Parents to see details of test results

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The Independent Online
New scores for national tests for 11-year-olds will be introduced this year because the present marking system does not give parents enough information.

As well as being told what level their children have reached, parents will be able to ask for scores which show how they have performed in reading, spelling, maths and mental arithmetic compared with others born in the same month.

Tests for 600,000 14-year-olds begin next Tuesday and for 600,000 11- year-olds the following Monday. Seven-year-olds are also being tested this term. At present most pupils at each age are awarded one of three levels.

Officials at the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, which advises the Government on testing, said yesterday that schools would not be required by law to give parents the new age-standardised scores but they hoped that most would decide to do so if parents requested them.

Schools are required to tell parents the level reached by their children. Seven-year-olds are expected to reach Level 2, 11-year-olds Level 4 and 14-year-olds between Levels 5 and 6. The new scores will range from 70- 130.

Nick Tate, the authority's chief executive, said: "The criticism has been that Level 4 has been too broad-brush and that to be told your child is on Level 4 along with practically every other child in the school is not giving the degree of discrimination parents want.

"The age-standardised score is a more accurate reflection of how well a child is doing in relation to other children."

A pilot last year in which seven-year-olds were given age-standardised reading scores in reading, spelling and maths had been well received, he said. However, Dr Tate said levels were a good way of measuring the comparative performance schools.

This year new grammar, spelling and punctuation tests are being piloted for 14-year-olds and new mental arithmetic tests are being tried out for 11- and 14-year-olds.

Around 3 per cent of schools which volunteered for the grammar tests have withdrawn after seeing sample tests, either because they disapprove of the questions or feel their pupils are not ready for them.