KS1 and KS2 SATs
In the summer term 2016, children at the end of Key Stage 1 were the first to sit new SATs papers. SATs have been overhauled in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 to reflect the changes to the national curriculum, which was introduced from September 2014.
KS1 SATs Overview
At the end of Year 2, children take SATs in:
- English grammar, punctuation and spelling (optional paper, schools can decide whether to use it)
On 14 September 2017 it was confirmed that the KS1 SATs will be made non-statutory (so schools will be able to choose whether to adminster them or not) from 2023. Until then children will continue to be assessed in May during Year 2.
The new reading test for Year 2 pupils is made up of two separate papers:
- Paper 1 consists of a selection of texts totalling 400 to 700 words, with questions interspersed
- Paper 2 comprises a reading booklet of a selection of passages totalling 800 to 1100 words. Children will write their answers in a separate booklet
Each paper is worth 50 per cent of the marks, and should take around 30 minutes, but children are not be strictly timed, as the tests are not intended to assess children’s ability to work at speed. The texts in the reading papers cover a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and get progressively more difficult towards the end of the test. Teachers have the option to stop the test at any point that they feel is appropriate for a particular child.
There are a variety of question types:
- Multiple choice
- Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show in which order they happened in the story’
- Matching, e.g. ‘Match the character to the job that they do in the story’
- Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title’
- Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that shows what the weather was like in the story’
- Short answer, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
- Open-ended answer, e.g. ‘Why did Lucy write the letter to her grandmother? Give two reasons’
The new Key Stage 1 maths test is made up of two papers:
- Paper 1: arithmetic, worth 25 marks and taking around 15 minutes.
- Paper 2: mathematical fluency, problem-solving and reasoning, worth 35 marks and taking 35 minutes, with a break if necessary. There are a variety of question types: multiple choice, matching, true/false, constrained (e.g. completing a chart or table; drawing a shape) and less constrained (e.g. where children have to show or explain their method).
Children are not allowed to use any tools such as calculators or number lines.
The KS1 SATs are due to be administered in May 2023.
Unlike KS2 SATs, KS1 SATs don't have to be administered according to a nationally-set timetable in a specific week. Schools are free to manage the timetable and will aim to administer the tests in the classroom in a low-stress, low-key way; some children won't even be aware they've taken them!
How will the tests be marked?
Although the tests are set externally, they are marked by teachers within the school.
Children are given a scaled score. Their raw score – the actual number of marks they get – is translated into a scaled score, where a score of 100 means the child is working at the expected standard.
A score below 100 indicates that the child needs more support, whereas a score of above 100 suggests the child is working at a higher level than expected for their age. The maximum score possible is 115, and the minimum is 85.
Teacher assessments are also used to build up a picture of your child’s learning and achievements. In addition, your child will receive an overall result saying whether they have achieved the required standard in the tests (your child's actual results won't be communicated to you unless you ask for them).
Other KS1 Subjects
Other national curriculum subjects, including English writing, speaking and listening, science and computing, will be assessed by your child's teacher based on their work throughout the year.
KS2 SATs Overview
The new Year 4 multiplication tables check is due to be taken during the three-week period from 7th June 2021.
In the summer term of 2016, children in Year 2 and Year 6 were the first to take the new SATs papers. The new-style SATs for English and maths reflect the new national curriculum, and are more rigorous than previous years' tests. There is also a completely new SATs marking scheme and grading system which has replaced national curriculum levels.
At the end of Year 6, children sit tests in:
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar
These tests are both set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables). Your child’s marks will be used in conjunction with teacher assessment to give a broader picture of their attainment.
KS2 Reading test
The reading test is a single paper with questions based on three passages of text. Your child will have one hour, including reading time, to complete the test.
There will be a selection of question types, including:
- Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show the order in which they happen in the story’
- Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title of the story’
- Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that suggests what the weather is like in the story’
- Short constructed response, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
- Open-ended response, e.g. ‘Look at the sentence that begins Once upon a time. How does the writer increase the tension throughout this paragraph? Explain fully, referring to the text in your answer.’
In 2018 the Department for Education announced that the reading content of the KS2 SATs will be more closely linked to the curriculum in future to ensure children are drawing on their knowledge when answering reading comprehension questions.
KS2 grammar, punctuation and spelling test
The grammar, punctuation and spelling test consists of two parts: a grammar and punctuation paper requiring short answers, lasting 45 minutes, and an aural spelling test of 20 words, lasting around 15 minutes.
The grammar and punctuation test will include two sub-types of questions:
- Selected response, e.g. ‘Identify the adjectives in the sentence below’
- Constructed response, e.g. ‘Correct/complete/rewrite the sentence below,’ or, ‘The sentence below has an apostrophe missing. Explain why it needs an apostrophe.’
KS2 Maths test
Children sit three papers in maths:
- Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes
- Papers 2 and 3: reasoning, 40 minutes per paper
Paper 1 will consist of fixed response questions, where children have to give the correct answer to calculations, including long multiplication and division. Papers 2 and 3 will involve a number of question types, including:
- Multiple choice
- True or false
- Constrained questions, e.g. giving the answer to a calculation, drawing a shape or completing a table or chart
- Less constrained questions, where children will have to explain their approach for solving a problem
Not all children in Year 6 will take science SATs. In selected years a number of schools (approximately 1900) are required to take part in science sampling: a test administered to a selected sample of children thought to be representative of the population as a whole.
For those who are selected, there will be three papers:
- Biology: 25 minutes, 22 marks
- Chemistry: 25 minutes, 22 marks
- Physics: 25 minutes, 22 marks
Each paper will take a maximum of 25 minutes to complete.
It sounds very intimidating, but these are ‘questions in a physics/chemistry/biology context’, for example:
Biology: ‘Describe the differences in the life cycle of an amphibian and a mammal’
Chemistry: ‘Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas’
Physics: ‘Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on where the poles are facing’
The 2021 KS2 tests will be taken during the second week of May: 10 May to 13 May. There are no details yet on which test is scheduled for each day.
The timetable is likely to follow previous years' timetables:
English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: questions
English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: spelling
Mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic
Mathematics Paper 2: reasoning
Mathematics Paper 3: reasoning
How will KS2 SATs be marked?
The previous national curriculum levels have been scrapped, and instead, children are given scaled scores.
The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test is:
- 80 (the lowest scaled score that can be awarded)
- 120 (the highest scaled score)
The expected standard for each test is a scaled score of 100 or more. If a child is awarded a scaled score of 99 or less they won't have achieved the expected standard in the test.
The Department for Education expects at least 65 per cent of children to reach the expected standard (the figure was initially 85 per cent but has been revised).