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Written Statement - Update on the National Reading and Numeracy Tests

Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

As I did last year, I am updating Assembly Members on progress with this year’s Reading and Numeracy Tests.

This year over a million test papers were sent to over 1,650 schools, enabling 300,000 learners to sit the tests during the test window in May.  Local Authorities, working through the regional consortia, played an important role in supporting their schools and monitoring administration arrangements to ensure consistency and fair play.  Tests on numerical reasoning were sat for the first time this year so the number of papers was even higher than 2013, making the whole process an even more complex logistical operation.  

We also offered a supported marking service so schools can make the most of the information gleaned from learner’s answers and diagnostic tools were made available to help schools analyse the results.  It is vitally important that schools use the results from the tests as a means of informing their teaching and learning to continuously improve practice in the classroom.

I’m pleased that schools working with local authorities were able to administer, mark and upload data with very few issues arising and I’d like to offer my thanks to all those involved in delivering the tests.

The next stage of the process involved the analysis of nearly one million individual results from learners to create the standardisation look-up tables for each of the tests taken in English and Welsh reading and numeracy procedural and reasoning.

This is a complex process that has never been undertaken on this scale.  Nevertheless, we will issue schools with age standardised scores for all learners in Year 2 to year 9 during the week commencing 14 July.  We will continue to seek feedback from stakeholders on how we can improve the delivery of the tests and will aim to supplement the data with a progress score in next year’s test results.

These results will help schools with their planning for next year and give parents the information they need about their child’s competency in reading and numeracy.  Schools must use the data to identify learners’ strengths and areas for development, enabling teachers to intervene earlier if they are falling behind, while also stretching those that are more able.  They are fundamental to driving up standards in Welsh education and represent another milestone in delivering my commitment to giving young people the skills they need for life.