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National testing: past, present and future

National testing: past, present and future

Shorrocks-Taylor, Diane

Focusing on the national test for 7, 11 and 14-year-olds, this text provides a discussion on the implications of national testing in England and Wales. It is illustrated with examples of test questions and children's responses

Paperback, Book. English.
Published Leicester: British Psychological Society, 1999
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Available: Newton Park

  • Newton Park – One available in Main Collection 371.262/SHO

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    00204569 Main Collection 371.262/SHO Standard Available


Statement of responsibility: Diane Shorrocks-Taylor
ISBN: 1854332864, 9781854332868
Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 179-186) and index.
Physical Description: xiii, 191p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Series: Issues in assessment and testing
Subject: Gcse; Sats; Educational tests and measurements Great Britain Standards.; Education Great Britain Evaluation Methodology.; Educational tests and measurements Great Britain Evaluation.; Educational tests and measurements Great Britain History.


  1. List of Tables and Figures.
  2. Acknowledgements.
  3. Series Preface: Issues in Assessment and Testing.
  4. Introduction.
  5. 1. The Origins of the National Tests.
  6. 2. Influences on the Structure of the National Tests.
  7. 3. The Development of the Tasks and Tests: Background and Summary.
  8. 4. Developing the Tasks and Tests: Some Technical Issues.
  9. 5. The Tests at Key Stage 1: The Storm and the Calm.
  10. 6. The Tests at Key Stage 2: High Profile Testing.
  11. 7. The Tests at Key Stage 3: Controversy and and Change.
  12. 8. Some Conclusions: Purposes, Ideals and Realities.
  13. Glossary of Acronyms.
  14. References.
  15. Index.

Author note

Professor Diane Shorrocks-Taylor is a member of the School of Education and Director of the Assessment and Evaluation Unit at the University of Leeds, UK.

Back cover copy

Open any newspaper today and there will almost certainly be an article relating to standards of literacy and numeracy in schools, school league tables, the National Curriculum and national testing. What is national testing for? How did the present system develop? What is the nature of the tests and how are children assessed at the three Key Stages of 7, 11 and 14?

This authoritative and thought-provoking book draws on the author’s extensive experience of both developing and evaluating the national tests and provides an insightful discussions on the implications of testing in England. Parallels are drawn between the curriculum in England and Wales, and those in Scotland and Northern Ireland to provide interesting points of comparison and contrast.

The book begins by outlining the origins and key characteristics of national testing, identifying its strengths and weaknesses, and charting recent developments and current issues. Technical and statistical information on statutory tests is provided along with examples of test questions and activities. Other important topics covered include:

the major influences on the structure and development of national tests.

assessment and testing of children at the three Key Stages.

the findings of the Dearing review.

the validity and reliability of the tests.

With the benefit of hindsight, the author asks: Would we do things differently the second time around? How could the system be developed and changed in the future? What can others learn from our experience?