2018 SATs results - subject expert analysis

2018 SATs results - Mathematics 

The 2018 Key Stage 2 SATs results have been published. For mathematics, the percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard is the highest yet at 76%. This is up by 1 percentage point from 2017 but over three SATs assessments this is an increase of 6 percentage points from 2016.

This is a very positive improvement given also that the number of marks needed to achieve a scaled score of 100 has increased to 61 marks out of 110 marks. This is a 4 mark increase compared to 2017, where the raw score needed to achieve expected standard was 57 marks out of 110 marks.

  2018 results
Raw score
2017 results
Raw score
Expected Standard
Scaled score 100-109
61-95 marks 57-94 marks
Above Expected Standard
Scaled score 110-120 
96-110 marks 95-110 marks

To achieve above expected standard, there is a very slight increase with pupils having to score 96 marks this year compared with 95 marks in 2017.

As this Year 6 cohort are the first pupils to have had the complete 2014 KS2 curriculum taught to them, it is very reassuring and pleasing to see a strong set of maths results. Schools have been working hard since the introduction of the new 2014 Maths Programme of Study to develop fluency in number, secure understanding of fractions and promote problem solving and reasoning. The investment has certainly paid off - well done to you all! 

Sarah-Anne Fernandes, MD of SolveMaths Ltd and established mathematics author. 


2018 SATs results - Reading and Grammar

We asked Shareen Mayers to share her thoughts on the 2018 grammar and reading results released this week.

Raw scores at a glance…

Subject Raw score on the test
Raw score on the test
Raw score on the test
Scaled score (expected standard)
Reading 28 26 21 100 +
38 36 43 100 +
National attainment at a glance…
Subject 2018 expected standard (provisional data) 2017 expected standard 2016 expected standard 2015 level 4
(for comparison)
Reading 75% 71% 66% 89%
Grammar 78% 77% 72% 80%

From discussions with year 6 teachers and headteachers across the country, the KS2 reading test was far more accessible and fair this year. Many schools reported that their pupils were able to finish the reading paper and were also able to access the 3-mark questions. Indeed, many teachers were shocked by the difficulty of the tests in 2016 and many schools have had reading as a focus for the past two years. This has resulted in a 7 mark increase over the past two years in the raw score needed to reach the expected standard (from 21 marks in 2016 to 28 marks in 2018). For years, the threshold (as it used to be called) only really fluctuated by 1 or 2 marks so this increase is unprecedented.
Similarly, the very low and unexpected 66% of pupils reaching the expected standard in 2016 has increased quite significantly by 9% and intimates that schools are really focused on teaching explicit reading skills. The style and the complexity of the test is also more familiar to schools.


Interestingly, the grammar test has had an opposite experience to the reading test, with the raw score decreasing from 43 marks in 2016 to 38 marks in 2018. Most schools reported that the 2018 test was fair and that their pupils were able to access the test but I am suspecting that some of the more challenging, ‘Explain how you know,’ type questions were a little more challenging this year for pupils. Although many pupils finished the paper, there were still some tricky questions that did not appear to be difficult, e.g. circling the verbs or explaining the use of the apostrophe.


Congratulations to all the pupils and teachers who have worked so hard this year!
Shareen Mayers (@ShareenMayers)

Independent English/assessment adviser and KS1 and KS2 moderation manager for a London LA.

Shareen is the author of the Rising Stars KS2 Spelling Test books as well as many other educational books for teachers and pupils. Additionally, Shareen will be co-authoring the new Rising Stars Achieve Reading Revision and Practice books. Look out for her detailed analysis of the 2018 grammar test when the 2018 implications for teaching documents are published later this year.



Need a little support?

Learn exactly what is required for your pupils to exceed the expected standard in the 2019 SATs, with expert analysis of the 2018 National Test papers, and receive detailed guidance on the implications for teaching across your school by attending our Feedback from the SATs 2018: Implications for Teaching and Learning 2018/19 Masterclass​. Book your place today.

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