Today the tes has revealed that the first set of results from trials of a new type of national testing system for 7- to 14-year-olds have been delayed amid concerns that they were disappointing.
The tests are being hailed as a possible alternative to end-of-key stage "Sats". Here we outline what you need to know about them.
Q: What are the new tests called?
A: They are known as single-level tests and are one element of a Government pilot of new approaches to testing and personalised learning. The overall pilot is called Making Good Progress.
Q: What are the other elements?
A: One-to-one tutoring for children making slow progress in English andor maths; targets to increase the number of pupils progressing two levels in a key stage; and cash bonuses for successful schools.
Q: How many schools are involved?
A: 484 in 10 local authorities were announced as taking part last June. Only 411 took the first round of tests in December.
Q: How do they differ from Sats?
A: Pupils are entered for the tests at any time during KS2 and 3, in one of two annual testing "windows" in December and June. Teachers assess when a child has reached a certain level, then the child is entered for the appropriate test. The tests are passfail and available in only reading, writing and maths. At 50 minutes long, they are shorter than Sats. Pupils can retake them.
Q: Do pilot schools still take Sats?
Q Who is administering the pilot?
A: The testing element is directed by the National Assessment Agency. The Department for Children, Schools and Families runs the wider pilot.
Q: Who is evaluating the pilot?
A: Consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Q: Will the pilot test results be used in league tables?
A: Yes. For each pupil in a pilot school, the results in both the old and new tests are compared. The best one counts for league tables. If the new tests replace Sats, pupils' results will still be aggregated to enable schools' scores to be published in performance tables.
Q: What about science?
A: There are no plans for single-level science tests as yet.
Q: Do the English tests assess Shakespeare?
Q: Will the new tests replace Sats?
A: The trial runs for two years. If successful, ministers want the tests to replace Sats as soon as possible.