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The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, your child’s teacher will formally assess their performance to measure your child’s progress.
Towards the end of Key Stage 1, Children in Year 2 take the KS1 SATs, the children are assessed between the beginning of January and 4 weeks before the end of the summer term. Tasks and Tests may be administered at any time during the assessment period. Reported results will reflect children’s everyday achievements and not just results obtained in a ‘one-off’ test.
Key stage 1 tasks and tests cover:
The tasks and tests are taken when the school chooses. Your child’s teacher will use the child’s work (including spoken work and homework) to work out what level your child is at in each area. The results are reflected in an overall grades which will be usually be 1, 2C, 2B, 2A, or 3. The grading system is used to measure how your child is doing compared to the national average.
Key stage 2
Key stage 2 tests cover:
The tests are taken in mid-May and last under 5 hours 30 minutes in total. You’ll get the results in July. If your child is demonstrating higher achievement then the headteacher may put them in for extra tests. When your child reaches the end of key stage 2 the teacher will also report on your child’s progress in English, maths and science.
How can I help my child?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is teacher assessment?
When children are 7, 11 and 14, teachers make formal National Curriculum assessments of their work in some subjects. This is called teacher assessment.
Of course, teachers also assess children’s work informally almost every time they teach a class. For example, they mark sums, listen to children reading, or watch how they do scientific experiments. Knowing how children are doing in class helps teachers plan what the children should learn next.
Why are there tests as well as teacher assessment?
Tests and teacher assessment measure your child’s achievement in different ways.
Tests measure what all children can do when they are set the same questions. They also help teachers identify strengths and weaknesses in children’s understanding.
Teacher assessment judges your child’s performance across the whole subject over time.
At the end of Key Stage One the tests help inform and justify the teacher assessments alongside other evidence, such as the understanding shown by pupils in their classwork. Only teacher assessments are reported at the end of Year Two.
Are the tests stressful for children?
The tests can be given to children at any time during the year and they shouldn’t be particularly aware of what they’re used for or their significance – we try to keep things very low key. The tests only cover what children have been learning at school. Everybody involved in the tests takes great care to make sure that they are not stressful and are as fair as possible to all children.
Do we talk to the children about it?
The children are aware of the ‘activity booklets’ but we don’t emphasise that they are SATs or that they should be worried. We say to the children that they should see them as a chance to show off what they have learnt so far this year. It is important that they don’t worry about it or are placed under any stress.
What support will my child get?
This varies according to the individual child’s needs. In level 1 tasks, the children will work in small groups or as individuals completing reading and maths activities. During the level 2 and 3 maths tasks the children can have every question read out to them and often the tasks are implemented in small groups with the teacher reading out each question. In level 2 and 3 literacy tasks, no reading support is given to allow the children to produce independent work but encouragement throughout.
When will they take place?
Usually during the months of May or June, however the school can elect to undertake these anytime from January onwards.
How long do the SATs papers take?
None of the tests have a time limit but if a child is taking a long time to complete it then the teacher uses their judgement when to stop their test. Quite often however, the children will have a break halfway through the test to get some exercise and fresh air!
What do National Curriculum levels mean?
At the end of the year you will get a report with a level for reading, writing, speaking and listening, mathematics and science. The grades usually given for reading, writing and maths are Level 1 – Level 2C – Level 2B – Level 2A – Level 3. For the other subjects, a Level 1, 2 or 3 is given. The target standard is a 2B. A 2A is above expectations and a level 3 means your child is doing even better. Remember that for some children, a level 1 in year 2 might still be a fantastic achievement.
What are the SATs used for?
Results are passed up to the year 3 teachers but when they begin in September most teachers will carry out their own, fresh assessments (partly because children’s levels can go up or down over the summer holidays). The end of Year 2 levels are however used to create your child’s targets to reach in year 6. These will normally be at least two full levels higher than their year 2 scores. So, if they achieved level 2b at year 2, they would be expected to attain a level 4b or more by the end of Year 6. This is subject to change as the new National Curriculum will be used across the school from September 2015.