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Wales to introduce new online reading and numeracy tests

08/05/2017 Joanna

Welsh schools are to replace paper-based national reading and numeracy tests with new online assessments, it has been announced.

The tests, which are taken by all pupils in years two to nine, are carried out to determine reading and numeracy skills, in order to identify what each child needs to focus upon to progress. The online versions will be phased in over a three-year period, commencing in the 2018-19 academic year.

It is expected that the digital tests will offer a number of benefits over their current paper counterparts, including the ability to offer personalised assessments that have been specifically designed for use in Wales. Assessments will automatically adjust the difficulty level of the questions to match the individual taking the test, providing an appropriate level of challenge for each learner.

Teachers, meanwhile, will receive more detailed information on a child's performance, with feedback generated much faster than is currently possible, while marking time and administrative burdens are also expected to be reduced. Overall, it will become easier to test whole classes, small groups or individuals according to the facilities available, at a time that is most suitable for teachers and students alike.

Education secretary Kirsty Williams said: "These tests are about raising standards by showing the next steps that children need to take in their learning. The move to online personalised assessments for reading and numeracy will benefit pupils, parents and teachers.

"Pupils will be taking assessments that will adapt to their needs and skills. They will have the benefits of automatic marking and schools will have feedback faster than before."

She added that this will support the government's broader strategy of making sure pupils from a variety of backgrounds are able to excel within the educational system.

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