Key stage 2 tests: how to carry out a monitoring visit
- Standards and Testing Agency
- Part of:
- National curriculum assessments: guidance for local authorities
- First published:
- 13 April 2015
- Last updated:
- 11 April 2016, see all updates
Instructions for local authority monitoring visitors, including the monitoring visits form.
Preparing for a monitoring visit
Local authorities (LAs) have a statutory responsibility to monitor the administration of the key stage 2 (KS2) national curriculum tests. This helps to ensure that the security and confidentiality of the test materials are maintained and that the assessments are administered correctly and consistently.
To carry out a visit correctly, you need to be familiar with this guidance as well as the 2016 test administration guidance for schools.
Your monitoring visits co-ordinator will give you specific information before each visit. Make sure you take:
- copies of the KS2 monitoring visit form and the notes for guidance for completing the form
- information to show which KS2 test materials the school has received and also KS1 (where applicable)
- details of the number of pupils being assessed at the end of key stage 2 at the school
- reports from the NCA tools website showing whether the school is using additional time for any tests, opening test packs early, administering a test at another location or using timetable variations
You must also take photo identification with you to present on arrival at a school. This can be a passport, driving license or official work pass.
Carrying out a monitoring visit
Depending on when your visit takes place you will need to observe certain aspects of test administration to make sure the school is following our published guidance correctly. Use the monitoring visits form to record what you see. At the end of the visit you will need to meet with the headteacher, or delegated member of staff, to discuss your findings.
Visits before the test period
These monitoring visits take place during the week commencing 2 May. You should use these visits to make sure that the KS2 test packs are unopened and stored securely, and that the school has received the correct number of packs.
If the school is also administering the key stage 1 (KS1) tests you should check that the school received the correct number of KS1 tests packs and check that, if not in use, these are stored securely too.
Check test packs
Your monitoring visits co-ordinator will give you details of the number of test packs delivered to the school. Ask the headteacher for annotated copies of their delivery note(s) and details of the number of test packs that were actually delivered.
Check that all of the relevant test packs are sealed and stored securely. This must include KS1 test packs where applicable.
Damaged test packs
If a school has received damaged test packs for either the KS2 or KS1 tests, advise them, if they have not already done so, to contact immediately the national curriculum assessments helpline. The school may be asked to send us a photograph of the damaged packages.
Early opening of test materials
If you are carrying out a monitoring visit during the week commencing 2 May the majority of KS2 test packs should not have been opened. Exceptions are as follows.
Schools may only open packs of standard test materials before Monday 9 May if they have an approved application for early opening from STA via NCA tools.
Your monitoring visits co-ordinator will give you a report from NCA tools showing whether the school has been granted early opening. Any school that has opened a test pack early must have evidence of approval to do so from STA. You should ask to see evidence of this approval and check that any materials that were opened early are stored securely. If you find test packs have been opened without permission you must record this on the monitoring visits form and flag it with the headteacher at the end of your visit.
Storing KS1 test materials
The KS1 test materials must be kept secure and treated as confidential from the point they are received in school until the end of May. Appropriate security arrangements must be in place if test papers are being marked away from school or if transporting test materials to another location to take part in internal moderation of marking. Please note that the individual test packs must not be opened until Tuesday 3 May.
Schools participating in the early administration of the KS1 tests
Schools selected to administer one of the KS1 tests early in April are required to return all of the test materials for that subject to STA after the tests have been administered and marked. The test materials which were delivered early will be highlighted in grey on the LAs versions of the delivery notes. Monitoring visitors should only expect to see test materials for the remaining two subjects at these schools.
Visits during the test period
These visits take place between Monday 9 May and Thursday 12 May.
You should arrive at the school at the start of the school day so that you are there before the start of the test and can observe the complete test administration process. This means:
- opening the test packs
- administering the test(s)
- packing the test scripts (the test papers containing the pupils’ answers)
- storing the test scripts securely
Where applicable you should also see evidence that KS2 test scripts have been sent for marking.
Opening the test packs
- the correct KS2 test is being administered according to the statutory timetable
- test papers are opened just before the test, unless the school has obtained permission for early opening or it has been necessary to make adaptations to a paper in the hour before the test
Administration of the tests
If the school administers a test in more than 1 room, you should monitor the test administration in each room. Take care that your monitoring activity doesn’t disturb pupils as they take the tests.
- pupils are seated appropriately and are able to work independently
- wall displays are covered up or, if uncovered, do not offer any assistance to pupils
- test times are adhered to
- test administrators, or other members of staff (eg scribes or prompters), don’t give inappropriate assistance to individual pupils or the group as a whole
If the school is using access arrangements, check that:
- they are administered appropriately, in particular the use of readers, scribes, prompters, transcripts and additional time
- the school has evidence to show that access arrangements are used in accordance with normal classroom practice
For the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests you should also check that:
- the school administers the papers in numerical order
- pupils don’t use dictionaries or monolingual English electronic spellcheckers
For the mathematics tests you should also check that:
- the school administers the papers in numerical order
- pupils don’t use calculators during any of the tests
Packing and storing test scripts
You should observe the whole cohort’s test scripts being packed and stored. The headteacher, or delegated member of staff, should undertake this activity, using the guidance in the Attendance register and test script dispatch instructions.
