Everything you need to know about SATs (UK)

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If you have a child at primary school in England, you’re probably aware of SATs.
We’ll look at the exams at each level and provide advice on the best way to prepare for them.

What are SATs?

SATS stand for Standard Assessment Tests.
SATS are administered by primary schools that measure children’s educational achievement in years 2 and 6,
with the ultimate aim of holding schools to account for the attainment of their pupils and the progress they make.
Key Stage 1 SATS will be sat by Year 2 pupils and Key Stage 2 SATs will be sat by Year 6 pupils.
The setting and marking of SATs are carried out in UK schools by the Standards & Testing Agency.

Standards & Testing

KS1 SATs in Year 2

Children will sit their KS1 SATs in:

  • Reading
  • Maths
They will also be assessed by their teacher on science, writing, and speaking and listening.
This however is known as the teacher assessment, and it is not an official score for the SATs or national assessments.

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KS2 SATs in Year 6

Children will sit their KS2 SATs in:

  • English Reading
  • English Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Maths
In Year 6, SATs are a more formal process of testing.
They will also be assessed by their teachers on subjects including speaking and listening, writing and, in some cases, science.

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What do SATs Aim to Achieve?

SATs are an indicator of the progress your child has made at school so far.
They are not a measure of whether your child is passing or failing; they simply show what level your child is currently working to.

How are SATS marked?

Scores are given on a scale of 80 to 120 - with a score of 100 or more meaning a pupil is meeting the expected governmental standard
Key stage 1 SATS are marked by teachers within the school; key stage 2 SATS are sent away to be marked externally.

Are SATS results used by secondary schools?

Secondary schools are told their incoming pupils’ scaled scores.
Many secondary schools use these to help with setting and streaming, as well as working out how to best teach their new cohort of year 7s.
But secondary schools are mindful that SATS only measure ability in English and Maths (and only certain fragments of those subjects)
and consequently most do their own tests on year 7s too.

SATS – do parents get the results?

For KS 1, you probably won’t get your child’s actual SATS score unless you ask for them, but you will be told whether your child is working at
the expected standard as part of their end of year report.
For KS 2, parents get their child’s scaled score towards the end of the summer term in July and are told whether or not they reached the expected level.
You will receive a report stating your child’s:

  • Raw score – simply, the actual number of marks they received in their SATs
  • Scaled score – a conversion score that allows results to be compared year-on-year
  • Expected standard – whether or not they have achieved the national standard
The results of Key stage 2 SATS are also published annually in the Department of Education’s primary school league tables,
where an online facility enables users to compare schools against other schools, as well as against the national average.
KS2 SATS are also used to calculate a school's Progress 8 score.

National Curriculum Spelling List

Can you fail your SATS?

The government says SATS are not about passing or failing, but instead show the level your child is working to.
Critics say that not reaching the expected level equates to failure in many parents’ (and children’s) minds.
In 2017, almost 40% of primary school pupils did not meet the government's expected standard in KS 2 SATS.

SATS Practice Exam Papers

How Can I Help My Child Prepare for SATs?

A lot of the skills that students need to do well in the test are taught in the classroom, but you can also do additional preparation at home to
make your child feel confident going into the exam, including:

  • Agreeing on a revision plan and ensuring your child sticks to it.
  • Revising little and often – asking children to concentrate for 45 minutes requires practice, so don’t overwhelm them. Take a look at our revision tips for more practical advice.
  • Take SATs practice papers. Practice papers will go a long way in helping to familiarise your child with the types of questions they might come across.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Yes, SATs are important but if you stress out about your child’s upcoming tests, it might rub off on them.

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