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Key stage 1 tests: how to use access arrangements
Guidance for teachers and headteachers about access arrangements for pupils to participate in the 2017 key stage 1 national curriculum tests.
Some pupils, with specific needs, may need additional arrangements to be put in place so that they can take part in the key stage 1 (KS1) tests. Access arrangements are adjustments that can be made to support pupils. Headteachers and teachers must consider whether any of their pupils will need access arrangements before they administer the tests.
Access arrangements should be based primarily on normal classroom practice and they must never provide an unfair advantage. The support given must not change the test questions and the answers must be the pupils’ own.
Failure to administer access arrangements appropriately could result in a maladministration investigation.
It may be helpful to use KS1 practice materials with pupils before administering the tests. This will enable you to identify where support is needed and if any adaptations should be made, either to the test materials or to the administration of the tests.
Section 5.2 of the 2017 KS1 assessment and reporting arrangements (ARA) provides a summary of who access arrangements are for and how they can be used.
Access arrangements might be used to support pupils:
- who have difficulty reading
- who have difficulty writing
- with a hearing impairment
- with a visual impairment
- who use sign language
- who have difficulty concentrating
- who have processing difficulties
Due to the diversity of pupils’ needs, this guidance does not list every circumstance where it would be appropriate to use access arrangements. When planning for the tests you should think of any needs your pupils have and whether they receive additional support as part of normal classroom practice. Some pupils may not be able to access the tests, despite the provision of additional arrangements.
During a monitoring visit, local authorities (LAs) may ask to see evidence that any additional support provided in the tests is part of normal classroom practice. Evidence will vary according to the type of arrangement and the tasks it is required for. Evidence may include notes recorded in teaching plans, individual pupil support plans or a pupil’s classwork to demonstrate the type of support provided in the classroom.
If this guidance does not cover a particular pupil’s needs, you may contact STA using ‘Message us’ in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. For general enquiries please contact the national curriculum assessments helpline on 0300 303 3013.
A scribe is a writing assistant who writes out answers as dictated by the pupil. A scribe might be used when a pupil is physically:
- unable to write their own answers or use a word processor
- able to write but has a motor impairment that causes physical discomfort when writing
- able to write but writes very slowly
- able to write but finds writing very difficult
- unable to write following an injury
Schools should identify whether a pupil will need a scribe for all or part of a test and should make appropriate arrangements before administering the test.
A scribe might also be needed for pupils:
- who are known to experience fatigue
- with a visual/motor impairment and who write over their own handwriting, which may need to be made clear
In these circumstances, pupils may start the test as normal and begin using a scribe when needed.
Guidance for scribes
- must be able to write legibly
- must be able to write at a reasonable speed
- must not be another pupil at the school
- must not be a relative, carer or guardian of the pupil taking the test
- may also act as a reader (for the optional English grammar, punctuation and spelling test and/or mathematics test only)
All language, punctuation and phrasing must be the pupil’s own.
The scribe should:
- make a correction on a script if asked to do so by the pupil
- work at the pupil’s pace and not hurry them if they need time for reflection/rest or reading
- follow precisely the pupil’s instructions to draw or add to diagrams/charts and graphs in the mathematics tests
If it will be very difficult to read the pupil’s writing when marking the test script, you might want to make a transcript. If a transcript is made, it should be done with the pupil at the end of the test using a different coloured pen from the pupil’s.
Pupils who can’t read their own writing could use a word processor or scribe, if this is normal classroom practice.
Word processors or other technical or electrical aids
During the mathematics and optional English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests, pupils may use word processors or other technical or electrical aids as long as:
- it is normal classroom practice
- the equipment doesn’t read mathematical symbols in the mathematics tests or punctuation in the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests
- any spell checking function the equipment may feature is turned off for the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests
- the equipment is used on a one-to-one basis, preferably in a separate room to the rest of the cohort
During the English reading test, word processors or electronic or technical aids may be used to record pupils’ answers. They must not be used to provide reading support, other than to read the general instructions on page 3 of the reading answer booklet.
If a pupil has difficulty reading then they may use a reader for the optional English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests and for the mathematics tests. ‘Notes for readers in the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test’ will give examples of how particular types of questions should be read aloud to a pupil..
At KS1, test administrators may choose to read the questions aloud with a pupil, small group of pupils or the whole class. Where questions are being read to a number of pupils, test administrators must consider the individual needs of the pupils to ensure they are not disadvantaged by the pace any text is read at.
Readers cannot be used during the English reading tests, except where the test administration instructions allow.
The use of a reader should be normal classroom practice. Readers are usually teachers or support assistants. They should not be a relative, carer or guardian of the pupil. If a pupil requests it, the reader may also read back any part of a pupil’s written response to a question.
A prompter may support pupils with severe attention problems. The use of a prompter must be normal classroom practice. Verbal prompting may be used where this is in line with the support the pupil normally receives in class.
The prompter should be careful not do anything that could be interpreted as over-aiding or providing an advantage to the pupil. Prompters should not be a relative, carer or guardian of the pupil.
If a pupil finds it difficult to concentrate on individual questions, the school may choose to use adhesive notes or stickers to cover other questions on the page to help the pupil focus.
