The tests of spelling, punctuation and grammar

[Back to my own views and more background information]

In 2013, the UK government introduced statutory tests of spelling, punctuation and grammar for all KS2 (i.e. Year 6) pupils in English primary schools. These tests are variously known as SPaG tests or GPS tests. Each test is based on the relevant version of the National Curriculum, so those for 2013-15 were based on the previous version whereas those for 2016 and later were based on the new 2013 curriculum. Major changes between 2015 and 2016:

  • The ‘levels’ (1-10) recognised in the earlier version were abandoned in the 2013 one. Consequently, the later SPaG tests are unified, whereas the tests for 2013-15 distinguished pupils working ‘at level 6’ (L6) from those working at lower levels.
  • New tests for Key Stage 1 started but:
    • in 2016 they were actually abandoned because of an accidental leak
    • from 2017 they are available for schools, but optional.


All the documents reporting results include a comparison with previous years.

The test material




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