Tests for key stages 1 & 2 are developed using test frameworks. There is a framework for each subject in each stage; this sets out:
- what will and won’t be assessed by the test;
- how each element of the subject will be assessed;
- the structure of the test;
- the standard a child will be expected to achieve in the test.
Once a test has been developed, the standard is set for it by two panels of experienced teachers operating independently of each other. The ‘bookmark process’ is used: items in the test are ordered by difficulty from easiest to most difficult and the panels use their professional judgement to decide whether two-thirds of pupils working just at the expected standard would answer each question correctly. The resulting score represents the expected standard on the test. It corresponds to a scaled score of 100.
Scaled scores are used because the difficulty of the test will vary slightly from year to year. The actual scores obtained by pupils – the raw scores – are converted to scaled scores. A scaled score of 100 will always represent the expected standard on the test. Pupils scoring 100 or more will have met the expected standard on the test.