QTS Skills Tests
The professional skills tests, also known as the QTS Skills Tests, are computer-based tests in literacy and numeracy (and until 2012 also in ICT) which must be passed by anyone attempting to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) in England. The tests must be passed before enrolling onto an initial teacher training course, such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), or the Bachelor of Education (BEd).
The goal of the tests is to "assess the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge needed for teaching," and "to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism."
Information about the tests
Official information about the tests is provided by the Department for Education: Professional skills tests.
The literacy test focuses on spelling, punctuation, grammar and comprehension. The test questions are randomly selected from a bank of standarised questions. The overall difficulty of the test varies, and the passmark is adjusted accordingly.
The numeracy test starts off with a section of 12 mental arithmetic questions, each with a strict time limit, though paper working is allowed. These questions are spoken through headphones and do not appear on the computer screen. This is followed by a section of 16 more complex questions, displayed on the screen, involving interpretation of statistical data and graphs, and problem solving. For this section of the test an on-screen calculator is supplied.
Practice tests which simulate the real tests can be accessed at practice.skillstestbooking.com. Access is open to anyone but a valid email address must be supplied.
Candidates are restricted to one attempt and two re-sits for each of the tests. If not successful after three attempts, a candidate cannot make a further attempt at a test for two years.
Candidates whose first language is not English, or who have a recognised special need (for example, dyslexia), are granted extra time to take the tests. Special arrangements are made in the case of visual or hearing impairment, or physical impairment.
Until April 2012 there was also an ICT skills test. The areas of Information and communications technology tested were word processing, spreadsheets, databases, e-mails, the Internet, and presentation software.
Making arrangements to take the test
The tests are administered by learndirect and take place in learndirect test centres around England. Registration and bookings are made using the website www.skillstestbooking.com[permanent dead link].
The first attempt at each of the tests is free of charge, but learndirect charge a fee for re-sits.
The tests are conducted on computers in supervised environments. Candidates cannot take any materials, phones, watches, etc. into the test room. Paper is provided for doing mental calculations. The tests can be taken on the same day, or at different times depending on the availability of test slots.
Skills tests in the wider United Kingdom
- "Professional skills tests". HM Government (UK). Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Teacher training and education in Wales FAQ". Teacher Training Cymru. Retrieved 3 May 2015.