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Standard Assessment Tests

SATs are national curriculum tests that measure children’s academic development. SATs are authored and distributed to schools by the STA (Standards and testing agency).

For more information and free downloadable previous practice SATs papers go to

When do SATs take place?

SATs take place in primary schools across England every year.

Children take their SATs in Year 2 (at the end of Key Stage 1) and Year 6 (at the end of Key Stage 2).

Key Stage 1 SATs Tests

Key Stage 1 SATs take place in May when children are inYear 2of primary school (aged between 6-7 years old). They test children’s skills in maths and English reading (plus an optional test in grammar, punctuation and spelling). There is also a teacher assessment in writing. They are informal national curriculum tests. They are not strictly timed, they take place in a normal classroom setting and they are marked by a child’s teacher.

Key Stage 2 SATs Tests
Key Stage 2 SATs take place in May when children are in Year 6 of primary school (aged between 10-11 years old). They test children’s skills in maths, English reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling. There are also teacher assessments in writing and science. KS2 SATs are much more formal than KS1 SATs. These national curriculum tests are formally timed, there’s a nation-wide exam timetable and the exams are sent off to be marked externally.

How are SATs marked?

KS1 SATs are marked by a child’s teacher and KS2 SATs are marked by external examiners.

SATs tests are marked and a child’s exam mark (e.g. 25/36 or 42/60) is called their ‘raw score’. This raw score is then converted to a ‘scaled score’ using a scaled score conversion chart.

Raw Scores? Scaled Scores?
A child’s raw score (or raw marks) is simply the total number of marks that pupil has scored on a test.

By using a conversion chart, the child’s raw scores are transformed into age standardised test scores or simply ‘scaled scores’.

Broadly speaking, scaled scores give a much easier indication of how a pupil is performing relative to the national sample of pupils of the same age group. The average score is always 100, hence a higher score is above average and a lower score is below average.

For SATs, scaled scores range between 80 and 120.

If a child’s scaled score is:

below 100, they have not reached the expected standard.

between 100 and 109, they have reached the expected standard.

110 or over, they have exceeded the expected standard and are judged as working at greater depth.

What is the purpose of SATs?

SATs measure children’s academic ability at a particular point in time against the expectations set out in the national curriculum.

Hence, SATs are very useful as they allow teachers to measure an individual child’s attainment and progress over time (between Year 2 and Year 6).

When individual results are grouped together across an entire school, city or region, SATs results allow local authorities and the government to make important comparisons.

Making easy comparisons helps the Department for Education (DfE) ensure that schools can be held to account for the attainment of their students and the progress they make.

Should I help prepare my child prepare?

Yes! SATs are likely your child’s first experience of a test and it’s important that they have a good experience.

If parents think their children could suffer a little exam-related anxiety, it only seems a good idea to help them through it, right?!

Providing a positive learning and test environment at home seems far more constructive attitude than ignoring any stress or weaknesses and hoping the tests get cancelled.

It needn’t take much time either, just a little bit of home learning here and there can work wonders for their schoolwork while tackling stress and boosting confidence. We would firmly recommend using past SATs papers or SATs practice papers.

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