Legislation is being proposed to require selected schools to take part in the new National Reference Test (NRT). “This will help to ensure that the sample of pupils and schools that take part each year will be fully representative of the national cohort taking GCSEs at the end of key stage 4” claims Schools Minister, Nick Gibb.
As reported in April's OCR Policy Briefing, the National Reference Test is being introduced to provide additional information to support the awarding of GCSEs in English Language and maths. Each year in March, ahead of their GCSEs, a random sample of year 11 students will be asked to take a test in English or maths. The results will not be used for school accountability purposes and results will not be given to individual pupils. The NRT aims to provide Ofqual with additional evidence on year-on-year changes in performance.
The proposed legislation, outlined in a DfE consultation, would apply to maintained schools and most academies and free schools. It would not apply to independent schools although pupils at independent schools will also be asked to take the test to ensure that the sample of pupils is nationally representative.
The legislation will come into force on 1 September 2016 and the first full NRT will take place in March 2017.