A Sats spelling test due to be taken by half a million seven-year-olds in England next month was accidentally published as a sample test months ago.
The error was discovered when a school running an official trial of the new national spelling test saw that pupils recognised all the words being tested.
Teachers then found the exact same test was among practice papers on the Department for Education (DfE) website.
The government said it was a “serious error” and was investigating.
Around half a million of the test papers are already with schools, in sealed envelopes, in preparation for Sats tests in the first week of May.
Tests and assessments are taken by every seven-year-old and every 11-year-old in the country, and the results are used to hold schools to account.
However, the spelling and grammar test results are not used to rank the schools.
The DfE publishes sample papers via its website and schools – or parents – are free to use them to help their children gain useful practice in the run-up to the tests.
A school in south-east England, which did not wish to be identified, was one of a number taking part in a trial of the new paper.
The teacher who spotted the error, Charlotte Smiles, said: “One of the children who was sitting the spelling test that we were giving them kept saying ‘I know this one, and this one’. He appeared to know what was coming next.
“One of the teachers asked him if he had seen this test before and he answered in a bit of a coy way.
“Because of the way this child was behaving, I went and checked on the DfE website and I found this exact test published as a sample paper.
“It’s actually been there since January 26.”
She said the DfE finally admitted the error after a number …read more
Source:: BBC UK