Ofqual has announced that the next annual national reference test will be held between 25 February and 8 March 2019.
This September, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), which manages the tests on behalf of Ofqual, will contact more than 350 schools that it has selected to take part in the national reference test (NRT).
The first test was held in February and March 2017, and it was run again earlier this year. Each year a sample of GCSE students will take largely the same test so it will show, over time, if there is any change in how students perform at a national level. Results from the test will only be used to measure changes in performance nationally. There will be no results for individual students or schools.
The test questions will remain largely the same over time, so the overall performance of each school-year cohort can be compared to others that have sat the test before. Ofqual is continuing to prepare, with exam boards, for the potential use of information from the test, which will at the earliest be during GCSE awarding in 2019. This timeline follows previous concerns raised by NAHT's secondary council regarding the use of the data from the NRT, given the current context of the reformed GCSEs, and querying the use of the data in awarding subjects other than English and maths.
For more information about the test, please visit the National Reference Test document collection.
First published 19 September 2017