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What are SATs exams?

What are SATs exams? If you have a child then you need to know what they are, how many exams they will take, what they test for, and what this means if you wish your child to attend a boarding school or academy. Below we answer all these questions.

What are SATs?

SATs stands for Standard Assessment Tests. and children will take these tests twice during their time in primary school. These tests always take place in May. The first SATs tests happen in the second year of primary school during Key Stage 2, so in Year 2. A child will then take further SATs tests in year 6, the last year of primary school.

These tests in Year 2 are usually carried out in the classroom in an informal setting. Children are not given a set time to complete the tests in Year 2 but do have a set time of 45 minutes per paper in Year 6. The class teacher will be responsible for setting the tests which are then sent away for marking.

What do they test?

Children sit SATs exams in English and Maths. During the English SATs a child is tested on their writing, reading, handwriting and spelling. During their Maths SATs a child will be tested on shape, number, measurement and skills and knowledge.

The results will show what level the child is learning at and if it is below or above the average standard. It is important to know that a child does not pass or fail a SATs test.

How many SATs exams do students sit?

So, as already stated a child will sit SATs in Year 2 and Year 6.

Year 2 SATs are fairly informal with a child having to sit two test papers in the classroom. These papers are on maths and reading. Additional assessments will also be carried out by the teacher on the subjects of listening, speaking, science and writing. These assessments will help to guide learning as the child progresses into Year 3 and the next Key Stage in learning.

A child taking Year 6 SATs exams will sit six papers. These usually take place over the course of a week and are more formal than Year 2 SATs. Each paper usually takes around 45 minutes. Children will sit papers on English grammar, English reading, spelling, punctuation and maths. As in Year 2, the teacher will also carry out their own assessments in listening, speaking, science and writing.

How do SATs results affect your choice of educational establishment?

Parents will receive their child's Year 6 SATs results in July. This is usually when they also receive their end of year report. The results will state if they have reached or exceeded the national standard in that subject. So, once you have received the SATs results, does this have an impact upon your choice of educational establishment?

The reality is that a child's SATs results will have very little impact, if any, on your choice of school. If you are wanting your child to have a place at a boarding or private school, then your child will usually have to sit an entrance exam set by the school or they made need to take the 11 Plus. SATs are used by a secondary school to assess a child's learning progress and to place them in the right stream or subject group. They will not look at SATs results during the secondary school placement process.

To conclude, SATs exams test your child when they are in Year 2 and in the last year of primary school. SATs focus upon English and Maths, assessing the child in basic reading, writing, punctuation and grammar in English, and number, space, measurement and shapes in Maths. SATs do help schools to assess the progress of a child and these results are reflected in Ofsted results. However, SATs also help to find a child's strengths and weaknesses in a subject, helping to pinpoint any problems a child may be experiencing in a subject so that additional help can be given. They are also used in placing a child into the correct learning level or set when transitioning to secondary school.

We hope that you now have a clearer understanding of SATs exams and how they will impact your child's learning and future education.