Everything you need to know about SATs

SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) – they have proved a controversial testing system over recent years and the decision to scrap the SATs for Key Stage 1 students was widely welcomed.   The changes however, will not come into effect until 2023.  For Primary teachers looking to teach in the UK it is still necessary to have a good understanding of what is entailed.

What are SATs?

SATs are a series of tests taken in Key Stage 1 (at the age of 7) and Key Stage 2 (Year 6 at the age of 11).  They are designed to show the level that a child is working to in comparison to the national average.

What tests are taken?

At Key Stage 1 (KS1) students are tested in Maths and English.  For English this includes reading, punctuation, spelling and grammar.  For these tests the classroom teacher marks the majority of work with some moderation completed by the local authority.

At Key Stage 2 (KS2) a Maths and English test is once again completed but the tests are not marked by the classroom teacher, these are all sent to an external moderator.

A science test is also completed at some schools at both KS1 and KS2 levels.

When do SATs take place & when are results received?

SATs take place every year in May.  The Key Stage 1 SATs currently do not take place according to a nationally set timetable however this is due to change in 2018.  The Key Stage 2 SATs dates are set nationally and normally take place over a week long period.

SAT results are received and released by each school normally by the end of July.

How are SATs results marked?

Previously SAT results were based upon a level and you received a level from 1-6. For KS1 students national average was a Level 2 and for KS2 students the average was a Level 4.  These are then divided into a sub level:

A – students are working at the higher end of the level

B – students are working at that level

C – students are working at the lower end of the level

New Scoring System – KS1

The old levelling system was changed in 2016 and now KS1 students are awarded a score which indicates whether they are working to the expected level:

Above 100 – students are working at a higher level than the expected level

100 – students are working at the level expected of them

Below 100 – students require more support

New Scoring System – KS2

It is up to each school to decide how to provide results to students but in general two methods are used – a letter code and a scaled scoring system.  The main letter codes assigned are:

AS – the standards expected have been met

NS – the standards expected have not been met

Alternatively (or additionally) a scaled score may be provided where 100 or above indicates the standards have been met and less than 100 indicates they have not (same as KS1 scoring).

What happens with the results?

The results will be used by secondary schools to help assign students to the correct classes when they arrive.  This ensures the student receives the right amount of support needed.

If you need more information on SATs then don’t worry – there are a number of useful websites out there!  For more information on teaching in the UK see our other blogs in the series.

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