DfE accidentally publishes forthcoming test paper

The Department for Education (DfE) has accidentally published a forthcoming test online, months before the exam is due to take place.

The test in question is a Key Stage 1 spelling, punctuation and grammar test, due to be taken by half a million seven year-olds across England this May.

It was published among a set of sample papers online and freely available to users looking for exemplification materials.

A teacher reportedly discovered the erroneously published test after running an official trial of the new test and discovering some pupils recognised all the words being tested.

Charlotte Smiles, the teacher who spotted the error, told the BBC: "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."

The DfE has described the publishing of the paper as ‘a serious error’ and has confirmed that an inquiry has been launched into the incident.

A DfE spokesperson said: “This is clearly a serious error and we have launched an immediate investigation to understand how it happened.

“The material has been removed from our website. Fortunately, this is a Key Stage 1 test which is provided to schools to support Teacher Assessment judgments.

“The data used to judge the performance of schools and the progress children are making at Key Stage 1 are teacher assessment judgements. The results of these tests are not collected. Nonetheless it is deeply regrettable that it has happened.

“We ask that if anyone has seen the material, they do not share it further so that the test remains helpful for those teachers who have not yet used it with their pupils.”

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