What are SATs?

SATs is the common abbreviation for Standard Assessment Tests which are also referred to as National Curriculum Tests. These tests are used to show how each child is progressing compared with other children. They are taken at the end of School Years 2 & 6.

Key Stage 1

The SATs for Key Stage 1 take place throughout May in Year 2 (at the end of infants’ school). Each child is assessed by a teacher in reading, writing (including spelling and handwriting), maths (including number, shape, space and measurement) and science. The class teacher sets short pieces of work in English and maths to judge each child’s ability.

The level of attainment will be based on the teacher's assessment, taking into account the child’s performance in several tasks and tests. The tasks and tests take up to three hours to complete altogether. Test results are not reported out separately but are used to help the teacher assess the child's overall attainment. By the age of seven, most children are expected to achieve Level 2 (see the Level/age correlation table at the end of this article.)

Key Stage 2

The Key Stage 2 SATs are more formal than the assessments used at Key Stage 1 and consist of a combination of tests and teacher assessments. The tests taken in Year 6 cover the three core subjects, English (reading, writing including handwriting, and spelling), maths and science. These tests are taken on set days in mid-May and are designed to test pupils' knowledge and understanding. Depending on which tests individual children sit, the tests take between four and seven and half hours to complete. The teacher assessment covers English, maths and science and is moderated by the local authority.

This is to make sure teachers make consistent assessments of children's work. Some of the children may be further assessed by teachers to see if they are capable of reaching higher levels. These papers are marked externally with the results being made available before the child leaves Primary School in July. At Key Stage 2, the level of attainment will reflect the teacher’s assessment and the child’s national test results. The national tests are intended to show if each child is working at, above or below, the target level for their age. By age 11, most children are expected to achieve Level 4. A child achieving Level 4, has “done well”, Level 5 signals a “very able” or “gifted” child, whereas Level 3 is regarded as “below average”.

Additionally you may find that Bands 'a', 'b' and 'c' are assigned additional to the Levels 3, 4 or 5. This indicates a range within each level, ‘a’ being the highest and ‘c’ the lowest. SATs results, together with teachers’ assessments, are used to stream children at secondary school so it is important to focus on them.

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