More than 14,000 year 11 pupils will sit pilot tests for the national reference tests (NRTs) from Monday.

Ofqual confirmed that more than 300 schools had agreed to take part in the trials, and up to 24 pupils would take the maths tests, with the same amount taking English.

The NRTs will formally start next March. Over time, the tests will monitor how cohorts of students are performing and will act as a guide for increases or decreases in that cohort’s GCSE grades.

The tests will be externally administered in each school by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

Tim Leslie, director of the NRT project, said: “We’re trialling all aspects of the test to make sure that it can differentiate students’ performance and to confirm that our approach to selecting the sample of participating students gives us results that will be representative of all year 11s taking their GCSEs each summer.

“Our test provider, NFER, is finalising arrangements with each school to confirm which students will take the test and when. There are two tests – maths and English. At each school, up to 24 students will take the maths test and another 24 students will take the English test. Each test will last an hour. No student will be asked to take both tests.”

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