Action taken into alleged SATs maladministration drops after heads given right to challenge

Enforcement action taken by the government into alleged maladministration in primary school tests fell in 2019 after the investigation process was changed to allow headteachers to make representations on the findings.

The Standards and Testing Agency investigated 743 cases of maladministration in key stage 1 and 2 in 2019, down from 793 the previous year. But this is still higher than 599 in 2017.

The number of KS2 investigations dropped from 644 to 586, however KS1 investigations rose from 149 to 157.

There was a decrease in the number of cases at both KS1 and KS2 where pupils had results amended or annulled, as a result of maladministration.

A new investigation procedure introduced in 2019 allowed headteachers to make written representations on behalf of the school if there was doubt over the accuracy of the probe’s findings.

Representations were considered by the STA before a final decision.

At KS1, 12 per cent of all cases were amended or annulled compared to 14 per cent of all cases in 2018.

At KS2, 12.5 per cent of all cases led to amendments or annulments to their results, down from 15.8 per cent in 2018.

In 2019, approximately 0.07 per cent of schools that participated in the KS1 assessments and 0.45 per cent of schools in KS2 had their results amended.

The main maladministration allegation related to test administrators over-aiding pupils. Half of the allegations came from schools, while 14 per cent were reported by local authorities.

Maladministration refers to any act that could jeopardise the “integrity, security or confidentiality” of the assessments, such as test papers being opened incorrectly or pupils cheating.

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