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National Assessments

Each year National Assessments involve around 18,000 primary schools and 4,000 secondary schools in England as well as all 152 local authorities, 150,000 teachers, children aged 5, 6, 7, 11 and 14, and some children aged 2 and 3.

National assessment results up to the age of 14 are a valuable way for teachers to see how each child is progressing. Results at the end of Key Stage 2 (age 11) are used by the Department for Education to produce school performance tables. Ofsted also review results before they visit a school for inspection.

Our National Assessments work covers from Early Years Foundation Stage (age 2) up to the end of Key Stage 3 (age 14). It isn’t our role to decide what children should learn or need to know (that’s for the Department for Education) or to develop and deliver the assessments (that’s for the Standards and Testing Agency). Our role is to make sure the assessments are valid and fit for purpose, that the assessments are fair and manageable, that the standards are properly set and maintained and the results are used appropriately.

We have two specific objectives as set out by law:

  • to promote assessment arrangements which are valid, reliable and comparable
  • to promote public confidence in the arrangements.

We keep national assessments under review at all times. If we think at any point there might be a significant problem with the system, then we notify the Secretary of State for Education. Because we are independent, we’re also in a good place to be able to make recommendations to improve how national assessments work or advise on how to maintain standards.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Age 2 to 3 Progress check
Age 5
New Early Years Foundation Stage profile
Key Stage 1
Year 1
Age 6
Phonics screening check
Year 2
Age 7
Teacher assessment in English, maths and science that is informed by statutory tests.
Key Stage 2
Year 6
Age 11
Tests in reading, maths, and grammar, punctuation and spelling (levels 3 to 6)
Teacher assessment in English, maths and science. The writing assessment externally moderated.
Key Stage 3
Year 9
Age 14
Teacher assessment in all subjects