Introduction

This database was developed to support evaluators and educators in identifying suitable measures of attainment in literacy, mathematics and science for pupils aged 6 to 18 years. There are many measures of attainment available, but it is not always easy to decide which one to use. We have therefore commissioned the Centre for Global Learning at Coventry University to carry out a review of standardised, norm-referenced tests that are available to measure attainment in these subjects.

The review identified measures that fulfil minimal reporting criteria. Information about those measures is summarised in a searchable database. The database summarises information on the reliability and validity of test data, as well as providing practical information about test administration and implementation. This information will help you to determine which test best suits your needs, whether that is to understand strengths and weaknesses, measure progress over time, or evaluate an intervention.

Inclusion criteria for measures in the database

The review was conducted in two stages. In the first stage the team led by Dr Helen Breadmore and Prof Julia Carroll identified tests that:

  • Assess literacy, mathematics, or science attainment
  • Are suitable for English-speaking 6 to 18-year-olds
  • Were published in or since 2000 (to ensure relevance of test content)

In the second stage, the 231 tests identified through this initial search were then screened and additional information was gathered to ensure that the information required to evaluate the measures was available. Measures were subject to full evaluation if they:

  • Were norm-referenced and had been normed on a UK sample
  • Had been published since 2010 or had updated norms published since then
  • Were available for review,with sufficient information available on to evaluate the validity and reliability of the test

This resulted in 37 measures that were eligible for full evaluation.

The review specifically focused on standardised, norm-referenced measures that have recent UK norms to ensure the test results can be benchmarked against the national population. This meant that a large proportion of tests were not included in the full evaluation,because they were criterion-referenced or didn’t have recent UK norms (defined as norms published since 2010). Many of the tests that were excluded from the evaluation phase are well established measures. Their exclusion from the full evaluation does not mean that these tests are inadequate or inappropriate for your intended use. Some of the excluded tests can be useful tools in some contexts. These tests are included in the database with some minimal information provided, but they are not evaluated.

The accompanying review outlines the identification and evaluation process in more detail. It describes what factors should be considered when selecting measures of attainment, including a useful explanation of technical terms to support the selection of different measures. It includes reflections on gaps in the availability of tests. Most notably,it identifies only one science test that fulfilled criteria for inclusion. It highlights that information about the validity and reliability of measures is often difficult to access, lacking or of low quality. The review provides valuable insight into the issues surrounding identified measures of attainment in literacy, mathematics and science.