SATs maladministration cases soar by a third

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The number of cases of SATs maladministration investigated by the government increased by 32 per cent in 2018, new figures show.

The Standards and Testing Agency, which presides over tests at key stages 1 and 2, investigated 793 cases across both stages in 2018, up from 599 in 2017 and 524 in 2016.

The large increase was mainly driven by a sharp rise in the number of investigations at key stage 2, from 461 in 2017 to 644 in 2018. The STA recorded only a small rise in cases at key stage 1, from 138 to 149.

There was also a 56 per cent rise in the number of schools that had their results annulled or amended as a result of an investigation – from 78 in 2017 to 122 in 2018.

The term “maladministration” refers to any act that could jeopardise the “integrity, security or confidentiality” of the tests and lead to results that “do not reflect the unaided abilities and achievements of pupils”.

This includes incorrectly opening test papers, cheating pupils, or test administrators offering too much help to children. It can also refer to changes made to test scripts by someone other than the pupil, or the inflation or deflation of teacher assessment judgements.

The most common allegation about key stage 2 SATs was that the test administrator over-aided pupils. The second most common was that there was an unauthorised test timetable variation, and the third was wrongly-opened test packs.

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