Statutory Assessment in Compulsory Education
in England and Wales
Note to readers: Teachers continually assess pupil progress during compulsory education; in some cases they use optional tests to assist this process. The
table which follows summarises compulsory assessment arrangements only.
As debate continues in Northern Ireland on the future of statutory assessment arrangements and selection tests, information will be added to this table when
concrete arrangements are announced.
Assessment England Wales
School entry assessment, pupils aged Foundation Stage Profile assessment. Under the Statutory baseline assessment in language skills, mathematics
four/five years. foundation stage profile, assessment begins when children skills, and personal and social skills was introduced in September
enter the foundation stage (from age three) and continues 1999. This teacher assessment – against accredited assessment
until the end of the reception class (the initial class in schemes - takes place within seven weeks of a pupil starting
primary schools). The profile sums up each child’s primary school.
development in relation to the statutory early learning
goals1 by accumulating observations and knowledge of the N.B. A new Foundation Phase for three- to seven-year-olds is due
whole child at the end of the foundation stage. to be introduced in Wales from September 2008. Guidance on
children's learning and development is being produced to support
N.B. A new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) will be continuous assessment based on observation during this phase.
introduced from 2008. This will replace the Foundation
Stage Profile assessment and provide a single framework
of care, learning and development for all children from
birth to the age of five in early years settings. The EYFS
Profile will sum up children's progress towards the end of
the stage, at age five. 2
These cover six areas of development: personal, social and emotional development; communication - language and literacy; mathematical development; knowledge and understanding of the
world; physical development; and creative development.
Further information on the EYFS is available: http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/eyfs
Eurydice: the information network on education in Europe November 2007 1
Assessment England Wales
Key stage 1 assessment, end of key Statutory assessment in English and mathematics uses Statutory assessment in English, mathematics and science
stage, pupils aged around seven years. 3 externally provided written tests and tasks in reading, involves teacher assessment only against the attainment
writing (including spelling) and mathematics, to inform targets.
teacher assessment against the attainment targets4 in
English, mathematics and science. Pupils in Welsh-speaking schools or classes are assessed by
teacher assessment against the attainment targets for Welsh
Since the 2004/05 school year, the key stage 1 assessment instead of English.
arrangements have placed greater emphasis on teacher
assessment. Teachers now use the outcomes of the tests and Although the tests and tasks which were previously statutory
tasks to inform their overall assessment of a child's progress. at the end of this key stage are no longer compulsory,
Teachers also have more flexibility in the timing of the tests teachers may, optionally, still use these tests with their
and tasks and their implementation. students.
Key stage 2 assessment, end of key Statutory assessment involves externally provided and Statutory assessment in English, mathematics and science
stage, age around 11. marked written tests in English (four tests - reading, writing involves teacher assessment only against the attainment
short piece, writing and handwriting longer piece, and targets.
spelling), mathematics (three tests - one without calculator,
one with calculator, and a mental mathematics test) and Pupils in Welsh-speaking schools or classes are assessed by
science (two tests), along with teacher assessment against teacher assessment against the attainment targets for Welsh
the attainment targets in English, mathematics and science. instead of English.
Although the tests and tasks which were previously statutory
(Pupils performing below the levels assessed in the tests do at the end of this key stage are no longer compulsory,
not take the tests,with teacher assessment being the only teachers may, optionally, still use these tests with their
statutory requirement for these pupils.) pupils.
Current government policy will see the gradual introduction
of skills assessments and profiles in thinking,
communication and number for 10-year-olds.
Key stages are the four phases into which compulsory education in England and Wales is divided. In England and Wales these are: key stage (ks) 1, age 4/5 to 7; ks2, age 7-11, ks3 11-14, and
ks4 age 14-16. Some changes to these key stages will be introduced in Wales with the introduction of the Foundation Phase.
Attainment targets set out the “knowledge, skills and understanding that pupils of different abilities and maturities are expected to have by the end of each key stage” and consist of level
descriptions of increasing difficulty.
Assessment England Wales
Key stage 3 assessment, end of key Statutory assessment involves externally set and marked Statutory assessment involves teacher assessment against the
stage, pupils aged around 14 years. tests in English (three tests, one each in reading, writing and attainment targets in all compulsory subjects at this level -
Shakespeare; the Shakespeare test comprises a single English, Welsh, mathematics, science, history, geography,
reading task); mathematics (includes a mental mathematics design and technology, information technology, modern
test, one test paper in which no calculators are allowed and foreign languages, art, music and physical education.
one in which calculators are permitted); and science (two
tests), along with teacher assessment against the attainment Although the tests and tasks which were previously statutory
targets in all compulsory National Curriculum subjects at at the end of this key stage are no longer compulsory,
this level - English, mathematics, science, history, teachers may, optionally, still use these tests with their
geography, design and technology, information and students.
communication technology, modern foreign languages,
citizenship, art and design, music and physical education.
(Pupils performing below the levels assessed in the tests do
not take the tests, with teacher assessment being the only
statutory requirement for these pupils.)
Assessment England and Wales
Key stage 4 assessment, end of key stage Assessment is usually by General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations in individual general
and end of compulsory education, aged curriculum subjects. There is also an increasing range of specialist or vocational (applied) qualifications available at this
around 16. level, alongside Entry Level qualifications for pupils performing below the level of GCSEs or similar qualifications.
Achievement of pupils not entered for any of the above external examinations is by teacher assessment at the end of the key
Detailed information on the qualifications available on completion of compulsory education is available via the Department
for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) qualifications website at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/qualifications and via the
qualifications pages of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority’s (QCA’s) 14-19 website at http://www.qca.org.uk/14-
Tel: + 44 (0) 1753 637036
Fax: + 44 (0) 1753 531458