If your child is in Primary School in Year 2 or Year 6 then they will be taking the national curriculum tests known as SATs. In 2016 a new system for SATs was introduced to reflect changes made to the curriculum in 2014. Over the next few articles, we will be examining these changes and the components of the new SATs exams.
This article contains general FAQs about the SATs conducted in Primary Schools
What are SATs?
SATs is short for ‘Statutory Assessment Tests’ although the Department of Education calls these tests National Curriculum Tests.
They are completed by UK schools and issued by the Standards & Testing Agency. In short, these results are used by teachers to measure how well their pupils have been progressing and how well schools have been teaching children.
Do all schools SATs?
Is it compulsory for all children to sit the tests?
Yes. Schools are pressured to ensure every pupil sits the SATs otherwise zero returns can influence their performance score. Schools will do their best to help reduce stress for children who are sensitive to tests and special arrangements can be made for children with additional needs. The SATs tests may seem difficult and intimidating but in reality, they do not determine your child’s future and with good preparation they can be less stressful.
What do the results mean?
The results from these tests are used to compare pupils English and Maths skills and school performance nationally. The tests are not qualifications and don’t affect your child’s options for subjects in school. However, they are important tools to demonstrate pupil’s progress and recognize individuals who may need extra support. The Year 6 results do have greater importance and potentially may be used by Secondary Schools as a measure of your child’s ability for sets.
When will we receive the results?
The SATS results are issued in a report and used in addition to teacher assessments to judge the progress of pupils through KS1 and KS2. These reports will be available for parents by the end of the summer term.
What are age-standardised tests?
SATs tests are standardised but not age-adjusted.
This means that the raw score (the actual marks) are recalculated into a standardised score using a formula.
In the case of SATs papers, the testing authorities issue a table which converts raw scores to standardised scores. The standardised score then allows scores from one year to be compared with previous years.
It also allows both parents and teachers and the education authorities to see where children have scored relative to expectation.
How can I prepare my child for SATs?
Generally, Primary Schools will increase their focus on SATs from January onwards. For the next 5 months or so, classes will consist of a number of revision activities and children will sit similar tests to practice for the real papers.
Following the Easter holidays, schools will be issuing more homework and using mock papers in lessons so that the pupils have plenty of exam practice.
For parents, it is useful to understand the SATs process so that children can receive additional support at home. This means that children can talk about SATs at home and receive reassurance from parents if they have negative feelings towards the tests.
A child will also benefit from having positive routines in place such as adequate sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise.
Additionally, there are plenty of textbooks and online resources (see the link below) that enable parents to actively support the learning of their children: