National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 2

On 14th December, the DfE released the revised results of the KS2 national curriculum assessments, and a summary of school level results.

Summary of 2017 KS2 national curriculum assessments

  • This year, 61% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics, compared to 53% in 2016, an increase of 8 percentage points.
  • Over half of schools (57%) have attainment proportions of at least the national average.
  • At the higher standard, 9% reached the higher standard in reading, writing and mathematics in 2017, compared to 5% in 2016.
  • In 2017, 65% of girls achieved the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics compared to 57% of boys.
  • There are fewer schools below the floor standard in 2017. 511 schools are below the floor standard (4% of state funded, mainstream schools), compared to 665 school (5%) in 2016.
  • More schools fell within the coasting definition this year – 524 schools (4%) which is a 10 percent increase on 477 schools (3%) defined as coasting in 2016.

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Key Stage 2 SATs results: the national picture

Scaled score conversion tables for key stage 2

The scaled score conversion tables for the 2017 key stage 2 national tests have been published by the DfE.

  • In reading, children need a scaled score of 26 to reach the expected standard (5 more than 2016)
  • In maths, children need a scaled score of 57 to reach the expected standard (3 less than 2016)
  • In GPS, children need a scaled score of 36 to reach the expected standard (7 less than 2016)

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Reflections on the 2017 SATs in KS2

Thanks to Joanna Keelan, Year 6 Teacher at Walton-le-Dale Primary School for the following article

I believe the new style SATs tests are challenging, which all of us in the profession knew when the new curriculum came out in 2014. Little did we know how challenging until SATs in 2016, however, the tests the children sat this year, gave all abilities in that year a chance to show their ability.

It does not stop the pressure the staff in Year 6 feel, when trying to prepare the children for these tests.  We want to give them the best chance of showing a true reflection of their knowledge, and in the time scale we’ve got, for some children it is impossible.  We are lucky enough in our environment, to have two strong TAs placed in year 6 full time, who take children out for interventions in more specific areas.  I truly believe this makes all the difference.

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Department for Education publicly release test materials from this year’s Key Stage 1 national tests

On 6th June 2017 the Department for Education have publicly released the test materials from this year’s Key Stage 1 national tests.  These include test papers and mark schemes for Maths, English reading and English grammar, spelling and punctuation sat by KS1 pupils in May 2017.

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2017 key stage 1 scaled score conversion tables

On 6th June the DfE released the 2017 key stage 1 scaled score conversion tables. The tables show each of the possible raw scores on the 2017 key stage 1 tests. To convert each child’s raw score to a scaled score, you can look up the raw score and read across to the appropriate scaled score. A scaled score of 100 or more shows the pupil has met the expected standard in the test.

What has changed since last year?

  • In reading, the score needed has increased from 22 out of 40 in 2016 to 25 out of 40 this year.
  • In GPS, there has been a slight drop from 25 out of 40 to 24 out of 40.
  • In maths, children are expected to get 36 out of 60, a drop from 37 out of 60 in 2016.

Download the tables here. 

Department for Education publicly release test materials from this year’s Key Stage 2 national tests

On 22nd May 2017 the Department for Education have publicly released the test materials from this year’s Key Stage 2 national tests.  These include test papers and mark schemes for Maths, English reading and English grammar, spelling and punctuation sat by KS2 pupils in May 2017. Continue reading →

Key Stage 2 National Tests 2017: Thoughts and feedback from Deputy Head Michael Tidd

Thanks to Michael Tidd for this article.

Well, that’s that all over with for another year! After all the hard work – of both teachers and students – over the past months and years, the SATs finally came and went. So what did we make of them? It certainly could have been worse!

Reading

Those of us who suffered through the traumas of the Reading test of 2016 were prepared for the worst on Monday, and in most cases were pleasantly surprised. That’s not to say that it was easy, but it did at least feel fair. In 2016 even the first text seemed designed to cause nightmares for us all, and the first few questions didn’t help. For 2017 we were treated to a tolerable, if not gripping, text about a cat in a tree and some multiple choice questions to ease us in.

My one complaint? Dropping a bit of Spanish into a reading test seems a little unfair. If you speak Spanish fluently or not at all, then maybe it’s not so bad, but how many Year 6 children up and down the country spent valuable seconds trying to translate the Spanish based on their rudimentary Key Stage 2 knowledge?

Grammar

On Tuesday morning I was praying to the spelling gods for kind words. And then they gave us ‘coarse’. But first, the grammar to get through. For the second day in a row I found myself using the word “fair”. I tend not to look too closely at what children are writing during tests, because it only upsets me, but with the grammar test, the first answer I doubted when looking over somebody’s shoulder turned out to be correct: I’d not read the question properly! Continue reading →

The benefits of standardised tests

With many thanks to James Pembroke, founder of independent school data consultancy Sig+, for sharing his take on the benefits of standardised tests.

There are a wide spectrum of tests carried out in schools from the regular, mini tests that teachers use as part of their day-to-day practice to check pupils’ understanding, to the statutory end of key stage assessments that we can’t avoid. In between those sit the optional, externally set, standardised tests from third party providers, and it’s those that we are focused on here.

Some schools are opposed to introducing any form of standardised tests fearing that they may deter pupils as well as undermine the value of teacher assessment; others use them sporadically, perhaps not making full use of the data they provide; and then there are those schools that use them every term for all year groups as the main tool for monitoring standards. Clearly there are diametrically opposed viewpoints when it comes to standardised tests with some teachers seeing them as invasive and unnecessary whilst others consider them to be a highly effective tool.

Crucially we want assessment to provide us with useful information that can be acted upon so before implementing any new form of test we need to ask ourselves one vital question: will it tell us anything we don’t already know? With any well designed standardised test, the answer is almost certainly yes – the pros outweigh the cons – and I’ve outlined the numerous benefits below. Continue reading →

Using SATs-style tests with all year groups to support teaching and learning

AssessmentWhat are the benefits of using SATs-style tests with all year groups?

The  national tests (or SATs) for key stage 1 and key stage 2 are rapidly approaching, which makes it timely to consider the benefits of using SATs-style tests with children in all year groups, not just those that will take the tests at the end of Year 2 and Year 6.

Benefits for children

Giving children the opportunity to become familiar with the style of national test questions and the format of the tests, including working to time limits, helps to demystify the test experience. Ultimately, this should give children confidence as they don’t need to worry about what to expect when it comes to time to take the national tests. It will also mean they have experience taking longer tests, which require more stamina than shorter, less formal assessments. The tests also give children an idea of areas where they are doing well and where they need to do more work, especially in topics that have not been taught for a while. As the national tests assess content taught over the entire key stage, revisiting prior learning at points throughout the year is particularly valuable.

Benefits for teachers

A key benefit for teachers of using SATs-style tests in all year groups is that they provide an independent way of assessing learning in relation to the national curriculum. By evaluating the results of the tests, for instance by using the online analysis which accompanies Rising Stars Optional Tests, the teacher can quickly identify areas in which children struggled. Continue reading →