Section 6: Test administration
About the testing window, keeping materials secure, the headteacher's declaration form (HDF) and reporting results
6 Test administration
The tests must be administered in accordance with STA’s test administration guidance. Headteachers must make sure the guidance is read, understood and followed by all teachers, teaching assistants and others involved in administering the tests.
The test administration guidance on GOV.UK will be updated for the 2016 tests in March 2016. The test administration instructions provided for the 2016 sample tests can be used by schools to prepare for the administration of the tests.
A school could be subject to a maladministration investigation if they don’t comply with the test administration guidance. Allegations of maladministration can come from misunderstandings about correct test administration. To help avoid this, all staff, pupils and parents should understand how and when the tests will be administered.
6.1 Security of test materials
Headteachers are responsible for ensuring that the integrity of the tests is maintained so that no pupil has an unfair advantage. The test materials must be kept secure and treated as confidential from the point they are received in school until Friday 20 May (the end of the timetable variation period).
Test packs should be opened in the test room when the pupils are ready to start the test, or within the hour before the test begins if minor modifications are necessary (see section 6.2 below), unless STA has granted permission for opening them early.
Teachers and test administrators mustn’t discuss the content of the test papers with anyone or use question-specific information to prepare pupils for the test. Also, specific content which could compromise the test must not be discussed on social media or published in blogs.
After the tests have been administered the test scripts must be kept securely until they are collected for marking. Any unused test materials must be kept securely until Friday 20 May.
6.2 Making modifications to the tests
Schools can open the test materials up to an hour before the administration of the tests if they need to make specific modifications to the papers for particular pupils. For example to copy the test script onto coloured paper or to enlarge the paper. Headteachers must ensure that the confidentiality of the tests is maintained when any modifications are being made.
Schools are responsible for ensuring that any modifications made to the tests are done properly. STA can’t compensate or give special consideration where schools have incorrectly modified test papers.
Schools should consider how much time they will need to make any modifications. If schools need more than the hour before the tests to make the modifications they must make an application for early opening.
6.3 When to administer the tests
All the tests must be administered on the days specified in the statutory timetable. Headteachers are responsible for deciding the start time of the tests each day but all pupils should take each test at the same time.
If this isn’t possible, schools may make an application for a timetable variation application via NCA tools for an individual pupil or whole or part of the cohort to take the test(s) on a different day. Or, they may notify STA of timetable variation notification via NCA tools to allow an individual pupil or part of the cohort to sit the test on the same day but at a different time.
Tests must not be taken before the day specified in the statutory timetable.
6.4 Changes to the statutory test timetable
If a school has an approved timetable variation application or makes a timetable notification the headteacher must ensure that:
- the pupil takes the test(s) at the nominated time(s)
- STA is informed of any variation to the nominated time
Schools must also make sure affected pupils haven’t had the opportunity to communicate with any other pupils who have already taken the test. Schools must gain assurance from parents that the pupil:
- is kept apart from other pupils taking or who have taken the test
- hasn’t had access to the test content via the internet or any other means during the test period
Absence during the test period
Pupils who miss one or more component of a test and do not qualify for a timetable variation will not be awarded a score for that test.
Teacher assessment judgements must still be submitted for pupils who are absent during the test period.
6.5 Administering the tests away from school
Under certain circumstances and at the headteacher’s discretion, schools may administer tests at a different location within the UK, eg another school, the pupil’s home, a hospital or pupil referral unit. Schools must still ensure the test administration guidance is followed correctly. Schools must inform STA that a pupil or part of the cohort has taken the test(s) at another location by completing the new ‘tests administered at another location’ notification form via NCA tools.