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ONCT Support

Your questions answered on the Oxford National Curriculum Tests

ONCT Support

Your questions answered on the Oxford National Curriculum Tests

The Tests

What are the Oxford National Curriculum Tests (ONCTs)?

The ONCTs are paper-based assessments that have been developed for Years 2 to 6. They provide teachers with an independent measure of pupil attainment to feed into their overall professional judgement of a pupil's progress.

The tests cover English (Reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) and Maths (Reasoning and Arithmetic). 

They follow the same structure as the National Tests and have been developed to meet the specifications outlined in the STA's Test Frameworks. 

They look and feel similar to the SATs to give pupils experience of the style and content of the KS1 and KS2 tests. 

For Years 3, 4 and 5, where there are no National Test Frameworks, the tests assess the curriculum for that year group, taking into account the age and experience of the children.

The tests were formerly available as the Optional Tests and Progress Tests from Testbase. Oxford has licensed the tests and they are now being published as the Oxford National Curriculum Tests.

Have the tests changed in any way from the Optional and Progress Tests?

No, the tests are still up to date and correct for current National Curriculum requirements, so no changes have been made to the test content – simply to what they are called.

Are there supporting Teacher’s Guides for the ONCTs?

Yes, these are available free of charge to all test purchasers. 

They provide support in administering the tests and include full mark schemes and guidance on marking. There is one Teacher’s Guide per subject per year group, and they are available to download as PDFs via MERiT.

What is the optimal time for pupils to take the tests?

We recommend that the tests are given at the following times of year:

  • Year 2 tests - between February and March
  • Years 3, 4 and 5 tests - between May and June
  • Year 6 Autumn tests - between December and January
  • Year 6 Spring tests - between February and March

This will ensure that the population comparisons are valid (as they will be comparing performance with children who have taken the test at the same point in the school year). If pupils sit the tests outside these administration windows then the thresholds will also not be as applicable.

What is in each of the packs?

Click here to view a summary of what is in each of the Oxford National Curriculum Tests packs.



What is MERiT?

MERiT is the online analysis and reporting tool from Testbase that will support you in making the most of your data from the ONCTs.

Available free to all test users, MERiT allows you to:

  • generate reports by pupil, class or school
  • analyse performance by strand
  • compare the cohort's performance with a national population of all other schools taking the tests. 

How do I get access to MERiT?

Once you have purchased the tests, you will be emailed information on how to access your school's MERiT account, with simple set-up instructions on how to get started.

Your subscription will last for 1 year from the date of purchase of the print tests.

Who should I contact if I need any technical support with MERiT?

Please browse Testbase’s Knowledge Base to see if your question is covered there. 

If not, then please email and we will contact you to resolve your query.

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