Primary assessment loophole for 'failing' pupils closed

New DfE guidance means pupils who enter key stage 2 tests but fail to score will no longer be exempt from progress measures.


The government has closed a primary assessment loophole that provided an incentive for schools to enter children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) for tests they were likely to fail.


New updated guidance on primary school accountability, published by the Department for Education, reveals changes to the scores given to children working below the standard of the test.


The scaled scores, introduced with the new Sats last year, meant that children’s raw marks in the reading, maths and Spag tests were converted to a score of between 80 and 120 – where 100 is the expected standard.


'Loophole of despair'


For example, pupils scoring 21 or 22 out of 50 in the reading paper last year were given a scaled score of 100. Pupils scoring 0, 1 or 2 marks received no scaled score and pupils scoring three marks were given the lowest scaled score of 80.


But pupils who are judged as not able to do the test, including those with SEND, are assessed against a set of pre key-stage standards – and given a "nominal" score of 79, 76, 73 or 70, depending on which pre key-stage standard they are at. These scores are then used to calculate progress measures.


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