The term 'maladministration' refers to any act that affects the integrity, security or confidentiality of the key stage 2 national curriculum tests, and could lead to results that do not reflect children’s unaided work. Maladministration can lead to changes to, or annulment of, results for whole cohorts, groups of children or individual children.

Some examples of maladministration are listed below:

Before test administration

  • schools opening the test papers more than one hour in advance of a test without obtaining permission for early opening from their local authority for maintained schools or Standards and Testing Agency (STA) for independent schools and academies
  • schools storing test materials incorrectly
  • schools photocopying test papers without obtaining permission from STA
  • teachers obtaining and using knowledge of the test content to coach children before a test

During test administration

  • schools administering a test earlier than the date in the published timetable
  • test administrators over-aiding children during a test
  • children having inappropriate equipment in a test, for example using a calculator during a non-calculator test
  • children cheating
  • schools not covering wall displays in test rooms
  • children retaking the tests
  • unsupervised rest breaks for children
  • schools administering a test to a child or children after the date in the published timetable without an authorised timetable variation
  • test administrators making changes to children’s test scripts before sending them for external marking

After test administration

  • test administrators making changes to test scripts before sending them for a marking review

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has a statutory duty to investigate any matter brought to its attention relating to the accuracy or correctness of any results of any child for the key stage 2 national curriculum tests.

STA's maladministration team works closely with local authorities to investigate any allegations of maladministration.

Schools and local authorities should read and be aware of the guidance available to download from this page.

Contact details

Maladministration Team