What is the Alpha test and how does it work?

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The Alpha Test Explained

To make sure learners start their Bedrock Vocabulary journey in the right place, we encourage schools to implement the Alpha Test. This document is to help you understand how the test works.

For progress to be optimal, it is key that learners are learning in the correct block, and therefore taught language that is suitable for their level. The Alpha Test is a placement test that ensures this happens.


The Alpha Test will automatically appear in the app when a new learner first logs in.

It’s ready to take straight away.
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Learners don’t need to be nervous.

If they don’t know the answers to any questions, it’s simply ensuring they start their Bedrock learning at the level that’s right for them.

They shouldn’t ask for help or look up words.

We want the test to give an accurate picture of a learner’s vocabulary knowledge. Schools using Bedrock should ensure their learners take the test at school, rather than home, while learners using Bedrock independently of school should ensure that they take the test without support.

The test won’t take long.

As a guide, it should take between 5-10 minutes but it varies for each learner. It isn’t timed and there is no upper time limit for the test.

It starts with questions on Block 3 vocabulary.

Block 3 has the simplest vocabulary. If the learner gets enough answers right, they will be shown questions from Block 4 and so on. The Block in which a learner finds the vocabulary too challenging is the one in which they will start their Bedrock learning journey. They won’t be told if they answer each question correctly or not - they will simply get a message saying the test is complete.

It ensures reading material is age appropriate.

Irrespective of their ability, learners in Years 3-6 are capped at Block 9, while those in Years 7 and 8 are capped at Block 10. Learners in Years 9-11 are uncapped.

The test automatically assigns each learner to the right block.

At the end of the test, learners are able to start their learning in the correct Block right away.

You can see where each learner was placed via your ‘Block placement’ report in the ‘Class reports’ section of the teacher dashboard. This also shows you the progress through the blocks.

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If learners haven’t tried their best and they are not placed in the correct block for their ability, there is adaptive progression logic in place. Bedrock continually monitors your learners' progress via the deep learning algorithm and adjusts accordingly.

Learners are awarded 10 points for completing the Alpha test.

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