HMC comment on National Reference Test announcement

2 September 2016
Posted by Heidi Salmons

Mike Buchanan, HMC Chair and Headmaster of Ashford School, said:

“HMC supports the national reference test in principle. The current method of assessing attainment over time takes no account of the value that different schools add during the 11 to 16 years phase of education and can be skewed by changes to the primary school curriculum.

“However, we hope the NRT will avoid the risk of mimicking GCSE too closely as this is likely to cause pupils taking the two exams close together to be distracted and over-anxious. There is also a risk that teachers will feel under even greater pressure to prepare them for both. The whole point of a reference test is to be an anonymised, stress-free and valid measure of attainment of each annual cohort of pupils.

“It will also be important to ensure that the relatively small number of students taking the new test is taken into account if claims of increased national attainment are to be made.”