Accurate testing and reporting of pupil progress is an important part of the UK education system, however it hit the news for the wrong reasons last week as a testing scandal emerged that led to an official government trial being curtailed.

The test was of national spelling tests for 7 year olds, which is currently in the process of being rolled out across the country. But Progress has hit a speed bump after an embarrassing faux pas in the official trial.

Last week it emerged that during the trial many pupils were able to predict what questions were coming next. The children had not learnt to predict the future, but rather had seen the test paper before as it was the same as some of the practice papers they had been given access to.

Charlotte Smiles, a teacher spotted the error and said:

“One of the children who was sitting the spelling test that we were giving them kept saying, ‘I know this one, and this one’. He appeared to know what was coming next.

I went and checked on the DfE website and I found this exact test published as a sample paper.”

Knowing the answers to a test in advance is the stuff of slapstick movies, this is quite a serious error for a new process and one that has left many scratching their heads at how such a mistake could happen.

Head teachers leader Russell Hobby stated that

“We have no way of knowing how extensively it has been used by schools. This is a serious error that undermines confidence in the administration of primary tests and also means that we can have little faith in any standard setting exercise that may emerge from the pre-test trials.

What Next

The full Key Stage 1 tests are due to start later in the year but this error has given the tests a rocky start. We will be keeping an eye and monitoring how the rollout continues after this setback.