The 2019 Key Stage 2 SATs results have been published. For mathematics, the percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard is the highest yet at 79%. This is up by 4 percentage points from 2018, but an increase of 5 percentage points from 2016.
This is undoubtedly a positive improvement. However, it is worth noting that the number of marks needed to achieve a scaled score of 100 (i.e. the expected standard) in 2019 was less than last year, with pupils only having to achieve 58 marks out of 110 marks compared with 61 marks out of 110 marks. Therefore, pupils needed to get just over half the paper correct (52%) to be awarded expected standard in 2019. Thankfully though, not all pupils are just scraping through with just over 52%. The Department For Education (National Statistics) KS2 2019 Assessment paper states that the average scaled score for maths is 105. This means pupils are scoring between 78 – 81 marks out of 110 marks, which equates to achieving 70 – 71% of the paper.
The percentage of pupils achieving higher standard in maths has also risen 3% to 27%. Again, the number of marks needed to achieve the higher standard slightly fell this year with pupils needing to score 95 marks out of 110 marks rather than 96 marks and above in 2018.
Girls continue to outperform boys at the expected standard across all test subjects. In maths, the difference at expected standard is marginal, with 78% of boys achieving the expected standard compared with 79% of girls. However, at the higher standard, maths is the only subject in which boys outperform girls, with 29% compared with 24%, respectively. Improving girls’ confidence and risk-taking with maths remains a national issue as there is a significant 5% difference between boys and girls at the higher standard.
Overall it is reassuring and pleasing to see another strong set of maths results, but also to see maths (79% of pupils achieving expected standard) faring well against reading (73%) and writing (78%).
From speaking with senior leaders and teachers in schools, it is clear that 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 to improve maths standards across the country. Although there is always further work to be done to build on current outcomes, it is important to reflect on current successes and congratulate all involved – well done!
Sarah-Anne Fernandes, MD of SolveMaths Ltd and established mathematics author.
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