Have you been hearing a lot about the SATs exams recently? May is time for the annual end of key stage assessments, otherwise known as Standardised Attainment Tests, or SATs, across many schools in the UK. They affect pupils in Years 2 and 6 and will involve written tests in English and Maths. Some schools will also assess pupils for grammar, punctuation and spelling. SATs are a tool to help teachers measure the performance of their pupils and identify their needs as they move on to the next stage. They are also a useful way to monitor the efficacy of the teaching your child has been receiving.
What to expect
In Year 6, children will be examined on their reading skills by having text to read and answer questions about. There may be an extra paper with questions about spelling, grammar, and punctuation as well, however, there is no test of their written English. For Maths, there will be written questions around arithmetic and mathematical reasoning. Schools should aim to keep the pupils calm about SATs, whilst also ensuring the student is fully aware of the need to revise for the upcoming exams.
When will the tests take place?
Year 6 SATs will normally be taken during the week commencing 14th May. If a child is absent, e.g. through illness, they can take the tests up to five school days afterwards. Results will be available by the end of the summer term and will be shared with any secondary schools that the children are moving to, to help inform their ongoing education. Teachers will also generally provide feedback on pupils’ performance in English reading, maths and science.
How do I know whether my child has passed their SATs or not?
SATs cannot be passed or failed; each candidate receives a level between 3 and 5 to show whether they are below, at or above the nationally expected level for a pupil at their educational stage. Schools can also add a letter (a to c) to show whether the result is low, secure or high in the given level.
What if my child needs extra help?
If your child has an EHCP, SEN or any other needs, medical or otherwise, that you think will affect their performance in the SATs, you should let their school know as soon as possible. Adjustments can be made, such as extra time, providing someone to read the questions to your child or to scribe their answers or arranging to take the tests elsewhere, such as in the hospital.
How should I help my child prepare?
The SATs should never become a cause for anxiety and you should reassure your child that if they try hard to do their best, that is all you can ask of them. Your child will doubtless be doing a great deal of preparation work at school, however, if you would like to help them at home, there are Key Stage 2 workbooks and resources available online and in stores. Do lots of revision with them and encourage them to read alone as much as possible. Getting tutoring for your child also helps to boost confidence, familiarise your child with the assessment process and highlight any weaker areas which can then be developed.
Make sure that they still have plenty of time to have fun with their friends and enjoy their hobbies. Watch that they are eating and drinking enough as well as getting plenty of sleep, to help them remain healthy and alert! This is especially important during SATs week – ensure they have an early night each night and a good breakfast each morning to keep their energy levels up.
For additional information on Year 6 SATs exam, head over to the official government website.