The time of year is approaching when many junior children are being tested – not just those in Y6, but in all the junior years. The QCA optional tests are used in most KS2 classes across the country, and they can be incredibly useful.

Part of the value is in finding out what individual pupils can and cannot do, and also in giving them essential test practice. However, as a subject leader, I find that it is the bigger picture they give me which is more useful.

If properly analysed, the QCA tests can give you an excellent overview of what’s being taught well in your school and which topics and objectives need to be addressed.

Possibly the most useful analysis tool is the QCA’s optional test analysis grid. After running the tests, you complete a question-by-question spreadsheet, listing all those ones and zeroes for each child. This can be laborious, but from there it’s a simple matter to compare your school’s percentages for each question with the national averages.

For those of you compiling an action plan, it’s invaluable to have detailed breakdowns of where each year group needs to improve – and that’s just what the QCA’s analysis grid provides. Just speak nicely to your TAs, and they might even do some of that number crunching for you.

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