Education & Family

Steep rise in primary school test marking queries

Child writing
Image caption The government says the number of papers queried was only 0.4% of the total

Primary schools in England this year queried the results of more than 5,500 maths and reading tests taken by 10 and 11-year-olds, official figures show.

This year's figures, published by the Department for Education (DfE), show an 87.8% rise on last year, when schools queried 2,949 papers.

The tests are taken by all pupils in their last term of primary school.

The government says the proportion of queries is "just 0.4% of more than 1.7m papers marked".

All pupils are expected to reach level four in the tests.

Caution urged

These figures are for the numbers of queries on tests rated at levels three to five.

In total, schools requested 3,680 reviews of English tests and 1,857 reviews of maths tests, amounting to a total of 5,537 papers.

Last year there were 2,197 queries in English and 752 for maths.

On the maths paper this year's answer queries were focussed on one particular question which may be part of the reason for the rise, suggests the DfE.

In their report on the figures, government statisticians caution that it is difficult to make valid comparisons between this year's statistics and previous years because of variations to the marking process.

Schools' reasons for requesting reviews of papers also change year by year, says the report.

Level changes

The reviews resulted in 871 pupils having their levels raised in reading and 384 in maths - but levels on 21 reading papers and nine maths papers were lowered.

The government says the proportion of reviews which led to a level change fell by more than 10% compared with last year.

A DfE spokesman said: "Pupils, parents and schools have the right to expect test papers to be marked accurately.

"Today's figures show that just 0.4 per cent of more than 1.7 million papers marked were submitted for review and that the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling test had the lowest proportion of applications of any of the levels 3-5 tests."

This year pupils sat a spelling, punctuation and grammar test for the first time. Schools sent 669 of these papers back for review.

Schools also queried 1,073 level six papers which are taken by pupils who are achieving well above the expected standard for their age.

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