The introduction of a new Key Stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test in May 2013 will place a stronger focus on teaching these skills in primary schools. Schools may wish to review their approach to how they are taught.
This page answers questions about the background to the test. Further information is provided in the Key Stage 2 assessment in 2013 section of this website.
The new test will put an additional focus on essential English skills and encourage good teaching. Children should have mastered these skills by the time they leave primary school, so that they can enter secondary school with the basic skills in place. At present, too many children have not achieved a firm foundation in grammar, punctuation and spelling at the end of Key Stage 2. Children who are able to write and communicate clearly are better prepared to take part in learning activities across all of the different secondary subjects.
Changes are also being made to GCSEs so that from 2013 there will be marks awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar in key subjects. By developing these skills early, children are improving their chances of succeeding in important qualifications later on in their education.
An improved emphasis on these skills at primary school will help children to learn these important skills early and well. In the long term, children will be able to draw on these skills throughout their education and employment, and their adult life.
No. The change to teacher assessment of Key Stage 2 English composition means that children’s writing can now be assessed by their teachers against a wide range of genres throughout Year 6. This provides much more space for recognition of creativity and writing with purpose. The new test will assess skills that go hand-in-hand with writing composition, making it more powerful, effective and accurate.
Although grammar, punctuation and spelling skills will be assessed using a statutory test, this does not mean they have to be taught separately to writing composition. Good teaching should ensure that children not only learn the rules of grammar and punctuation, but are able to apply them in meaningful contexts.
Application of grammar, punctuation and spelling remains an important aspect of extended writing activities. How far a child has learned to apply them in context will be used to inform the end of year teacher assessment judgement.
External tests and teacher assessment are both valuable forms of assessment. Lord Bew and his panel considered each subject from the point of view of what is educationally most appropriate, and the Government accepted his recommendations in full.
Lord Bew recognised that writing composition is best suited to teacher assessment. This enables teachers to make a broad judgement based on children’s work across Year 6 and covering a range of genres. In assessing writing composition, teachers will still take account of children’s grammar, punctuation and spelling skills.
The Bew review also recommended that the externally marked writing test should be replaced with a test of grammar, punctuation and spelling. These essential skills have clear rules for application and can be more easily marked.
Although the majority of the test will focus on writing, the test will also include the assessment of vocabulary and word meaning in context. This is currently part of the reading curriculum domain. Other aspects of the test support Attainment Target 1: speaking and listening. It would therefore be inaccurate to call the test an 'English writing test'.
We are using 'English grammar, punctuation and spelling test', which references the main content of the test.
No. The English grammar, punctuation and spelling test only covers what is already in the current National Curriculum.
The 2013 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test will only test areas which are part of the current English curriculum. Once the new National Curriculum is introduced, the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test will be aligned to it.
The existing access arrangements for Key Stage 2 tests will apply to the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling test. This includes, for example, provision for extra time or the use of a scribe. Access arrangements are described in the Key Stage 2 Assessment and reporting arrangements and on the Department’s website.
Yes. An information leaflet about the test is available to download from the Department's website. Schools are encouraged to give this to parents, and to talk to them about how their child is progressing.
Information for schools on the 2013 Key Stage 2 tests, including details about the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling test and the level 6 tests.
Sample materials for the new Key Stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test. Includes test papers, scripts and mark schemes for the levels 3-5 and level 6 tests.
Answers to common questions about how the Key Stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test is being developed for administration in 2013.
This document includes information for parents about the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling test.