NTS Assessments, PiRA and PUMA: What are the differences?

After talking and listening to teachers, like you, about how we can help to make your life a little easier whilst providing insightful performance and progress data and familiarising pupils with the SATs, we are very pleased to launch NTS Assessments: our brand new termly, standardised, National Test-style progress tests for Years 1 to 6. As excitement builds for NTS Assessments (National Test-style Standardised Assessments), many of you are asking about the differences between these new papers and our popular existing standardised tests: PiRA and PUMA. We've written this article to help answer your questions.

What are the similarities between NTS Assessments, PiRA and PUMA?

NTS Assessments, PiRA and PUMA are all standardised termly progress tests written to the 2014 National Curriculum. With all suites, you can use gap analysis to inform teaching and learning and track progress using standardised scores, age-standardised scores, maths ages, reading ages and the Hodder Scale score (if you're using PiRA or PUMA) or the NTS score (if you're using NTS Assessments). What's more, you can predict future performance and benchmark against national averages. Even better, all tests come with free access to MARK, our online assessment and reporting tool.

What are the differences between NTS Assessments, PiRA and PUMA?

PiRA and PUMA have been developed to assess progress in curriculum learning and do so effectively with a single paper per term. NTS Assessments also serve this purpose, but have been written by SATs authors to the National Test framework. This means that every individual booklet reflects the look and feel of the SATs exactly and is ideal for familiarising children with this style of assessment. This is the key difference both in the purpose of the tests, and how they look.

You may wish to administer your assessments interactively: PiRA and PUMA offer this option, with auto-marking to save you time. NTS Assessments, on the other hand, are not available online. They come in paper format only. This is because one of their key purposes is to reflect the SATs papers.

It's your decision!

We know that many customers will value this termly exposure to SATs-style content, but equally appreciate that a close reflection of National Test-style is not crucial for everyone. By publishing both of these sets of assessments, we are providing you with a choice and enabling you to access whichever style of paper works best for your school and, crucially, your pupils.


  Feature of PiRA and PUMA Feature of NTS Assessments
Format (all supported by MARK, our free online assessment and reporting tool) Available in print or digital format with auto-marking Available in print format only, to reflect the National Tests
Content and test frameworks Reflects the content of the national curriculum and National Tests Reflects the content and style of the National Tests, with all questions written to the National Test frameworks
Purpose Ideal for schools looking for pupil-friendly tests that provide high-quality termly analysis and tracking Ideal for schools looking for pupil-friendly tests that are slightly more demanding and increase preparation for National Tests, with high-quality termly analysis and tracking
Mark schemes In-depth, slightly shorter, easy-to-use mark schemes In-depth, slightly longer, easy-to-use mark schemes, written in the style of the National Tests marking guidance
School type Ideal for all-through schools, as both primary and secondary tests are available Ideal for use in primary schools only
Ages Tests from Reception to Year 9 Tests from Year 1 to Year 6
Booklet structure All elements of each test are provided in one booklet per term (all reading texts can be pulled out of the middle of the booklet) Test papers reflect the National Test structure with separate reading booklets, separate reasoning / arithmetic booklets and separate KS1 paper booklets
Written by trusted    experts Written by experienced curriculum experts and trusted by thousands of schools, now in their 2nd and 3rd editions Written by experts in National Test development, with experience teaching, writing and marking the SATs


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assessment, blog, key stage 1, key stage 2, ks1, ks2, maths, National Test-style, NTS, NTS Assessments, pira, Primary, progress tests, puma, reading, SATs style, Secondary, standardised, writing

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