Guardians - What are the tests like?

Modified on Sat, 04 Nov 2023 at 08:52 AM

The Common Pre-Tests are online and are taken on a computer.

The four tests are all adaptive, multiple-choice tests. 

The ISEB Common Pre-Tests are not speed tests, pupils should have ample time to complete the questions without rushing. Pupils do not achieve a higher score for answering more questions. Their result is obtained through accuracy and consistency.

How the test works

ISEB adaptive testing uses advanced psychometric technology to provide more accurate scores while minimising the length of tests and providing pupils with a better test-taking experience. After the pupil answers a question, the next question is chosen to best match their ability. Pupils who answer questions correctly are gradually tracked to harder questions. Those who consistently answer incorrectly are tracked to easier content. However, if a child answers inconsistently, e.g., makes some errors with early questions due to nerves, they can still achieve a very high score if they settle down and start to get questions right, unlike a static test where any errors will reduce the final score. Being tracked to easier content at the beginning can help settle nerves and enable anxious pupils to perform according to their ability. Research shows that this kind of adaptive test can provide more accurate scores than a standard test while needing fewer questions to be answered.


Test length

Unlike a standard test where there is a fixed number of questions, our adaptive tests have variable lengths. Each child answers a minimum number of questions but after that, if they have answered consistently and we can be sure we have an accurate score for them, the test will terminate. If a child answers less consistently e.g., answers some difficult questions correctly but gets some easy questions wrong, the test will continue for longer, until we are sure we have the most accurate score for them or until the maximum number of questions is reached.

The questions

The questions used in the ISEB adaptive test are written by experienced teachers and question writers. Before a question can be used in the ISEB tests it is reviewed by test developers and piloted in large-scale trials with children to make sure that the question is clear and unambiguous. Only the questions that survive this process are included in the test.

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