Changes to KS1 SATs in 2016: what parents need to know
In the summer term 2016, children at the end of Key Stage 1 will sit new SATs papers. That means that if your child is in Year 2, they will be among the first pupils to take the new test. 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.
At the end of Year 2, children will take SATs in:
- English grammar, punctuation and spelling
Key Stage 1 reading
The new reading test for Year 2 pupils will involve 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 will 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 will cover a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and will get progressively more difficult towards the end of the test. Teachers will have the option to stop the test at any point that they feel is appropriate for a particular child.
There will be 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’
Key stage 1 grammar, spelling and punctuation
Children taking Key Stage 1 SATs will sit two separate papers in grammar, spelling and punctuation:
- Paper 1: a 20-word spelling test taking approximately 15 minutes and worth 10 marks.
- Paper 2: a grammar, punctuation and vocabulary test, in two sections of around 10 minutes each (with a break between, if necessary), worth 20 marks. This will involve a mixture of selecting the right answers e.g. through multiple choice, and writing short answers.
Key Stage 1 Maths
The new Key Stage 1 maths test will comprise 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 will be 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 will not be able to use any tools such as calculators or number lines.
When will the KS1 SATs take place?
The new-style KS1 SATs are due to be administered in May 2016.
How will the tests be marked?
Although the tests are set externally, they will be marked by teachers within the school. Instead of the old national curriculum levels, children will be given a standardised score – although this may not be communicated to parents. Teacher assessments will also be 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. The Department for Education aims for 85 per cent of children to reach the required standard.
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.
Are there any practice papers for 2016 SATs?
The Department for Education has produced some sample papers (link is external) for teachers, which you can look through to understand what kind of questions will be asked.
You can also check out free past papers from previous years – although the format and content of the new SATs will be different, they will still help to familiarise your child with exam procedure.
TheSchoolRun has commissioned five complete KS1 SATs practice papers for maths and five for English. Available exclusively to subscribers, they are written in the style of the 2016 papers and feature similar question types.
What about the future?
Education secretary Nicky Morgan has confirmed that there will be a new government consultation on SATs in KS1. Currently, the tests are marked by teachers and the results are collated by local authorities, but the consultation will consider gathering results at a national level, which could include external marking and the publication of league tables. No date has yet been announced for the consultation or its report, but Nicky Morgan says, 'To be really confident that children are progressing well through primary school, we will be looking at the assessment of pupils age seven to make sure it is as robust and rigorous as it needs to be.'