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Breaking: Firm chosen for new national reference tests with first exams set for March 2017

A firm has been selected to develop and introduce the new national reference tests – with the first pupils set to take the exams in March 2017.

Ofqual announced today that the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) will deliver the tests, designed to anchor all GCSE standards.

Ofqual is now working with organisations representing schools and their leaders to prepare more detailed information before the first tests are rolled out.

Glenys Stacey, chief regulator at Ofqual, said: “The tests will provide additional information that we expect to significantly advance our ability to detect genuine changes in performance and so improve awarding.

“We will act cautiously as we build our understanding of the information that the tests will provide and how this is used in GCSE awarding.”

NFER is an independent provider of educational research services. Chief executive Carole Willis added: “This is an important development in providing robust independent research evidence for education and will add to the evidence on standards that NFER already provides, for example through international surveys.”

Each year a random sample of students at around 300 schools will take a test in maths or English in March before their GCSEs.

The results will be analysed only at a national level.

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