In England, attainment at the end of key stage 2 is measured by national curriculum tests. These tests are a measure of achievement against the precise attainment targets of the national curriculum rather than any generalised concept of ability in any of the subject areas. The national curriculum standards have been designed so that most pupils will progress by approximately one level every two years. By the end of key stage 2, pupils are expected to achieve level 4 in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. Assessment in English covers both reading and writing.
In 2006, a total of 594,100 pupils were eligible for assessment in English at the end of key stage 2. Of these pupils, 122,800 (21 per cent) did not reach the target level 4. This includes 4,300 pupils absent from the test and 500 pupils unable to access the test.
Assessment in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly.