What are the Key Stage 2 SATs and how to revise for them

Are you a parent of a year 6 child? Perhaps your child has mentioned SATs at home to you? Have you been wondering how to support your child as they prepare for their SATs?

What are Key Stage 2 SATs?

At the end of year 6, pupils sit tests in English Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling (GPS); English Reading and Maths. These statutory tests are known as Key Stage 2 SATs (KS2 SATs). These tests are prepared and written by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) and are externally marked by trained markers. Schools receive pupils’ tests results in July and then share them with parents and secondary schools.

KS2 SATs test pupils on all of their Key Stage 2 curriculum – that means learning from years 3, 4, 5 and 6. Even though children complete the tests in year 6, this does not mean that these are year 6 assessments. Instead, KS2 SATs should be seen as a cumulative process that all year groups contribute too – a little like a relay race where year 6 are the last runners with the bats!

What do SATs tests look like?

In 2016, the KS2 SATs were redesigned, and teachers are now familiar with the style and pitch of the tests. Some schools use practice questions and practice tests to help pupils to feel familiar with the layout and design of the tests.

English GPS: The GPS test is made up of two papers. Paper 1 tests grammar and punctuation content domains and the questions increase in difficulty throughout the test (the harder questions are towards the end of the test). The questions are made up of multiple-choice questions; underlining or circling words; inserting punctuation; short answers and longer answers that require pupils to explain. Paper 2 is a spelling test and tests words from the whole KS2 spelling curriculum (from years 3, 4, 5 and 6). Pupils have a test paper that consists of 20 sentences with a missing word in each. Teachers read the 20 sentences aloud and pupils insert the missing word into the sentence.

English Reading: The English Reading test consists of two booklets. One booklet contains the three extracts (there are usually two fiction texts and one non-fiction text) that increase in difficulty. The other booklet contains the questions. Pupils must use both booklets alongside each other – all of the answers to the questions are in the reading extracts. Pupils will complete multiple-choice questions; sequencing questions; vocabulary questions; questions that require evidence from the extracts and others.

Mathematics: Pupils have three separate mathematics tests. The first paper is the Arithmetic paper which consists of fixed response calculations. Paper 2 and Paper 3 are Reasoning papers where pupils are asked multiple-choice questions; true or false questions and some questions that require pupils to explain or justify their answers. The questions increase in difficulty throughout the papers.

What SATs test results information will I receive as a parent?

Before the end of the summer term, you will receive information about your child’s assessments. Some of this information will be based on externally marked tests and some will be purely teacher assessments.

Schools will receive the test results for pupils in July and will share them will you in the summer term.

How are SATs test marks reported and shared?

In July, your child’s school will share their test results with you. Pupils receive a raw score (the score that they got in the test); a scaled score (test scores are converted to scaled scores so that tests can be compared to previous years) and a judgement (whether your child has achieved the expected standard.)

  • A scaled score of 100 or higher means that your child has met or exceeded the national standard.
  • A scaled score of less than 100 means that your child has not met the expected national standard.
  • A scaled score of 110 or higher means that your child has exceeded the national standard.

The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test is 80 (the lowest scaled score) to 120 (the highest scaled score).

Each year, the threshold for the expected standard changes so it is difficult to state what the exact pass marks may be.

What does SATs teacher assessment mean?

Year 6 teachers will also share their teacher assessment judgements for some areas of the curriculum. This is when the teachers use exemplification materials from the DfE to form their judgements in how well your child has achieved by the end of year 6.

As writing is the only area that is not externally assessed, writing is assessed by the teacher throughout the year. The following codes are used for KS2 teacher assessments:

  • GDS: Working at the Greater Depth Standard
  • EXS: Working at the Expected Standard
  • WTS: Working Towards the Expected Standard
  • HNM: Has not Met the Expected Standard
  • PKS: Pre-Key Stage, Growing Development of the Expected Standard (pupils are working at a lower level)
  • PKF: Pre-Key Stage, Foundations for the Expected Standard (pupils are working significantly below the level expected)
  • BLW: Below (pupils who are working below the level expected)
  • A: Absent for the tests
  • D: Disapplied (when pupils have not been tested at the KS2 level)

How can we support our children in preparing for SATs?

English GPS: In Paper 1 pupils are assessed on their knowledge of and understanding of grammatical terminology. Pupils need to know what each word class is and be able to identify how words function in a sentence (for example the word ‘walk’ can function as a verb if the sentence is ‘I walk to school every Monday.’ However, ‘walk’ functions as a noun when the sentence is ‘Do you want to go for a walk?’). The Achieve books will support children to explore word classes and how words function.

In Paper 2 pupils are assessed on spelling. This involves reviewing all of the spelling strings and year group words from year 3 onwards. The Achieve Spelling activities review all KS2 previous learning as well as supporting year 6 spelling strings.

English Reading: Pupils are assessed on their accuracy skills (how accurately they decode and read the words in the reading booklet); their fluency skills (speed that they read and how confident they are) and their comprehension skills (have they understood what they have read?) Reading high-quality fiction; non-fiction and poetry with and to your child will impact on their accuracy and fluency skills. Talking about what has happened and summarising what they have read will impact on their comprehension skills. Completing activities in the Achieve Reading books will ensure your child develops their comprehension skills at the same time as developing test technique.

Mathematics: Paper 1 is the Arithmetic Paper and pupils are assessed on the four operations (division; multiplication; addition; subtraction and mixed operations); number properties; calculating percentages of amounts and calculations of decimals and fractions. Paper 2 and 3 are the Reasoning Papers and they cover a wide range of topics including: number and place value; the four operations; geometry – shape and direction; statistics; measurement; algebra; ratio & proportion and fractions, decimals & percentages. The Achieve books explore and explain a multitude of question types that will support your child to understand what the question is asking them to do as well as calculating the correct responses.

As we all know KS2 SATs only last for one week of your child’s life and it is really important that our children are confident; well-rested and ready in every way to face these tests. If you are looking for a resource that manages test technique and is almost like having a teacher at home to help through step-by-step support… Rising Stars Achieve will do just the job for you!


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