This publication provides headline statistics for attainment in key stage 2 national curriculum assessments for pupils in schools in England. It provides key figures at national level to help schools and parents put results in context.
1. The expected standard
Key stage 2 assessments tell us if pupils have met the expected standard in five subjects by the end of primary school:
- grammar, punctuation and spelling
Tests are used to assess pupils in reading, maths and grammar, punctuation and spelling. Teacher assessment is used to assess pupils in writing and science.
In the tests, pupils meet the expected standard if they achieve a scaled score of 100 or more. The test frameworks provide performance descriptors for the typical characteristics of pupils working at the expected standard.
The teacher assessment frameworks include ‘pupil can’ statements. For example, ‘the pupil can maintain legibility in joined handwriting when writing at speed’. To meet the expected standard, the teacher must judge there to be evidence that the pupil can meet all of the relevant statements.
DfE raised the expected standard in 2016, following the introduction of a new, more challenging national curriculum in 2014.
DfE considers meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths to be key for success in secondary school and beyond. Therefore, we report on the proportion of pupils who meet the expected standard in these three subjects combined.
Pupils not meeting the expected standard
It is incorrect to say that pupils who have not met the expected standard in reading cannot read, or that those who have not met the expected standard in writing cannot write, and so on.
There is a spectrum of attainment among pupils who do not meet the expected standard, with some coming close and others further away.
A pupil who achieves below the expected standard will still be able to read. For example, they may be able to retrieve simple information from a text but be unable to make developed inferences about what they have read.
We also classify pupils as not meeting the expected standard when it has not been possible to assess their ability, for example, because of absence. This is the case for less than 1% of pupils.
2. Technical information
National curriculum assessment figures published here are based on test and teacher assessment data provided to the Department by the Standards and Testing Agency on 8 July 2023.
This data contained all available marked key stage 2 tests and teacher assessments:
- Reading test: 99.9%
- Maths test: 99.9%
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling test: 99.9%
- Writing teacher assessment: 99.2%
- Science teacher assessment: 99.2%
See the methodology for further detail.