2018 marks the second year of the new SATs exams for Key Stage 1 and 2 students across the UK. Introduced in 2016, the exams, based on the new National Curriculum, focus on the following subjects: English Grammar and Reading, Mathematics and Science for selected schools.
The exams are designed to provide rigorous and comprehensive testing of students’ understanding of the subjects, coupled with a revised grading system. Here is a break down of the Y6 SATS Exams for the year ahead and what every parent should know to help their children achieve the best results.
The National Curriculum
The UK’s National Curriculum forms the backbone upon which learners in our public schooling system are educated. To ensure British pupils receive a level of education commensurate with that of other leading countries, the government periodically revises its national curriculum to meet international standards and best practices.
To this end, the national curriculum has undergone changes in how subjects are taught as a means to help learners assimilate information better and progress through key stages. Much of the changes to the curriculum involved KS2 subjects. Their importance in learners’ development means the new approach ensures the most comprehensive coverage of key learning areas and the best outcomes for students.
Subjects covered in the KS2 SATs
English Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar: Learners’ reading, comprehension and grammar skills are tested with two papers that focus on text passages used to evaluate ranking, ordering, construction and overall comprehension. Text passages are closely aligned with the learning material students receive throughout the year to ensure they draw on their knowledge when being tested. Paper 1 focuses on questions students are expected to answer directly, while Paper 2 tests their spelling and grammar proficiency.
Mathematics: Consists of three tests learners must complete. These include a paper on Arithmetic and two separate test on Mathematical Reasoning. The Arithmetic test requires learners to provide the correct answers to calculations while papers 2 and 3 require them to answer questions that require more elaborate explanations. This is to ensure mathematical reasoning and comprehension are tested against the complexities of the questions provided.
Science: Testing covers three subjects, namely Biology, Chemistry and Physics. While broad ranging, tests are designed to evaluate learners’ understanding of each subject matter. Questions require students to provide satisfactory explanations of various situations, environments and procedures involved in the fields of science. Note that not all students are required to sit through science tests. Only learners from selected schools are chosen to complete the tests and used as samples to benchmark the country’s performance on these subjects.
The New Grading System
As mentioned, part of the new National Curriculum is the way in which learners are graded throughout their learning paths. With regard to the Y6 Key Stage exams, students receive scaled scores accompanied by their actual marks and an indication of whether they achieved the expected standard set by the Department for Education.
Scaled scores range in the following manner; a score of 80 points indicate the lowest score possible, with a score of 120 being the highest score possible. The standard for each test is set at a minimum of 100, with anything below considered to be less than the expected standard for that give test. The UK’s department for education has set a standard of 65 percent for the overall number of students to reach the expected standard. This is a reduction from the original 85% benchmark previously used.
Year 6 KS2 SAT Exam Dates for 2018
The dates for each exam follows below. Parents and learners should make notes in the diaries for each exam and allow for ample time to prepare for each.
- English Grammar and Spelling Papers 1 and 2: 14 May 14 2018
- English Reading: 15 May 2018
- Mathematics Papers 1 and 2: 16 May 2018
- Mathematics Paper 3: 17 May 2018
Note: Science tests will be administered to selected schools in June of 2018.
Preparing for the exams
Getting ready to test your skills and knowledge against the new SATs requires preparation and good use of the time ahead. Also, having the right resources available will make meeting and exceeding the standards set by the National Curriculum far less challenging. Students and parents are encouraged to use past test papers to measure their children’s progress and address any areas of concern by focussing on certain subjects.
Below follows a list of useful resources you can use to ensure your preparation for the SATs give you the best chance of success and ensure you achieve the highest grades possible. Boost Education would like to take this opportunity to wish all parents, learners and teachers the best for 2018 and hope the year ahead is one of learning, fun and achievement!