The majority of pupils should be able to complete the tests without a break. However, if a pupil finds it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, or experiences fatigue, the school might want to split the test into sections and allow the pupil a rest break.
The contents of the test must not be discussed during rest breaks.
In extreme situations schools may consider splitting a KS1 test so it is administered over more than one day.
Schools must ensure the test paper is split so the pupil does not have access to any questions that may be administered on a subsequent day. Schools do not need permission from STA to do this.
Written or oral translations
Written translations of the mathematics tests can be made in advance and oral translations may be given by a translator as the test is administered. Pupils may write their responses in English or in their first language. If a pupil’s answers are not in English, then the pupil’s usual translator should make a transcript into English.
Translators need to bear in mind that pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) may not be familiar with some subject vocabulary and technical terms in their preferred language. Translators may want to review the test paper to check for any unfamiliar vocabulary before the test is administered.
KS1 tests can be administered throughout May 2017. Schools must not open test materials early to prepare translations. You should consider either administering the tests to particular pupils that need translations after the initial administration of the tests, using the opened test materials to make the necessary arrangements, or making translations using downloadable versions which will be available on NCA tools from Tuesday 2 May.
A translator must not be a relative, carer or guardian of the pupil requiring a translation.
The English reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests cannot be translated. No help may be given with reading or understanding the questions or passages of text on which questions in the tests are based. Only the general instructions can be translated.
Apparatus in the mathematics test
If a pupil has difficulty accessing two-dimensional diagrams, schools may give them real objects that look like those illustrated in the mathematics tests.
Schools may consider administering the mathematics tests to these pupils after they have been administered to other pupils, or reviewing the downloadable versions of the tests on NCA tools, which will be available from Tuesday 2 May, before administering the tests, so they know which questions apparatus may be required for.
Making modifications to the test papers
Schools can make their own modifications to test papers where necessary, such as photocopying the papers onto coloured paper, enhancing diagrams and enlarging text.
KS1 tests can be administered throughout May 2017. Schools must not open test materials early to make modifications. You should consider either administering the tests to particular pupils that need school-based modifications after the initial administration of the tests, using the opened test materials to make the necessary arrangements, or modifying the downloadable versions, which will be available on NCA tools from Tuesday 2 May.
Modified test papers
The size and type of font used in the standard version of the KS1 mathematics tests have been designed to be more accessible to pupils with visual impairments. Enlarged print versions of the mathematics tests will no longer be supplied. Schools should consider whether it is appropriate to use the modified large print version for pupils who might previously have used the enlarged print version.
You can discuss the suitability of, and order, braille and modified large print versions of KS1 tests by contacting the modified test agency on 0300 303 3019.
Schools do not need to make applications for additional time for the KS1 tests. The KS1 tests are not strictly timed so schools can give pupils the amount of time they feel is appropriate to enable the pupil to demonstrate their abilities.
However, schools should consider the particular pupil’s needs and the access arrangements detailed above before making the decision to give a pupil additional time to complete a test.
Pupils using the modified large print and braille versions of the tests may need more time to complete the tests than those using the standard versions. Schools should consider how much additional time these pupils will need to complete the tests before their administration.
Schools do not need to make applications for early opening as the KS1 tests can be administered throughout May 2017. If schools need to make modifications to papers to meet a pupil’s needs, or if translators or signers need access to the papers to prepare for the administration of the tests, they must not open test materials early.
You should consider either administering the tests to particular pupils that need the specific access arrangements after the initial administration of the tests, using the opened test materials to make the necessary arrangements, or using downloadable versions which will be available on NCA tools from Tuesday 2 May.
Compensatory marks for spelling
Some pupils with a hearing impairment will not be able to access the spelling paper of the optional English grammar, punctuation and spelling test. Raw scores from both English grammar, punctuation and spelling papers are needed to reach an overall scaled score.
A compensatory mark for the spelling test will be available to schools by request from the national curriculum assessments helpline on 0300 303 3013 at the beginning of June. Schools should add the compensatory mark for spelling to the raw score from the English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: questions before converting the overall raw score to a scaled score.
KS1 tests do not have a fixed timetable and can be administered to separate groups or individuals during the test administration window. If a pupil is absent on the school’s planned day for the administration of a test, it may be administered to that pupil on their return to school.
Schools do not need to make applications for, or complete notifications of, timetable variations if pupils take KS1 tests at a different time from the rest of the cohort.
Schools do not need to inform STA if a child has cheated in the KS1 tests. Teachers should note which questions the pupil has cheated on and make the appropriate adjustment to the raw score when marking the test.
Special consideration for key stage 1 tests
There is no special consideration for KS1 tests. If a pupil experiences extremely distressing circumstances at the school’s planned time for the administration of the tests, which may affect the pupil’s capacity to demonstrate their full abilities, the school should consider postponing the administration of the test to later in May.
The 2017 KS1 tests are intended to inform a teacher’s overall teacher assessment judgements of a pupil. Where a pupil’s test result does not reflect their actual abilities, this may be taken into account alongside the other evidence gathered to inform the teacher assessment judgement.