Sats leak: Spelling test was published online 'by rogue marker'

The leak is the latest in a series of errors made over this year's controversial new national curriculum tests

Rachael Pells
Tuesday 10 May 2016 09:22
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Primary school children aged 6 and 7 will sit exams for a week in May
Primary school children aged 6 and 7 will sit exams for a week in May

A grammar, punctuation and spelling test due to be taken by 600,000 primary school children today has been leaked online by a “rogue marker”, officials have confirmed.

The answers to the national curriculum paper appeared for four hours on a password protected website.

The Department for Education said the leak was a deliberate error caused by an “active campaign by those people opposed to our reforms to undermine these tests”.

It is the second time within three weeks that an exam paper has been published online.

A spokesperson said: “The site can only be accessed by Pearson's approved markers, all of whom are under secure contract.”

”Any distribution of materials constitutes a clear breach of that contract.”

While the website was only accessible to a number of markers from the test compilers Pearson, it is believed it could easily have been shared on social media a day before its official release.

Department officials said the test had not been compromised and that pupils must go ahead with sitting the paper on Tuesday.

Last month, a test scheduled for six and seven-year-olds was scrapped after the education department’s testing agency mistakenly included the actual test paper within a bundle of practice material published three months earlier for preparation purposes.

Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the national curriculum tests should be scrapped entirely for this year.

“The fact is they are very high stakes,” she said. “They are the wrong tests at the wrong time and now they are compromised.

”We didn't like the tests in the first place, but the fact is the tests are compromised and it just adds to the general sense of chaos, about not just the curriculum but in particular about assessment this year.

“So, we repeat that we think, for this year, the results of these tests should be scrapped and not used for any purpose whatsoever.”

Almost 50,000 parents and teachers have signed a petition calling for a boycott of primary school tests, which have been criticised as “inappropriately complex” compared to previous years’ testing.

The Government has said the tests should not cause pupils stress.

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