Article 2: Changes to SATS in 2019
KS2 SATs were overhauled to be in line with the new national curriculum in May 2016. If your child will be sitting Y6 SATs in 2019, read on for the most up-to-date information for parents
In the summer term of 2016, children in Year 2 and Year 6 were the first to take the new SATs papers. The new-style SATs for English and maths reflect the new national curriculum, and are more rigorous than previous years’ tests. There is also a completely new marking scheme (see further below) which has replaced national curriculum levels.
At the end of Year 6, children sit tests in:
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar
These tests are both set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables). Your child’s marks will be used in conjunction with teacher assessment to give a broader picture of their attainment.
The reading test is a single paper with questions based on three passages of text. Your child will have one hour, including reading time, to complete the test.
There will be a selection of question types, including:
- Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show the order in which they happen in the story’
- Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title of the story’
- Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that suggests what the weather is like in the story’
- Short constructed response, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
- Open-ended response, e.g. ‘Look at the sentence that begins Once upon a time. How does the writer increase the tension throughout this paragraph? Explain fully, referring to the text in your answer.’
In 2018 the Department for Education announced that the reading content of the KS2 SATs will be more closely linked to the curriculum in future to ensure children are drawing on their knowledge when answering reading comprehension questions.
KS2 grammar, spelling and punctuation
The grammar, punctuation and spelling test consists of two parts: a grammar and punctuation paper requiring short answers, lasting 45 minutes, and an aural spelling test of 20 words, lasting around 15 minutes.
The grammar and punctuation test will include two sub-types of questions:
- Selected response, e.g. ‘Identify the adjectives in the sentence below’
- Constructed response, e.g. ‘Correct/complete/rewrite the sentence below,’ or, ‘The sentence below has an apostrophe missing. Explain why it needs an apostrophe.’
Children sit three papers in maths:
- Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes
- Papers 2 and 3: reasoning, 40 minutes per paper
Paper 1 will consist of fixed response questions, where children have to give the correct answer to calculations, including long multiplication and division. Papers 2 and 3 will involve a number of question types, including:
- Multiple choice
- True or false
- Constrained questions, e.g. giving the answer to a calculation, drawing a shape or completing a table or chart
- Less constrained questions, where children will have to explain their approach for solving a problem
Not all children in Year 6 will take science SATs. In selected years (including 2018) a number of schools (approximately 1900) are required to take part in science sampling: a test administered to a selected sample of children thought to be representative of the population as a whole. Science sampling testing will not take place in 2019.
For those who are selected, there will be three papers:
- Biology: 25 minutes, 22 marks
- Chemistry: 25 minutes, 22 marks
- Physics: 25 minutes, 22 marks
Each paper will take a maximum of 25 minutes to complete.
It sounds very intimidating, but these are ‘questions in a physics/chemistry/biology context’, for example:
Biology: ‘Describe the differences in the life cycle of an amphibian and a mammal’
Chemistry: ‘Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas’
Physics: ‘Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on where the poles are facing’
KS1 SAT’s scores explained
For KS1 SAT’s, your child’s raw SATs score – the actual number of marks they get in the tests – will be translated into a scaled score, where a score of 100 means the child is working at the expected standard. A score below 100 indicates that the child needs more support, whereas a score of above 100 suggests the child is working at a higher level than expected for their age. The maximum score possible is 115, and the minimum is 85.
Teachers are given conversion tables to translate their pupils’ raw scores into scaled scores. They’ll then use these scores to inform their teacher assessment. This means that the score that your child is given may not be the result they achieved in their SATs, but a score based on SATs results, classwork and the teacher’s observations.
KS2 SATs scores explained
KS2 SAT’s scores explained
In KS2 SAT’s, the papers are marked externally, with no teacher assessment involved.
Each child will be awarded a raw score and a scaled score, and receive confirmation of whether or not they achieved the national standard (‘NS’ means the expected standard was not achieved; ‘AS’ means the expected standard was achieved).
Please note that schools are free to report SATs results as they choose, so as a parent you might be given their scaled score or a code (or both); you are unlikely to be told your child’s raw test scores.
The list of KS2 SATs outcome codes in full is:
- AS: the expected standard has been achieved
- NS: the expected standard has not been achieved
- A: the child was absent from one or more of the test papers
- B: the child is working below the level assessed by KS2 SATs
- M: the child missed the test
- T: the child is working at the level of the tests but is unable to access them (because all or part of a test is not suitable for a pupil with particular special educational needs)
The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test is the same, this year and in future years:
- 80 is the lowest possible scaled score
- 120 is the highest possible scaled score
A scaled score of 100 or more means that the child has met the expected standard in each test; a scaled score of 99 or less means they haven’t reached the government-expected standard.
In 2018 64% of pupils met the new expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics. In reading, 75% achieved the standard, in maths 76% met the standard, in spelling, punctuation and grammar tests 78% of pupils met the expected standard, and in writing a total of 78% of children met the expected standard. The percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard has risen evey year since 2016.
Teacher-assessment results at the end of Year 6
Teacher assessment results at end of Year 6
As well as receiving KS2 SATs results, at the end of Y6 you will be told your child’s teacher-assessment results for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The teacher-assessment result codes you can expect to see are:
- GDS: Working at greater depth within the expected standard (for writing assessment only)
- EXS: Working at the expected standard
- WTS: Working towards the expected standard (for writing assessment only)
- HNM: Has not met the expected standard (reading and maths assessment only)
- PKG: Pre-key stage, growing development of the expected standard (the child is working at a lower level than expected)
- PKF: Pre-key stage, foundations for the expected standard (the child is working at a significantly lower level than expected)
- BLW: The child is working below the pre-key stage standards (the lowest level of attainment)
- A: Awarded if the child was absent
- D: Awarded if the child is disapplied (has not been been tested at KS2 level)