This year’s National Reading and Numeracy tests will take place between 5 th – 12th May 2015. All pupils in years 2 – 9 in primary and secondary schools across Wales are required to take these tests. If a child is absent, they will be required to sit the test on their return to school as long as it is within these dates. Please do your best to avoid absences at this time. Further information regarding timings of specific tests in different year groups will be circulated closer to the time.
Why have national tests been introduced?
Schools have always used tests to check how well children are doing. Having national tests developed specially for use in Wales means that teachers in all schools have the same information on the reading and numeracy skills of their pupils. It also makes it possible to get a picture of national achievement in these subjects. The tests can show where individual children might need more help to improve their skills. This means that Birchgrove primary school can compare achievement in reading and numeracy in their schools with what is happening nationally.
What are the tests like?
The reading tests are made up of short questions based on two or more texts. Some of the questions check how well the text has been understood, others aim to find out if children make judgements about what they are reading Before the start of the test, children can try out some practice questions so that they will know what the different types of question are like and what they may be asked.
Each test takes up to an hour but younger children can take a break part way through.
There are two kinds of numeracy tests.
1. The procedural test measures skills in number, measuring and data skills.
2. The reasoning test measures how well children can use what they know to solve everyday problems.
Each of the numeracy tests takes up to half an hour, but again, younger children can take a break during the tests.
When does testing take place?
All school are set a one week time period during the month of May to undertake these tests. Children can take the tests in classroom groups or in larger groups.
Do all children have to take the tests?
Most children should be able to take the tests, but some may need particular access arrangements. For example, large-print and Braille versions of the tests are available for children who have problems with their eyesight. A very small number of children may not be able to take the tests. Headteachers will carefully consider whether to enter some children for one or more of the tests.
What can the tests tell me about my child's learning?
The tests can provide useful information to add to what your child's teacher knows about their reading and numeracy from their work everyday in the classroom. Teachers can use the results to identify strengths and also areas where more help may be needed. They will share this information with you at parent evenings.
However, any test can only look at a limited range of skills and abilities. The reading tests cannot provide information on speaking, listening or writing skills. The numeracy tests cannot test your child's understanding of space and shape. Some children will not perform at their best on the day of the test. As a result, their test results alone may not give a full picture of their ability. It is important to discuss your child's progress with their teacher based on all the evidence they have, rather than just focusing on a single test result. It is also important to remember that children do not all make progress at the same rate.
How will I know how my child has done on the tests?
By the end of the Summer term/beginning of the Autumn term we will give you test results for each test that your child has taken. The results should be read alongside your child's annual report.