Optional Tests FAQs
What makes Optional Tests SATs-style?
Optional Tests have been written by trusted assessment experts with experience writing for the national tests. The tests accurately match the DfE test framework released in June 2015 and help to familiarise children with the style and format of the SATs.
What do we mean by“directly comparable” tests?
If the same child took comparable tests from Set A, B and C on the same day, should they get the same results? What makes them comparable?
The tests are directly comparable because they:
are written to exactly the same framework
test the same knowledge and skills
are written at the same level of demand.
This produces results that are comparable because the test content and structure is directly comparable, so results will inevitably be similar and usually fall within the same performance threshold. Because a child’s experiences can vary, and because their performance will vary on any given day, we wouldn’t necessarily expect them to get exactly the same score on each test. See below for further info on this.
Why are the raw scores required for each Performance Indicator threshold not the same across all three sets of Optional Tests?
Although tests can all be written to exactly the same framework and test knowledge and understanding of the same content at the same level of demand, no two tests will be identical unless they are parallel forms. Every year, the DfE review boundaries for the national tests, and the reason these change is that the test content naturally varies slightly for each paper. In the same way, our Optional Tests have minor variations between papers – purely because they are different tests – and so we have reviewed every individual question on every paper when setting standards and determining what the thresholds should be for each test. For a summative assessment of this nature, it would not be valid to suggest that the papers are identical to a single mark, so it would be irresponsible of us to provide a single set of boundaries for all three sets. Find out more about the Performance Indicators here.
Why are scaled score comparisons (National Test Indicators) only provided for Years 2 and 6?
We are only able to provide National Indicators for Years 2 and 6 (Set A) as the development involves the comparison of children's Optional Tests scores with their actual results from the Year 2 and 6 national tests. Find out more here.
Can Optional Tests be used to monitor progress?
Optional Tests assess children's knowledge, understanding and application of the programmes of study for Years 1 to 6 in English and maths. The tests assess an entire year's worth of curriculum content. If you are looking to show termly progress, one of our standardised suites may be more suitable.
Why are there 3 sets of Optional Tests: Set A, Set B and Set C?
Having 3 sets of tests ensures broad and comprehensive coverage of the curriculum across numerous sets of test papers. This also helps prevent teaching to the tests.