UK government scraps school spelling test after it was published online


An important primary school spelling test has been scrapped in the UK after it was accidentally released online.

The section of the Key Stage 1 final exam – which was due to be taken by thousands of seven-year-olds next month – was published as a sample paper on the UK’s Department for Education (DfE) website on January 26.

Following an urgent investigation into what the British Standards and Testing Agency (STA) called a “human error”, UK Schools Minister Nick Gibb decided to remove the requirement for schools to give pupils the test for this year.

“Schools will still need to submit a teacher assessment judgment based on pupils’ work in the classroom as has always been the case,” he said.

“However, there will be no requirement this year for them to administer the KS1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test or use the result as part of that assessment.

“Our immediate inquiry has shown none of the other KS1 test papers have been affected by this error. This is a clearly regrettable incident and I am sorry for any concern it has caused teachers, parents or pupils.”

Around half a million Year 2 pupils were set to take the spelling and grammar tests and the results are used to measure the progress of pupils.

The mishap was noticed by a teacher who was trialling the official test when a pupil appeared to know all the answers.

The blunder prompted a fierce backlash against assessment in primary schools, with the British Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) labelling it “farcical”, while the National Union of Teachers (NUT) called for primary assessment to be cancelled for 2016.

STA chief executive Jennifer Coupland said she believed the issue arose as a result of human error by a member of staff within the agency and a “failure to follow appropriate clearance processes”.

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