Published on: 23 Jun 2011

Half of all secondary pupils with reading difficulties are not on SEN Register

23 June 2011

GL Assessment welcomes Lord Bew’s final report on Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability, particularly in light of the greater focus on pupils’ progress within the accountability system and the stated importance of effective benchmarking.

GL Assessment’s oral evidence to the Bew Review panel was based on the premise that teachers should be in control of selecting the internal assessments they need to suit the school’s programme and cohort, and enable timely, targeted interventions. We suggested that the strongest approach is to use a complementary combination of teacher and independent assessment, helping teachers to make objective, well-informed decisions about their pupils’ needs.

Andrew Thraves, Publishing and Strategy Director of GL Assessment, said: “Our observations in the classroom suggest that many teachers devote much of Year 6 to preparing their pupils for the KS2 tests, which can lead to grade inflation and occasions where genuine learning takes a back seat to revision. However, we believe that summative assessment in the core subjects is important at Year 6, and attainment in these is critical to accessing the full curriculum beyond. More rigorous internal assessment throughout Year 6 would address both these points together, with teachers deciding the timing, procurement, type and focus, as well as the intervention strategies.”

Lord Bew’s report referenced GL Assessment’s Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT), a standardised assessment that measures developed ability – verbal, non-verbal and quantitative – three of the main areas of reasoning that can identify learning styles and the potential for current and future attainment. It is used by 50% of secondary schools across the UK, supporting teachers in the design of more effective learning programmes and interventions. 

The report states:

“Research evidence shows that secondary schools make widespread use of Cognitive Abilities Tests (which are designed to predict ability, regardless of previous attainment) and other internal assessments. The wide range of commercially available tests that are bought in by secondary schools shows the level of demand for additional information. This may suggest that they doubt the usefulness or accuracy of National Curriculum Test results, or that they see the value of triangulating with a different form of assessment.”

Andrew Thraves, Publishing and Strategy Director of GL Assessment, continues:

“Good assessment practice requires access to reliable and robust data from a range of sources. At Key Stage 2, this would be from SATs, internal assessment such as CAT and teacher assessment – a process we call ‘triangulation’. An objective, independent view is highly valued by teachers as a check and balance to nationally standardised Government tests, and we are pleased that the Bew Review recognises the importance of both internal and external assessments. We would go further and say that the effective, complementary use of both is vital.”

Please see Lord Bew’s final report at:


For more information, please contact:

Danielle Morgan, Head of Communications, GL Assessment:

Tel: 020 8996 3632 / Email:

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