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Strategies for preparing pupils for Key Stage 2 maths tests

Researchers: Dr Melanie Ehren | Professor Paul Newton ...

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview


Primary schools in England are held to account on the basis of results from national curriculum tests in core subjects, including maths. On the one hand, these measure are intended to motivate higher attainment. On the other, they risk effort being wasted on strategies that inflate test scores without a corresponding impact on pupils’ in-depth knowledge and understanding.

Previous research has looked at the impact of this kind of high stakes testing, such as ‘teaching-to-the-test’ strategies. However, this study will be the first in the UK to focus just on strategies used for teaching maths. It aims to answer the following questions:

  • What instructional strategies do teachers use in response to Key Stage 2 maths tests?
  • Which features of Key Stage 2 maths tests are teachers responsive to?   
  • How beneficial or harmful are these subject-specific test preparation strategies in promoting student learning?

The study will also consider whether it is possible to reduce the negative impact of tests through better test design.

Team


  • Dr Melanie Ehren
    Primary researcher
    University College London
  • Professor Paul Newton
    Researcher
    University College London
  • Dr Ayshea Craig
    Researcher
    University College London
  • Nick Wollaston
    Researcher
    University College London

  • Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
By Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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