Technical pre-tests of key stage 1 and key stage 2 test materials

pdf icon Privacy notice

What are the purposes and aims of the project?

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has been commissioned by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) to trial test materials for assessment at key stage 1 and key stage 2.

As part of that process we are asking a number of schools to trial new English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS), and mathematics tests. The trial is aimed at testing the performance of individual questions rather than the performance of any pupil, and means that schools can have confidence that the tests function appropriately for pupils and that the results will be valid and reliable.

How have schools been selected to take part?

The schools have been randomly selected by the STA and make up a nationally representative sample. If your school has been selected we will have written to your headteacher and if your school is LA maintained or is part of a multi-academy trust (MAT), we will have informed your LA or MAT that your school has been selected.

Is participation in these tests required?

Since 2016, participation in all these trials, except the KS1 GPS, is statutory. For more information on the guidance, please visit

What does being selected to take part involve?

Your school will be asked to trial tests in ONE of the below subjects:

  • key stage 1 OR 2 English reading
  • key stage 1 OR 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS)
  • key stage 1 OR 2 mathematics

We will arrange for a representative from NFER to come to your school to administer the tests to one class of year 2 or year 6 children. The tests should be given to children that will be entered for the key stage 1 or 2 statutory assessments, in the appropriate subject, in May 2022.

The date of the trialling will be arranged at your convenience within the below testing periods:


Test trial Testing period

Key Stage 1

19 - 26 April 2022

Key Stage 2

19 April – 06 May 2022 (19 – 26 April in cases where schools are allocated ‘anchor’ tests)


Each school will be asked to trial the tests in one subject only. The tests will take the following form in each subject:

Subject Description

Key Stage 1 English reading

Each pupil will take one test, containing two booklets that must be taken on separate days. Booklet one will last 30 minutes, and booklet two will last 40 minutes.

Key Stage 1 English GPS

Each pupil will take one test containing a question component and a spelling component, which will last approximately 25 minutes.

Key Stage 1 Mathematics

Each pupil will take one test comprising of an arithmetic paper lasting 25 minutes and a reasoning paper lasting 35 minutes.

Key Stage 2 English reading

Each pupil will take one or two reading tests each lasting one hour.

Key Stage 2 English GPS

Each child will sit one or two tests containing a question component and a spelling component, which will last approximately 60 minutes.

Key Stage 2 Mathematics

Each pupil will take one test comprising of an arithmetic paper lasting 30 minutes and two reasoning papers each lasting 40 minutes.


During the administration, a member of school staff, with experience in the test subject, is required to be present at all times. At the end of the administration, they will be asked to complete a short questionnaire giving their opinions on the content of the tests.

How will my school benefit from being selected for the trials?

Your involvement in this trial is an excellent opportunity for children to practise and for your feedback to be considered in the development of future assessments. Regrettably we are unable to give feedback to the schools who take part in the development of tests however, participating children will receive a pencil and certificate to acknowledgment their help with these trials.

How will NFER use and protect the data collected from my school?

STA will provide NFER with the autumn 2021 census data containing a list of your year 2 or year 6 pupils’ names and background data (date of birth, gender, UPN, SEN and language provision), depending which trial you have been selected for. Once we have received your reply, we will upload the pupil data to our secure school portal and ask you to indicate which pupils are in the class selected to participate in the trial for KS1 and KS2. We will also ask you to check and, if required, update the background data and indicate if any pupils require modified versions of the tests (enlarged and coloured copies are provided for trialling). You will also be asked to add names and background data for any new pupils. Once the trial is complete NFER will provide STA with the updated pupil data, the scores derived from NFER’s marking/coding of the tests, as well as the scanned images of the test booklets completed by your pupils.

Please note that the data and scanned images will be maintained as strictly confidential by NFER and will be passed to STA, the Data Controller, for the purposes of informing the analysis of the test results and ensuring that the tests are operating appropriately for all pupils. No individual school or pupil will be identified by NFER or STA in any report arising from the trial. For more details about the use of data for this trial please refer to the Privacy Notice which is available here.

Our aim is that your experience of taking part in the trial is a positive one and we are on hand to support you throughout if required. Please feel free to contact our team Email with any queries, or if you require further information:

KS1 technical pre-test -

KS2 technical pre-test -