This year the Key Stage 2 SATs run from May 13th-16th. With just a couple of weeks left until the tests begin, many parents and children are feeling the pressure - but what are these controversial tests, and what are they for? Here is what you need to know.
What are Key Stage 2 SATs?
Key Stage 2 tests are taken at the end of Year 6, and are used to evaluate each child’s educational progress since Year 2. Assessments are carried out in three core subjects: maths, english and science. Unlike the Year 2 SATs, which are quite informal and usually marked within the school, Key Stage 2 SATs are marked externally.
How are Key Stage 2 SATs marked?
Each child’s test is marked in three ways. Firstly there is a raw score which shows the number of marks achieved on the paper. Secondly the score is weighted to produce what is known as a "scaled score” where the expected benchmark is 100. Thirdly there is confirmation of whether each child has achieved the expected score.
SATs were previously marked in levels, where Level 1 was that of a typical 5 year old, and Level 7 was above average for a typical 14 year old. These levels have been replaced and since 2016 have been reported only in scaled scores. So the "expected standard” nationally is represented by the number 100, and each child receives a score giving a more individualised picture than the previous Levels. A child considered to be above average will receive a score above 100, where a child considered to be below average will receive a score below 100.
Why do children take SATs in Year 6?
SATs were introduced as an indicator of children’s progress throughout their education. Testing at Year 2, Year 6 and Year 9 can show where a child has maintained, improved or declined their educational attainment over time.
SATs are also a record of each individual child’s attainment which can be passed on to their secondary school - though there is no universal standard for how, or even whether, secondary schools use this information.
The results of each school’s Key Stage 2 SATs results are published in national league tables. These tables are used to measure how well a school is performing, as well as by parents choosing a school for their child. League tables do not show detailed information; only the percentage of children achieving the expected standard or above. They don’t take into account how many children in the school have special needs or speak English as a second language, for example.