Major ‘forensic investigation’ aims to expose Sats cheating

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The government has begun a major, proactive investigation into cheating by schools in national tests, TES can reveal.

Key stage 2 Sats papers from 400 primaries have been called in by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA), part of the Department for Education.

Officials are conducting a “detailed review” of the completed test scripts from May this year to determine whether they contain “answers which were not from a pupil’s own independent work”.

News of the investigation, which emerged through a TES Freedom of Information request, comes as concerns persist about significant numbers of schools cheating in the high-stakes tests – where poor results can cost teachers their jobs.

The revelation is potentially embarrassing for the government as it falls in the same week that ministers have unveiled a review of primary assessment that could result in national tests being reintroduced for infant pupils.

But headteachers say the investigation shows that “ministers really don’t trust teachers” and argue that rates of cheating in schools are low.

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