...But TES survey shows 11-year-olds' results will fall short of ministers' targets. Helen Ward reports
English and maths test results for 11-year-olds look set to rise this year, according to a TES survey.
The study of more than 3,700 pupils in 95 schools also found that the number of pupils expected to reach the higher level 5 in English has dropped.
Results at schools that took part in the survey rose by one percentage point in English, and by two in maths. If repeated nationally, 79 per cent of pupils would get the expected level 4 in English, and 76 per cent in maths. The scores would mean the Government's targets for English and maths are unlikely to be met.
Ministers had set a target of 85 per cent of 11-year-olds to reach level 4 in English and maths, with 35 per cent to achieve the higher level 5 by 2006. At level 5, maths results rose by one percentage point, indicating a national result of 33 per cent. But a one percentage point drop in English, indicating 26 per cent achieved this level, has surprised heads.
One in six schools said they will ask for writing papers to be reviewed.
The test asked pupils to describe their favourite meal and write a script about a boy pleading to stay up late.
Anthony Kingston, head of Riverside community primary, in Tadcaster, is sending back at least eight writing papers.
"The percentage of level 5s is down this year," he said. "I believe that is a result of poor-quality questions which did not give children the opportunity to show a flair for writing."
Jon Barr, head of the Meadows primary, South Gloucestershire, wants a marking review of three papers and a correction of three clerical errors.
He said: "My school has effectively done the marking this year because of the chaotic state and poor quality of the marking."
Requests for reviews had to be received by today. As The TES went to press, the National Assessment Agency had no figures on how many schools had requested reviews.
But not everyone is unhappy. Mike Bentley, head of Alumwell junior, in Walsall, said: "We have had our best results. Speaking and listening has been our main emphasis this year. We had separate speaking and listening lessons, as opposed to literacy lessons, and it has clearly paid off."
* Pupils at more than half of Welsh primaries took national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds, even though they were optional for the first time this year.