The Department of Education said the new exam, which will make its debut in the coming school year, will test punctuation use as well as whether students know the difference among nouns, verbs and adjectives, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
Officials said the exam comes in response to concerns that children are relying on non-standard English, such as "text speak," in their writing and complaints from business leaders that graduates require remedial instruction on the basics.
"Too little attention has been given to spelling, punctuation and grammar in exams over the past decade," a Department of Education spokesman said. "All children should be able to communicate and write effectively which is why we will assess their progress in these areas."
However, teachers' unions have raised concerns about the exam promoting a culture of "teaching the test" and the National Association of Head Teachers said the exam would pile "increased misery" on 11-year-olds who already face rigorous math and reading exams.