Further SATs information

The current Year 6 will be the first to take the new SATs papers in May 2016. We have started work already in preparation for the tests with booster sessions in SPAG and maths, focused guided reading sessions and practice papers.

These tests in English and maths will reflect the new national curriculum, and are intended to be more rigorous. There will also be a completely new marking scheme to replace the existing national curriculum levels- Scaled scores will be used instead. (please see further on)

There will only be 1 set of tests for each subject. The tests will include a small number of questions designed to assess the most able pupils so separate tests, such as the previous level 6 tests, are no longer required.

Children will sit tests in:

  • Reading
  • Maths
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG)


*single paper with questions based on three passages of text.
*one hour, including reading time, to complete the test.
There will be a selection of question types, including:

  • Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show the order in which they happen in the story’
  • Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title of the story’
  • Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that suggests what the weather is like in the story’
  • Short constructed response, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
  • Open-ended response, e.g. ‘Look at the sentence that begins Once upon a time. How does the writer increase the tension throughout this paragraph? Explain fully, referring to the text in your answer.’


The main way to help your child is to read regularly with them and discuss the text. Ask your child a variety of questions such as the ones listed above. It will also help to develop your child’s vocabulary.

Grammar, punctuation and spelling (SPAG)

It will consist of two parts: a grammar and punctuation paper requiring short answers, lasting 45 minutes, and an aural spelling test of 20 words, lasting around 15 minutes.

The grammar and punctuation test will include two sub-types of questions:

  • Selected response, e.g. ‘Identify the adjectives in the sentence below’
  • Constructed response, e.g. ‘Correct/complete/rewrite the sentence below,’ or, ‘The sentence below has an apostrophe missing. Explain why it needs an apostrophe.’


Support your child with any homework which is sent home, when reading a book can your child spot the different word classes and punctuation.


The children will sit 3 papers in maths

  • Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes
  • