Key stage 1 tests: how to use access arrangements
- Standards and Testing Agency
- Part of:
- National curriculum assessments: key stage 1 tests
- First published:
- 18 March 2016
Guidance for teachers and headteachers about access arrangements for pupils to participate in the 2016 key stage 1 national curriculum tests.
This guidance will be updated for the 2017 test cycle in March.
A small number of pupils may need additional arrangements so they can take part in the key stage 1 (KS1) tests. Headteachers and teachers must consider whether any of their pupils will need access arrangements before they administer the tests.
Access arrangements are adjustments that can be made to support pupils, but they should be based primarily on normal classroom practice for pupils with specific needs. You don’t need to request permission from STA to use any access arrangements for the KS1 tests, but you must ensure any access arrangements you use don’t advantage or disadvantage individual pupils.
Your school could be subject to a maladministration investigation if you cannot provide evidence that any access arrangements used are based on normal classroom practice.
It may be helpful to use the KS1 sample tests with pupils before administering the tests. This will enable you to identify where support is needed and if any adaptations will need to be made either to the test materials or the administration of the tests.
Access arrangements might be used to support pupils:
- who have difficulty reading
- who have difficulty writing
- with hearing impairments
- with visual impairments
- who use sign language
- who have difficulty concentrating
- who have processing difficulties
Section 5 of the KS1 Assessment and reporting arrangements provides a detailed summary of who access arrangements are for and how they can be used.
Due to the diversity of pupils’ needs this guidance doesn’t 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 may 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.
If this guidance doesn’t cover a pupil’s needs, you should contact us.
Contact STA about an individual pupil’s access arrangements using the ‘Message us’ page in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. For general enquiries 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
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 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 to 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
Pupils may use word processors to record their answers. However, any functionality that may give a pupil an advantage should be turned off.
Pupils may use other technical or electrical aids to help them with reading in the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests and the mathematics tests. But these sorts of aids are not allowed in the English reading tests.
If a pupil has difficulty reading then they may use a reader for the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests and the mathematics tests. We will published specific guidance for readers soon.
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 help ensure pupils are not disadvantaged by the pace any text is read at.
Readers cannot be used during the 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 shouldn’t 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.
Pupils with severe attention problems may be supported by a prompter. 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.
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 break.
The content of the test must not be discussed during rest breaks.
In extreme situations schools may consider splitting a 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 STA’s permission to do this.
Written or oral translations
Written translations can be made of the mathematics tests 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 a transcript into English should be made by the pupil’s usual translator.
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.
A translator must not be a relative, carer or guardian of the pupil requiring a translation.
The English tests can’t 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 difficulties 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 3 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. Alternatively schools can use the downloadable versions of the tests, which will be available from NCA tools, to make any necessary modifications.
Modified test papers
You can order braille and modified versions of the KS1 tests by calling the modified tests helpline on 0300 303 3019.
There are no enlarged print (EP) versions of the KS1 English reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests. You should use the modified large print versions of these tests for any pupils who need an enlarged font.
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 and EP versions of the tests. Schools should consider how much time these pupils will need to complete the tests before their administration.
Schools do not need to make applications for early opening for the KS1 tests. 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, schools must not open the test materials early. You should consider either administering the tests to the 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 the downloadable versions of the tests from NCA tools.
Some children with a hearing impairment will not be able to access the spelling test. Raw scores from both the English grammar, punctuation and spelling papers are needed to reach an overall scaled score. A compensatory mark for the spelling test will be published alongside the raw score to scaled score conversion tables at the beginning of June. Schools should add the compensatory mark to the raw score from the English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: questions before converting the overall raw score to a scaled score.
The tests do not have a fixed timetable and can be administered separately to 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 the tests at a different time to 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 the key stage 1 tests
There is no special consideration for the 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 abilities, the school should consider postponing the administration of the test.
The 2016 KS1 tests are intended to inform 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.
Published: 18 March 2016