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Statutory Assessments in Primary Schools

Statutory Assessments in Primary Schools 

Phonics Screening

The phonics screening check is a short, simple assessment to ensure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. All year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and free schools must complete the check.

The phonics check is to support teachers in identifying the children who need extra help so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills. These pupils will then be able to retake the check in year 2. If the pupil does not pass the phonics screening test for a second year they will not undertake the check in year 3. The year 3 class teachers however will be made aware of these children to provide additional phonics support.

The phonics screening check comprises a list of 40 words and non-words which the child will read one-to-one with the parallel year group teacher.

Standard Assessment Tests (SATs)

SATS tests are given at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. They are used to track progress and attainment of children in schools from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2. They comprise a mixture of teacher-led and test-based assessments. 

Key Stage 1

In Key Stage 1 SATs take place in year 2 and can be undertaken at any time in the year. Each child is tested in reading, writing (including spelling and handwriting), maths and science. These tests are undertaken with the class teacher in small groups usually of similar ability children. We keep the process for the children very informal and we do not talk about ‘SATs’ and request you do the same to prevent any unnecessary worry or pressure.

The national average level in Year 2 is a 2B however levels can range from a 1 to a 3. Most children will sit a reading and maths SATs paper at a level 2. However if the teacher feels the child is working consistently above this level, and their level 2 SATs paper also indicates this, they can undertake a level 3 paper. 

Two writing tasks are set for the children, again undertaken in small groups, and from this the teacher uses a set of pre-prescribed assessment tools to level the work. The levels again can range from 1 to 3.

All Key Stage 1 tests are marked internally. Teachers in year 2 don’t mark the parallel side of the year group. The reading and maths papers are checked by other members of the school for consistency and accuracy. To ensure writing levels are accurate rigorous moderation is undertaken internally with all teaching staff, the SWAN Academy Trust, other primary schools and the local authority. The local authority requires a sample of level 3 papers to be externally moderated every year. Every few year’s external moderators will visit the school and moderate a sample of children’s reading, writing and maths levels. 

The children’s SATs results are then used to support teacher’s assessments. 

Once the children’s levels have been validated parents will be informed of their level against the teacher assessment level. This information is shared with parents towards the end of the Summer term.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 SATs are undertaken in year 6 and are much more formal. They take place in May and all tests must be administered on days specified in the statutory test timetable from the Department for Education and Standards and Testing Agency. Therefore it is essential that your child is in school during this week to undertake their SATs. 

Level 3-5 tests are undertaken in English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling and mathematics. The English reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling comprise of a single test. Maths consists of three tests, two written tests and one mental test. Previously one of the mathematics written tests allowed the children to use a calculator however this is no longer the case. 

The national average level in Year 6 is a 4B however levels can range from levels 3-6. The school can also choose to administer level 6 tests in English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling and mathematics for pupils working at, or close, to level 6.  A pupil must achieve a level 5 in the levels 3-5 test and pass the level 6 test in the same year to be awarded a level 6 result. If the pupil does not achieve a level 5 in the 3-5 paper they will not sit the level 6 test equally if the pupil does not pass the level 6 test they will be awarded the level achieved in the levels 3-5 test. 

The majority of pupils working at level 3 or above in May 2015 must take the levels 3-5 tests in the year they complete the KS2 programme of study. There are however exceptions and if this is the case for your child their class teacher will discuss this with you. Likewise your child may sit the level 3-5 tests but additional arrangements may be needed to support their specific needs, for example if they are hearing impaired the mental maths test can be read to them rather than listen to a CD. 

Unlike the Key Stage 1 tests papers are locked away and not allowed to be opened until 30 minutes before the specific test. Again unlike Key Stage 1 all Key Stage 2 papers are sent away to be marked with results being available before your child leaves primary school in July. 

Writing is not undertaken through a SATs test but assessed through writing in a range of genres over a period of time. Like Key Stage 1 to ensure writing levels are accurate rigorous moderation is undertaken with all teaching staff, the SWAN Academy Trust, other primary schools and the local authority. External moderation by the local authority is undertaken every few years, similar to moderation in Key Stage 1. 

2015 is the last year in which Years 2 and 6 will undertake SATs in its current format. From 2016 new end of Key Stage assessment will take place based around the current National Curriculum. 

Louise Hammond

January 2014

Assessment and Curriculum Leader