Guide to KS2 SATs Tests

Updated: Feb 24


The scores achieved by children in their KS2 SATs tests at the end of Year 6 will determine the sets they will be placed in Year 7 and their target GCSE grades in Year 11. Therefore, it is essential that students are prepared to achieve the highest grades to set them up for success at secondary school.

What are KS2 SATs?

SATs are compulsory national tests sat by all year 6 children, normally in May, in maths and English. The results measure the children’s end of primary school levels of attainment as well as the performance of schools. KS2 Maths Tests

There are three test papers in maths. Paper 1 tests mental arithmetic skills with questions requiring a correct answer to each question; papers 2 and 3 test mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills. KS2 English Tests

Paper 1 tests knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation (SPAG) with questions requiring short answers such as ‘which word is a noun in this sentence’ or ‘why does this sentence need an apostrophe’. Paper 2 is a 20 word spelling test. Paper 3 is a reading comprehension test; children have to read the passages from a text they are provided and answer a range of questions related to the passage.


KS2 Science

Science SATs are not compulsory. However, a few schools are selected for science SATs which take place after the compulsory maths and English tests in early June for official sampling purposes. You can check with your child’s school if it has been selected.


The New KS2 SATs & Scores Explained

The new KS2 SATs tests, introduced in 2016, have become more difficult and the way they are marked has also changed. Previously, students were awarded levels ranging from 3 (the lowest) to 6 with 4b set as the national standard expected for each subject. Now, they are marked with a score ranging from 80 (the lowest) to 120 with a national standard expected score of 100 for each subject. The new more rigorous tests have seen fewer students achieving the expected standard score of 100 compared to the old KS2 SATs tests’ 4b.


Preparing Your Child for KS2 SATs A 2016 Department for Education study found that year 6 pupils who had failed to achieve the national expected standard KS2 levels were lagging behind throughout secondary school and failed to achieve five GCSE’s at grade C or above including maths and English in Year 11. Furthermore, as class sizes are too large to ensure each child can be prepared to achieve the highest KS2 SATs’ scores, parents must provide extra support to their children by:

  • Encouraging daily reading at home, asking them questions about the story they have read and learning spellings of new words

  • Making them work from KS2 SATs workbooks and websites such as BBC Bitesize

  • Getting tutoring for them through qualified and experienced primary school teachers for accelerated progress, ideally from Years 4 or 5 for maximum scores above 100

To arrange a free KS2 assessment of current levels and progress towards SATs preparation for your child in Years 4, 5 or 6, at our Derby or Burton centres, email info@thetutorcentre.com.

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