Call us: 0300 30 30 333
Home Menu

Latest information and updates from Ofqual - Primary



Ofqual regulate primary national assessments, and their objectives are to promote standards and confidence in those statutory assessments in early years, key stage 1 and key stage 2. They provide an independent view on the validity of assessment, in particular on technical aspects such as test development, standard setting and marking.

NAHT meets with Ofqual regularly, both on an individual basis and with other school leaders' and teaching associations.

Latest Ofqual Information:

Ofqual clarifies grading of higher tier combined science and MFL GCSEs in 2019

Ofqual has written to schools and colleges to clarify the arrangements for awarding higher tier GCSEs in combined science and modern foreign languages (MFL). The letters confirm that their existing rules will apply in 2019.

The lowest grade for candidates entered at higher tier for combined science is 4-4; or 4, for MFL. A small number who just miss the lowest grade may be awarded 4-3 (combined science) or 3 (MFL); below this, their grade will be unclassified (U).

The decision to allow some candidates to be awarded the grade 3-3 on higher tier combined science in 2018 was exceptional and will not be permitted in summer 2019. Ofqual recommends that schools and colleges should consider carefully which tier to enter students for.

More detailed letters are available clarifying the arrangements for higher tier grading in science and MFL, to be shared with relevant heads of department.

Regulatory framework for national assessments: National curriculum and early years foundation stage assessments

Ofqual's regulatory framework for national assessments is available to view online. This document sets out Ofqual's regulatory framework for the early years foundation stage profile and SATs and describes their statutory duties and powers in relation to national assessments.

  • Part 1 explains what national assessments are and who is responsible for developing, delivering and monitoring them.
  • Part 2 describes Ofqual's statutory objectives, duties and powers in relation to national assessments and explains how they regulate in practice.
  • Part 3 sets out their expectations of 'responsible bodies' involved in developing, delivering and monitoring national assessments.

National assessments regulation annual report 2018

Ofqual has published their annual report about their regulation of SATs in 2018. The report describes how Ofqual monitor key aspects of assessment validity and outlines their review on preventing malpractice and the revision of their regulatory framework. It also sets out some emerging findings of Ofqual's current literature review of international approaches to the assessment of writing at the end of primary.

  • Ofqual suggests that STA's current recommendation that schools 'should arrange for KS2 tests to be independently observed' should be strengthened into more of an expectation or requirement.
  • Analysis found that the consistency of STA's external marking remains very high, with 99.4% of markers agreeing with the definitive mark across 6.1 million marked items.
  • The report finds that the tests in 2018 were overall of a similar level of difficulty to 2017 tests.
  • Ofqual's monitoring of both moderator training and moderation sessions suggested that risks of inconsistency in the interpretation of the new frameworks remain and that f rther clarity would be beneficial in future years.

Read the full annual report online here

Letters regarding national assessments supplier change from 2020

The Secretary of State for Education wrote to Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, on 10 September 2018 advising of a change of supplier for national assessment test operations from 2020.

Sally Collier replied to the Secretary of State and also the chair of the Education Committee, reiterating Ofqual's role in regulating for the validity of assessments. These letters are available to view online here.

Research study: The consistency of key stage 2 writing moderation in 2017

Ofqual has published an observational study on the consistency of local authority moderation of KS2 writing assessments in 2017. The report identifies factors that may have affected the consistency of moderation in 2017 and sets out the steps being take by the Standards and Testing Agency to address these factors.

  • The research identifies variations in approaches taken to moderation in 2017, including different logistical arrangements, practices and understandings of interim teacher assessment framework-referenced moderation.
  • The report concludes that moderators' judgements were likely more inconsistent during 2017 than they could have been, and that some variations could have operated between LAs.
  • Ofqual recommends that STA take steps to reduce risks of inconsistency for future years and that STA should revisit the design of the standardisation test, in light of concerns expressed about its authenticity.

Read the full research study into the consistency of KS2 writing moderation in 2017 here

Research study: International literature review of assessments

Ofqual has published a research study to review how moderation is delivered in a number of English-speaking jurisdictions across the world at upper secondary, including in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore and South Africa. The report reviews a number of different models of moderation and considers what might be learnt in terms of the approach to moderation that is currently taken in England.

  • The review finds that a number of different appr aches to moderation are currently taken across the globe, including consensus moderation, verification, moderation by inspection, and statistical moderation.
  • Most jurisdictions included non-examination assessment as a useful method of assessing skills not easily measured via exams.
  • England did not appear to 'stand out' from the other jurisdictions studied, and the report concluded that only a few aspects of England's approach would be considered 'unusual' within the international landscape.
  • The report raises several points for consideration in terms of what could be learnt from international approaches to moderation, and whether these could realistically be applied.

Read the full research report on international approaches to moderation here.

Click here to view a collection of documents published by Ofqual in relation to National Assessments.

View the latest secondary information and updates from Ofqual here.

Last updated15 January 2019