National Reading & Numeracy Tests 2016

Helping parent/carers to understand outcomes from the National Reading and Numeracy Tests

What can the tests tell me about my child's learning?

The tests can provide useful information to add to what your child's teacher knows about their reading and numeracy from their work every day in the classroom. Teachers can use the results to identify strengths and also areas where more help may be needed. They may share this information with you at parent meetings.

However, any test can only look at a limited range of skills and abilities. The reading tests cannot provide any information on speaking, listening or writing skills. The numeracy tests cannot test your child's understanding of space and shape. Some children will not perform at their best on the day of the test. As a result, their test results alone may not give a full picture of their ability. Each test is designed to measure achievement across the range expected for each year group. The tests will not always give reliable information for children who are working at the extremes, or out of the range for their age.

It is important to discuss your child's progress with their teacher based on all the evidence they have, rather than just focusing on a single test result. It is also important to remember that children do not all make progress at the same rate.

As part of the national reading and numeracy testing programme, the test outcomes for individual learners are provided to parents/carers in the form of a Pupil Results Sheet. You may also find it useful to refer to the Welsh Government's Reading and Numeracy Tests in Wales: Information for parents and carers of children in Years 2 to 9 at:

Learning.gov.wales/resources/browse-all/readingand-numeracy-tests-information-for-parents-carers/?lang=en

Here are some frequently asked questions:

What are the national tests for?

The national tests give every school in Wales the same information on reading and numeracy skills for all their learners. The tests are not a replacement for other types of assessment used in school across the whole curriculum. The results from the tests add to the information that schools and teachers already have about achievement in reading and numeracy from their work with learners every day in the classroom.

What is the difference between a teacher assessment judgement and a test results?

Teacher assessment judgements are built up from a large evidence base over time. They can take account of skills demonstrated through observation, oral work, class discussion, extended tasks and projects and during group work, for example. A test result reflects the skills demonstrated through written responses to questions on a given occasion when all learners take the tests under the same conditions. Both types of assessment provide useful, but different, information.

My child's test result seems to contradict the teacher assessment judgement - what does this mean?

Assessments can give contradictory results for several reasons and need to be interpreted carefully. Using the outcomes from different assessments can prompt important questions and help to get a clearer picture of strengths and areas for improvement. If a test result suggests that a learner is demonstrating skills that they do not show during classroom work, then it may be that they need more encouragement to contribute with confidence to oral work and class discussion. If a test results suggests that a learner has not demonstrated all the skills they show in the classroom context, then this might be because the test included questions on topics where their learning is not fully secure or that they do not always show their best work through written responses. All forms of assessment have limitations and that is why best assessment practice draws on a range of different assessment opportunities, including formal tests.

How can a test result help to show where my child needs to improve?

The individual questions in all the National Reading and Numeracy Tests are linked to the expectation statements in the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF). The LNF sets out annual expected outcomes for literacy and numeracy. The tests are marked in school, teachers can see where there are gaps in knowledge and understanding and identify what the next learning priorities should be both for individuals and in class groups.

What does the age-standardised score tell me?

The age-standardise score from each of the national tests shows how well an individual learner did on the test compared to other learners of the same age (in years and months) taking the test.

What is a progress measure?

The progress measures from the national tests show how well an individual learner has done in the tests each year compared to all other learners taking the test in the same national curriculum year group. It is possible to compare the progress measure from one year to the next to get a picture of progress over time.

Should the results of the Numeracy Test (Procedural) and Numeracy Test (Reasoning) be compared?

The Numeracy Tests (Reasoning) are new and innovative, and learners' results in these tests may differ from their results in the Numeracy Test (Procedural). It is important for parents/carers to understand that the tests focus on different skills. The procedural test measures skills in number, measuring and data skills; the reasoning tests measure how well learners can use what they know to solve problems.

Why is there no result for one of the tests?

Results should be provided for every test taken by a learner. Where a learner was absent during the test period and unable to take one or more tests, there will be no result.

My child has achieved the maximum age-standardise score/progress measure possible - do the tests 'set a ceiling' on achievement?

Like any test, the National Reading and Numeracy Tests are specified to assess a particular ability range. Essentially, they are designed to measure the skills in reading or numeracy that would be expected across the year group or year groups nominated for each test. If an individual learner is performing at the top of the ability range, their test result cannot accurately determine the limit of their reading or numeracy ability and we can only say that their standardised score is more than the maximum value measure by that test. This does not, however, mean that their progress in reading or numeracy cannot be tracked over time, just that more information that their test scores will be needed to provide a true picture of the progress they are making.

Should I compare my child's age-standardised scores from on year to the next?

Essentially, an age-standardised score is a way of comparing one learner's performance on a test to the performance of other learners of the same age. So if you compare age-standardised scores from one year to the next you may be able to see that in one year a learner's score shows that their performance was similar to most learners of the same age (85-115) and maybe in the next year their performance was a little better than for other learners of the same age (maybe 120). The progress measure from the tests each year will be shown in all pupil reports from now on so that parents can track the achievement of their child each year compared to all other learners taking the same test.

Please note though that in line with Welsh Government policy on inclusion, both absent and misapplied learners will be assigned an age-standardised score of less than 70 for reporting purposes in the Welsh National Tests Dat Collection (WNTDC).

Can I use the test scores to check if my child is making progress?

By looking at the chart that shows progress measures from each year the tests have been taken, you can see how your child's achievement compares to all other learners. Learners who have progress measures that are broadly consistent over time are making progress in line with all the other learners in their year group. Small fluctuations up or down would be expected and could be due, for example, to factors affecting how the leaner performed on the day of testing. If your child's marking remains in the same shaded block from year to year this means your child is broadly maintaining their position in the year group. Learners with more pronounced changes in their progress measure, either up or down, are making more or less progress than other learners in their year group.

Technical information on test scores and scales

Standardised scores such as the age-standardised score and the progress measure for the national tests are commonly used with tests intended to measure the ability of large groups of individuals. This is because just knowing the number or percentage of correct marks on a test paper is not enough  to give a full picture of how well a learner or a group of learners has done in their test. The test results from all schools are analysed to prepare standardised score scales so that meaningful comparisons between individuals and groups can be made. In developing the age-standardised score scale, the average score for each test is set to be equal to a standardised score of 100 and about two-thirds of all learners taking the test would then be expected to have a standardised score between 85 and 115. So an age-standardised score of less than 85 might suggest that a learner may be experiencing some difficulty with the reading or numeracy skills tested, and a score greater than 115 might suggest that a learner is showing reading or numeracy skills that are well developed for their age.

For the progress measure, the median raw score for each year group on each of the test papers is calculated and assigned a progress measure of 1000. In the same way that values of 69 and 141 are minimum and maximum for age-standardised scorers, the range for progress measures is 950 to 1050. Learners achieving between 980 and 1020 (i.e. scores within one standard deviation of the mean) have a progress measure that is in line with their peers in the same year group. Learners scoring outside of this range (i.e. below 980 and above 1020) have a progress measure that is either below that for most learners in their year group or above that for most learners in their year group.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any queries or questions regarding the national tests please contact the class teacher for further guidance.