The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority had wanted to introduce a 3* grade for the highest achieving seven-year-olds and a 5* grade for 11-year-olds in the revamped tests next year. The average seven-year-old is expected to achieve level 2b and an 11-year-old level 4.
Currently, the most able children are given extra tests. Seven-year-olds may be entered for tests taken by 11-year-olds and bright 11-year-olds can take extension papers.
The QCA had proposed abandoning these extra tests and instead giving starred grades on the main tests to distinguish pupils doing very well. Ministers agreed that extra papers should be dropped, but rejected starred grades.
Seven-year-olds will still be able to get level 4 and 11-year-olds level 6. But the grades will be awarded through teacher assessment with the help of optional QCA tasks.