When children are 7 and 11 they take tests that measure what all children can do when they are asked the same questions. The tests help teachers learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of what your child understands about a subject.
The tests are designed to ask questions only about what your child has been learning at school.
Teachers take care to make sure that the tests are as stress-free as possible, and that they are fair for all children.
They can also arrange for extra help for children who need it. For example, they can get copies of the tests in large print if your child cannot see very well.
Teachers make a teacher assessment of your child when they first start school and when they are aged 5, 7 and 11.
Of course, teachers also assess your child informally almost every time they teach a class. For example, they mark sums, listen to children reading, or watch how they do a scientific experiment. This helps them to know how children are doing in class and plan what they should learn next.
The formal teacher assessment is used in addition to the national tests so that your child's progress can be measured in two ways:
The results of the tests and the teacher assessment may be different, but tests and assessments are equally important. For example, a teacher may feel your child is doing better in a subject as a whole than in the parts of the subject covered by a test.