DfE corrects mistakes in 2018 primary testing data

The Department for Education has updated headline results for last year’s phonics screening check and key stage 1 SATs after mistakes in its original data release were identified.

The department confirmed today that a number of changes had been made to a data release entitled phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments in England, 2018, which was published last September.

The mistakes relate to how some headline data was reported, and not the individual scores of pupils or schools, the DfE confirmed.

In the updated document, the mean phonics score achieved by pupils last year has been corrected from 33 to 34. The mistake in the original document was the result of a rounding error, the DfE said.

Separately, various figures in the section of the release that breaks down headline key stage 1 SATs results by school type have also been updated, after the DfE incorrectly labelled more than 500 schools.

For example, the overall percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in maths in academies and free schools increased from 76 per cent in the original release to 77 per cent in the updated version, and for sponsored academies, it increased from 72 per cent to 73 per cent.

The success rate in writing in sponsored academies also increased, from 65 per cent to 66 per cent, and the overall reading score among all academies and free schools rose from 75 per cent to 76 per cent.

The mistake came about because schools were ascribed a school type based on their status when the data was submitted in the summer of 2018, rather than when the data was published in September last year.

As a result, in the updated release, there were 567 fewer LA-maintained schools and 567 more academies and free schools than in the original release. The DfE said this was because the schools converted to become academies between September 2017 and when the data was published.

A spokesperson said mechanisms had been put in place to ensure such mistakes don’t happen again.