SATs and Assessments in Primary School

During each educational stage of your child's journey through primary school, they will be assessed and/or tested by their teacher or key worker.

How is my child assessed ?

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During each educational stage of your childs journey through primary school, they will be assessed and/or tested by their teacher or key worker. These assessments are in place to track the educational progess of your child.

What are the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Assessments?

There are no formal tests during the foundation stage.

When your child first starts reception class, their teacher carries out a baseline assessment, to find out about your child's learning needs. It's not a formal test. It's often done simply by doing some regular classroom activity with your child, such as looking at a book with them, so they won't even be aware they're being assessed. It's not something you or your child should worry about.

All the progress that your child makes during the foundation stage in Pre School/ Nursery and Reception class at school is noted down and recorded in a booklet called the 'Early Years Foundation Stage Profile' (FSP). This is the new national assessment scheme. It helps teachers make good use of observations of each child and summarise their achievements at the end of the Foundation Stage when they are ready to move on to Year 1.

What are the Key Stage 1 Assessments?

There are two distinct assessments for children during Key Stage 1. In June of Year 1, a national phonics screening check. At the end of Year 2, a set of tasks, tests and assessments to see if your child has reached the end of key stage expectations.

Phonics Screening Check

The test is a statutory test, meaning all Year One pupils, in all schools, must be tested. The test involves the child sitting with their teacher (or another qualified teacher familiar to them) and reading 40 words, some of which are real words and some are nonsense. The test checks their ability to ‘decode’ words (break words down into the sounds that make them up and say the word), which is why there are nonsense words, so that the children have to decode the words to be able to read them and not simply recognise or remember them. Teachers have strict guidelines on how to complete the test to ensure that no undue pressure is placed on the child, the children are not told if they get words correct or wrong, equally they are not told if they meet the expected grade, they simply see teachers write a ‘tick’ for each and every word.

This test is not an indicator on how well the children read, simply how well they can decode words, therefore there may be some children who read at, or above, the expected standard that do not pass this test. The pass mark for this test was 32 out of 40, a very high mark that in the pilot study only 30% of children managed to pass. We would like to remind all parents that not meeting the ‘expected grade’ in this test does not mean that your child is a failure and should not mean the same to you.

End of Key Stage 1 Assessment

Teacher assessment is the main focus for end of key stage 1 assessment and reporting. However the key stage 1 tasks and tests are statutory requirements for maintained schools and academies.

Your child will have to undergo a series of tests and assessments in the following areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing (including handwriting and spelling)
  • Maths

The tasks and tests can be taken at a time the school chooses. They last for less than three hours altogether.

The statutory key stage 1 tasks and tests in reading, writing and mathematics are designed to test children's knowledge and understanding of the associated programmes of study. They provide a snapshot of a child’s attainment and help inform the final teacher assessment judgement reported for each child at the end of key stage 1.

They are designed to give you and your child's school information about how your child is doing. Your child’s results are measured against the National Curriculum Levels. These will be given to you in a report from the school. The results of the tests and the teachers’ assessment may be different, and so it’s important to look at both to get an all-round view of your child’s progress. For example, a teacher may feel your child is doing better in a subject as a whole than in the parts of the subject covered by a test.

The results are not reported separately but are used to help the teacher assess your child's work. By the age of seven, most children are expected to achieve level 2. When levels are phased out in 2016 they will have deemed to have reached the end of key stage expectation.


Key Stage 2 Assessments

The key stage 2 national curriculum tests are designed to test children's knowledge and understanding of specific elements of the key stage 2 programmes of study. They provide a snapshot of a child’s attainment at the end of the key stage. English and mathematics tests are taken at the end of year 6, usually when children are 11-years-old. Level 6 tests form part of the suite of key stage 2 national curriculum tests. These are are optional and are aimed at high attaining children.

Key Stage 2 tests for 11 year olds cover:
  • English - reading, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Maths - including mental arithmetic

At the end of key stage 2, teachers assess children's attainment in English, mathematics and science. These teacher assessment judgements are reported to the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) as well as to parents.

These tests are taken on set days in mid-May, and last less than five-and-a-half hours altogether. Your eleven year olds’ teacher will also assess them in following areas:

What is in the Key Stage 2 SAT's Test?

KS2 Reading (1 Hour)

For the SATs Reading Test, children will be given a reading booklet and an answer booklet. Children are given 15 minutes to read the booklet, followed by 45 minutes to answer the questions. There are two types of questions – short, closed questions (multiple choice, short answers) and longer, open-ended questions (requiring children to explain, give reasons or comment on the text to show their understanding)

KS2 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (1 hour)
This test is split into two components:
  • - Grammar, punctuation and vocabulary
  • - Spelling
Grammar, punctuation and vocabulary (45 minutes)

Children will be given a question booklet to write their answers in. They will need to circle, tick, line or write a short answer. Some questions will ask the child to write a full sentence. The questions start off easy and move onto more difficult questions towards the end of the booklet. The questions will test children's understanding of grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, and their ability to use them in the right way.

Spelling (15 minutes)

Children will be given a booklet to write their answers in. The teacher will read out 20 short sentences, the children will fill in the missing gaps with the word read out by the teacher.

KS2 Mental Maths (20 minutes)

Children will be given an answer sheet to write their answers on. The children will be played a tape with the questions on. After each question has been read out twice, the children will be given a limited time to work out and write the answer before the next question is read out.

KS2 Maths Paper A (45 minutes)

Children will be given a question booklet. The questions will cover all of the areas of maths taught in Primary School, including place value, the four operations, area, symmetry etc. Some of the questions encourage children to show their working out.

KS2 Maths Paper B (45 minutes)

Children will be given a question booklet, but will be allowed to use a calculator to work out their answers.

By the age of 11, most children are expected to achieve level 4. The teachers’ assessment is moderated by your local authority. This is to make sure teachers make consistent assessments of children's work.

At the end of each key stage (excluding the Foundation Stage), you will get a report from the school telling you:
  • the teacher assessment levels your child has achieved
  • the results for all the children in your child's age group in the school
  • the national results for the previous year
  • the results of your child's tests ( Key Stages 2 only)
For more information and past papers:
English SATs Centre
Maths SATs Centre