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Education: Assessments

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his latest estimate is of the proportion of school time spent preparing for key stage 2 tests by children in year 6; and if he will make a statement. (163450)

The National Assessment Agency, which is responsible for administering the tests, advises schools to prepare their pupils for the tests by providing them with opportunities to familiarise themselves with the layout and design of past test papers, encouraging them to work independently and to be aware that there may be questions in the tests that they will not be able to answer. Head teachers have responsibility for deciding how much preparation pupils should have, but neither the Department nor NAA recommend intensive preparation for the tests.

Information about time spent on test preparation is not collected centrally. However, as part of a research exercise, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) gathered information about test preparations in school year 2006-07 from 376 primary, infant and junior, schools. Those schools reported on the time spent in year six on direct preparation for key stage 2 tests as follows:

Time spent on test preparation

Percentage of schools

First half of autumn term of year six


One hour or more


Two hours or more



Second half of spring term of year six



Two hours or more


Three hours or more


The sample of schools responding to the QCA's survey was small and not necessarily representative.