stage standard should be used to provide a statutory assessment outcome for the pupil and any reasonable adjustments which reflect usual classroom practice may remain for teacher assessment.

It is important to note that because the standard of the easiest questions remains the same as on previous tests, we are not expecting any significant increase in the number of pupils not sitting the tests. If pupils are able to answer the easiest questions, they should be entered for the tests.

Decisions on participation in the tests

Headteachers can make final decisions about participation in the tests.

As part of the decision-making process, headteachers should:

  • discuss the pupil’s circumstances and needs with their parents and teachers
  • if appropriate, consult with educational psychologists, medical officers or other specialist staff

If a headteacher decides a pupil shouldn’t take one or more of the tests they should explain this decision to the parents. They should also write a report which:

  • explains why the pupil can’t take some or all of the tests
  • refers to any action the school has already taken or special support the pupil has been offered
  • identifies any procedures that they’ve used to analyse and monitor the pupil’s needs and indicate where the information is recorded
  • identifies whether these circumstances are likely to be long term or short term

A copy of the report must be sent to the:

  • pupil’s parents
  • chair of the governing body

Details of the parents’ right to appeal the decision should be included with the report. If a headteacher believes that a parent may have difficulty in understanding the report, they may offer appropriate assistance.

A copy of the report should be placed on the pupil’s educational record.

5.2 Access arrangements

The tests are intended to assess pupils’ abilities in a fair and comparable way, with as many pupils as possible able to access them. They are designed so that most pupils with a special educational need (SEN) or disability can participate in the standard format. However, teachers may need to use access arrangements to adapt the administrative arrangements for the tests for some pupils so that they can demonstrate their abilities.

Using access arrangements during the tests should be based primarily on normal classroom practice for particular needs. They should neither advantage nor disadvantage individual pupils.

Teachers should decide whether any access arrangements are appropriate by carefully considering the assessment needs of individual pupils. Access arrangements can be used to support pupils:

  • with hearing impairments
  • with visual impairments
  • who use sign language

Access arrangements may be appropriate for pupils:

  • with a statement of SEN or an Education Health and Care Plan as described in the SEN Code of Practice
  • for whom provision is being made in school using the SEN Support system or whose learning difficulty and / or disability significantly affects their ability to access the tests
  • who require alternative access arrangements because of a disability (which may or may not give rise to a special educational need)
  • who are unable to sit and work for a long period because of a disability or because of behavioural, emotional or social difficulties
  • with English as an additional language and who has limited fluency in English