National Curriculum Tests

Department for Education written question – answered on 28th September 2022.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of key stage 2 assessment papers that have been lost from the most recent set of examinations.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that lessons are learned from the loss of key stage 2 assessment papers this academic year.

Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA), and its test operations service supplier, Capita, have apologised for the issues with missing scripts in the 2022 key stage 2 (KS2) assessment cycle. As of 11 September 2022, the total number of scripts marked and results returned to schools was 99.95% of the total number of scripts. The total number of confirmed missing scripts is 1,974, out of over 3.8 million in total. This represents 0.05% of all scripts.

To mitigate the number of pupils without missing scripts, Capita conducted physical searches of the script storage and scanning warehouse, viewed scanned scripts on screen and reviewed attendance registers and other administration information in relation to the 2022 tests. Through this work, a significant number of previously missing scripts were found and marked. Despite the search activity, some scripts were not located and are now deemed to be lost. STA has written to schools to inform them of the situation and apologise for the missing scripts.

For those pupils that are still impacted by the missing scripts, parents and pupils should be assured that where a pupil did not have all test results, schools are still able to make assessment of a child’s development by teacher assessment. Primary and secondary schools work together to ensure pupils are supported appropriately on transition and build on the education they have received at primary school.

STA and Capita are undertaking a thorough review of the most recent test cycle to ensure the Department understands and learns from the issues that occurred. This work involves schools, trusts, local authorities and other key stakeholders.

Further, STA’s contract with Capita contains a range of performance metrics that allow for a reduced fee to be paid in the event of performance levels dropping below a defined threshold. The contract is actively managed by departmental staff. Where performance levels are unsatisfactory, the levers in the contract are used alongside constructive dialogue with the supplier to ensure improved performance in future. In extreme cases of poor performance, the contract with Capita allows for a variety of remedial actions to be taken. Dependent on the circumstances, these could include termination of the agreement or a temporary period of closer control of the service by the Department. STA makes use of financial levers to incentivise performance by Capita.

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