Key stage 2 tests: applying for a review of pupils’ test results

Information for headteachers about applying for a review of marking for KS2 national curriculum tests (commonly referred to as SATs).

Schools must make review applications in the ‘Pupil results’ section of NCA tools. The application section will open from Tuesday 10 July until 11:59pm on Friday 20 July 2018.

A review is successful, and free of charge to the school, if it results in a change to:

  • the pupil achieving the expected standard
  • the pupil not meeting the expected standard
  • a change of 2 or more marks to the raw score

A scaled score calculator will be available on NCA tools from Tuesday 10 July for schools to use when deciding whether to apply for a review. This enables schools to calculate what effect a change to the total raw score has on the scaled score awarded. Test materials and mark schemes will be available in the practice materials collection.

When to request a review

You can request a review if you believe that there is a discrepancy between how question(s) have been marked and the published mark scheme. We recommend that schools only submit a review application if it meets the criteria for a successful review.

Schools can also apply for a review if they believe there has been a clerical error in the marking process. We will only accept review applications made by schools that are authorised by the headteacher or a delegated senior member of staff. We will not accept applications from pupils or parents.

Types of review

Marking review query

Schools can apply for a marking review for as many pupils as they wish if they consider there is a discrepancy between how the questions have been marked and the published mark scheme. We recommend that schools only submit a review application if it meets the criteria for a successful review.

You should be aware that a pupil’s total raw score and/or scaled score could go up or down as the result of a marking review.

Marking reviews can only be completed where a pupil has a result for each test paper for that subject: mathematics has 3 test papers, English grammar, punctuation and spelling has 2 and English reading has 1.

Clerical review query

You can apply for a clerical review if:

  • a test marked on paper has an error, such as an incorrect addition of the marks awarded
  • a test script has been matched to the wrong pupil
  • there is an error on the school attendance register, for example an attendance code needs to be corrected

Only acceptable changes to attendance registers can be made. The following example would not be accepted:

  • A pupil has taken a test and their script sent for marking. Their school cannot request that the attendance register is changed to indicate that the pupil was working below the standard of the test (marked as B).


We will charge for a review if:

  • a marking review does not result in a change to the pupil achieving the expected standard, the pupil not meeting the expected standard or a total raw score changes by fewer than 2 marks
  • a clerical review does not correct a test script matched to the wrong pupil, or produces no change to the raw score or scaled score, or the assigned code for why the pupil has not taken the test

Where charges are applicable, our supplier, Pearson, will invoice your school once the review process is complete.

Type of review Cost per pupil, per subject
Marking review £9
Clerical review £5

Applying for a review

A user guide will be provided on NCA tools from Tuesday 10 July to help guide schools through the online application process.

The review process

During a marking review, we check all test papers for that subject to make sure that the original application of the mark scheme was accurate and no clerical errors were made. For example, for mathematics, we check Paper 1: arithmetic, Paper 2: reasoning and Paper 3: reasoning.

A panel of experienced supervisory markers, who have achieved the highest quality marking standards throughout the marking period, complete review marking. Review markers are supervised and their work is sampled to ensure that the mark scheme for the subject they are reviewing is applied correctly and marking quality is maintained. If review markers do not apply the mark scheme as required, or do not adhere to the review procedures, they will be stopped from marking. In this situation, any review marking they have carried out will be reviewed again by another review marker.

Marks may be awarded or deducted following the review of a pupil’s test paper(s). As a result, a review can lead to an increase or decrease of the total raw score, which may affect the scaled score and the achievement of the expected standard.

Tests marked on screen

When applying for a subject review, we will ask you whether you have a marking or clerical query. For a clerical query, you will be asked to select from a list of possible queries. You will then be prompted to provide information about the potential error.

For marking reviews, we will review all test papers taken by the pupil for that subject. You have the option to select whether your query is for a particular question(s), or all questions on an individual test paper, or all test papers for that subject. You can then provide details about your query at a question or paper level.

Test scripts marked on screen will be reviewed on screen.

Tests marked on paper

We mark the following tests on paper:

  • all braille, enlarged print and modified large print versions of the tests
  • test scripts that could not be scanned for on-screen marking, for example due to the condition of the test script(s)

You must indicate whether you are applying for a marking review or clerical review. A marking review for tests marked on paper also includes a clerical review of the addition of marks.

When you apply for a review on NCA tools, it will be clear which test papers, if any, were marked on paper. You need to return any papers to Pearson to review. If Pearson does not receive them by the deadline, Monday 30 July 2018, the review will be rejected. Instructions about where to send test scripts and an address label for submitting them are available on NCA tools. You must send the original test scripts. We will not accept photocopies.

We will only consider review applications if a pupil’s test script has not been amended or annotated in any way following marking (including circling the evidence for review or adding sticky notes to the test script). This is so the review panel can reach an impartial judgement. Schools can provide comments as part of the review application at both question and paper level.

We reserve the right to reject review applications, without giving any further reason, if a school has made amendments of any kind to a pupil’s test script.

Review outcomes

We will inform you of the outcome of your review on Wednesday 12 September 2018. We will amend pupil results on NCA tools to reflect the outcome of the reviews.

A letter confirming the outcome of your review application, a notification of changes sheet and a marking review report form will be available for each review application. These each contain important information about your review. The marking review report form is completed by the review marker who checked your school’s test scripts. This will contain information about the marking for all pupils’ scripts submitted for a marking review.

You will be able to access the reviewed test scripts in the ‘Pupil results’ section of NCA tools using the ‘Test scripts and reviews’ tab. This will show the original marks with the review marks alongside, circled in blue.

If you send test scripts marked on paper for review, we will return them to your school by Wednesday 12 September 2018.

Where a mark is changed through the review process, the scaled score derived from the reviewed mark will not be taken into account in the provisional school level performance measures, until after the school checking exercise takes place in September 2018.

Published 5 December 2013
Last updated 27 November 2017 + show all updates
  1. We have updated this guidance to reflect what is classified as a successful review for 2018. Schools will not be charged, if there is a change to whether the pupil met the expected standard or not or if there is a change of 2 or more marks to the raw score, not 3 marks as in previous years.
  2. Updated for 2017 test cycle.
  3. Updated for 2016 test cycle.
  4. Updated for 2015 review dates
  5. Further information added on how and when to apply for a review. For example deadlines and which scripts to return for review.
  6. First published.