If the school is using a timetable variation, for a later day, you should check that the rest of the cohort’s test scripts are sealed in transparent inner bags and securely stored in a locked cupboard. If a pupil is taking a test on the scheduled day but at a different time to the rest of the cohort the bag can remain unsealed until all pupils have taken the test. However, the rest of the cohorts scripts must be kept in a locked cupboard until then.
Dispatching test scripts
Parcelforce Worldwide will collect test scripts on the following dates.
|DfE number||Test script collection dates (between 9am and 4pm)|
|Schools with a DfE number that ends with an even digit (including 0)||Monday 9 May, afternoon collections only and Wednesday 11 May|
|Schools with a DfE number that ends with an odd digit||Tuesday 10 May and Thursday 12 May|
If the school has sent test scripts for marking:
- ask to see their proof of collection
- check that there are no test scripts still on site that should have been sent for marking
Visits after the test period
These visits take place immediately after the test period, from Friday 13 May. You should use these visits to make sure the KS2 test scripts and any unused test papers are stored securely. If the school is still administering KS2 tests, because they have permission to use a timetable variation, you should also carry out the checks relating to visits during the test period.
Storing and dispatching test scripts
Unless we have given the school permission to move a test by up to 5 days you should expect to see either:
- sealed script return bags, and any unused test papers, securely stored in a locked cupboard
- proof of collection, to show that test scripts have been sent for marking, and any unused test papers securely stored in a locked cupboard
You should only find unsealed script return bags if the school is still administering a test because we have given permission to use a timetable variation. Check that the rest of the cohort’s KS2 test scripts are sealed in transparent inner bags and securely stored in a locked cupboard. The script return bags should be sealed as soon as possible on the day that the timetable variation test is administered.
Schools will receive a collection on Friday 13 May if they have:
- test scripts remaining after Thursday 12 May
If a pupil takes a test after the final scheduled collection date of Friday 13 May the school should book a separate collection to send all remaining test scripts for marking. All test scripts must be sent for marking before schools break up for the half-term holiday. Make sure that the headteacher, or delegated member of staff understands this.
Completing the monitoring visit form
Please use the 2016 KS2 monitoring visits form - guidance for completing the form (PDF, 117KB, 2 pages) . You must complete the form fully 2016 KS2 monitoring visits form (PDF, 119KB, 2 pages) for each school you visit. You must answer all the questions in sections A and B. If applicable, you must also answer all of the questions in section C.
Make sure you include your monitoring visits co-ordinator’s name in case we have any enquiries about the visit.
If you enter an ‘X’, ‘N’ or ‘P’ on the form, or if you notice any other irregularity during the visit, you must record details of the issue and any actions taken on the form. This will help us to identify where further investigation is needed by your LA and / or STA.
Meeting with the headteacher
Before you leave the school you should meet with the headteacher, or delegated member of staff, to discuss your findings from the visit. If you have placed an ‘X’ or ‘N’ in any box on the monitoring visit form, you should advise whether the school should make changes to its test administration procedures for any remaining tests. If you didn’t find anything that concerned you, make this clear.
You and the headteacher, or delegated member of staff, should sign the monitoring visit form. This is to confirm the visit took place and that you have given any feedback about the administration of the key stage 2 tests to the school.
You should leave a copy of the monitoring visit form, and any delivery notes that you’ve annotated, with the headteacher, or delegated member of staff. You must not add any additional detail or make changes to the monitoring visit form after this point.
After the monitoring visit
You should discuss any findings from your visit with your monitoring visits co-ordinator as soon as possible after you have carried out your visit.
If you have placed an ‘X’, ‘N’ or ‘P’ in any box on the monitoring visit form, you should discuss the issue with your monitoring visits co-ordinator immediately.
If you didn’t identify any irregularities during your visit, you must send the completed monitoring visit form to your monitoring visits co-ordinator immediately after the visit. The deadline for returning completed monitoring visit forms to your co-ordinator is Friday 20 May.
If you have questions about carrying out monitoring visits you should speak to your monitoring visits co-ordinator. If they are unable to help, you can contact the national curriculum assessments helpline.
Standards and Testing Agency
National curriculum assessments helpline 0300 303 3013
For general enquiries about national curriculum tests.
Published: 13 April 2015
Updated: 11 April 2016
- Updated for the 2016 tests and assessment cycle
- Script collection timetable corrected on monitoring form
- First published.