New tender for National Reference Test

1 Jul 2022 12:06 PM

Ofqual is inviting organisations to run the National Reference Test from 2025.

Organisations are invited to run the National Reference Test (NRT) from 2025, Ofqual announced yesterday.

Since 2017 the NRT has measured the attainment of year 11 students in English and maths each year. It has provided important evidence used to set grade boundaries in GCSE English language and maths.

Every year, about 300 schools take part in the tests which last 1 hour each. Crucially, the questions remain the same, which mean that Ofqual and exam boards can measure changes in student attainment over time. If NRT results go up, then that means students have performed better than those in previous years which, in turn, can explain better performance in GCSE English language and maths.

In line with our corporate plan commitment to explore the use of technology, the NRT contract includes planning for a possible move to online tests. However, the NRT will remain on paper in the short term.

The current contract with the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to provide NRT ends in 2024. Ofqual is publishing a prior information notice (PIN) to begin procurement for 2025 tests onward.

The contract is worth an estimated £10 million for providing the NRT from 2025 to 2030. Ofqual is open to awarding a single contract or to working with a number of organisations.

To express interest in taking part in the procurement and receive more information in due course, organisations can view the PIN and register interest on by searching for Notice 226560. If they do not already use My Tenders they will first need to register as a new supplier.