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Understanding SATs

Posted on by Bright Tribe

If you’ve got a child in year 2 or year 6, you could well be hearing mutterings about SATs (Statutory Assessment Tests) at the school gate. Here’s our guide.

What are SATs?

All state primary pupils in England are tested at the end of Key Stage 1 (year 2) and Key Stage 2 (year 6). Many schools run ‘unofficial’ optional SATs in years 3 to 5 as well.
Year 6 children take their tests on set dates in mid-May. Results are then submitted to the school’s local authority and to parents by the end of the summer term.
Things work a little differently for year 2 children now – it used to be that their results were solely based on the tests but there’s been a move towards teachers making a general judgement (‘teacher assessment’). They will use the test scores to inform this, alongside other evidence, such as the understanding shown by pupils in their classwork. The tests can be given to children at any time during the year and they shouldn’t be particularly aware of what they’re used for or their significance – most schools will keep things very low key.

Which subjects are covered?

Year 6 children are tested in spelling, punctuation and grammar (known as the SPAG test), reading and maths (with both written and mental maths tests). Their writing is now assessed by the teacher rather than formally tested and as of 2013 there was also no science test. Year 2 children will be assessed for maths, reading, writing, speaking and listening and science but they are only tested for the first three of these areas.

Will I be told the results?

Yes, by law parents must be given their children’s results, broken down by subject, at the end of the summer term in years 2 and 6.
For year 2 children, schools have to provide the teacher’s assessment but do not have to give you the results of any written tests unless requested.

What sort of results will we be given?

You should get a report with SATs levels for each subject. At the end of year 2, the minimum expected level is a 2b – note this is not the national average as it is sometimes touted to be but a target standard. A 2c or 1a/b/c is below expectations, 2a is above expectations and a level 3 means your child is doing even better.

At the end of year 6, a level 4 is the minimum expected level, with a level 5 above expectations and a level 3 below expectations. This year, schools have the option of giving very able pupils level 6 papers.

Remember that for some children, a level 1 in year 2 or a level 3 in year 6 might still be a fantastic achievement.

For more information, also see the Parentdish guide to National Curriculum levels.

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