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About World Class Tests

World Class Tests were conceived by the Department for Education in London, UK. They cover Mathematics and Problem Solving and are designed to provide a challenging and fun assessment for the most able 8-14 year-old students.

World Class Tests help to identify and challenge able students, requiring them to apply their awareness to solve unfamiliar problems. Students are expected to communicate and explain their solutions.

Students taking World Class Tests should be able to:

  • think creatively and logically

  • use their thinking skills to solve problems and answer questions that are unfamiliar

  • communicate clearly how they think through and solve questions.

Teachers should encourage students who may not perform well in traditional tests, but who are creative thinkers and good problem solvers, to take the World Class Tests.

Each test has a paper component and a computer component. Students must take both. 8-11 year-old students have 60 minutes for each component. 12-14 year-olds have 75 minutes.

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Once again, a super, challenging and stimulating set of tests which the students thoroughly enjoyed - they were constantly knocking on my classroom door asking when the next test would be! 

St Columba's College, England

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World Class Tests aim to assess a depth of understanding and application beyond the usual expectation for the age group. The assessments are internationally calibrated and are designed to provide three grades: Pass, Merit and Distinction. This international calibration is used to create the following profiles.

The number of marks required for each level is generally in line with the following requirements. The exact number of marks required varies from one test to another, as no two tests carry questions of identical difficulty. 

  • For the 8-11 mathematics tests, scores in excess of 75% relate to Distinction levels of performance; scores of 58-74% relate to Merit levels of performance; and scores below 58% indicate students who may be working at the Pass level of performance. 

  • For the 8-11 problem solving tests, scores in excess of 60% relate to Distinction levels of performance; scores of 45-59% relate to Merit levels of performance; and scores below 45% indicate students who may be working at the Pass level of performance.

  • For the 12-14 mathematics tests, scores in excess of 72% relate to Distinction levels of performance; scores of 54-71% relate to Merit levels of performance; and scores below 54% indicate students who may be working at the Pass level of performance.

  • For the 12-14 Problem Solving tests, scores in excess of 63% relate to Distinction levels of performance; scores of 48-62% relate to Merit levels of performance; and scores below 48% indicate students who may be working at the Pass level or performance.

A Pass grade in World Class Tests suggests a student is performing at a level consistent with the top 20% of the relevant age group and is a remarkable achievement.  For students whose performance does not reach the standard required for the Pass grade, certificates are issued showing that the student participated in the tests. 

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Identifying submerged talent



Students need to apply previous mathematics knowledge to new situations and use deductive reasoning to solve unfamiliar problems. There are six major categories of functions, processes and concepts within the mathematics World Class Tests:

  1. Numeric

  2. Algebraic - algebraic graphs (age 12-14 group only)

  3. Spatial

  4. Geometric

  5. Measures

  6. Handling data


The image below shows an example of a computer-based mathematics question for 12-14 year-olds in which students are asked to work out the sequence in the pattern of shapes then, using an algebraic or other efficient methodology, work out which shapes would correspond with the values 105 and 270.

There are more examples of paper-based and computer-based questions on the WCT Examples page here.

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Forty-two Year 9 students participated in the World Class Tests for Mathematics. Our Year 9 students received 2 Distinctions, 16 Merits and 16 Passes.

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St Christopher's School, Bahrain

Problem Solving

Questions are drawn from science, design technology and mathematics, but assess high-level problem solving skills rather than subject knowledge. Task type is the most important aspect of assessing problem solving skills within World Class Tests. These types are:

  1. Design or plan

  2. Select, evaluate and recommend

  3. Model, estimate, predict

  4. Critique and review

  5. Deduce from data; fit constraints

  6. Discover or infer relationships

  7. Translate


Below is an example of a problem solving question for 8-11 year-old students. The problem consists of two screens and students must work through both. On the first screen, students are expected to explore the relationship between mass of a fruit/vegetable and the amount of water displaced by the same fruit/vegetable. They also observe whether the fruit/vegetable floats or sinks.


In the example given, the carrot has a mass of 80kg and it displaces 70cm3 of water. It sinks.


Based on the observed values and relationships, students then move to page 2 of the problem, completing the table of data based on relationships they have inferred from their data.

There are more examples of paper-based and computer-based questions on the WCT Examples page here.

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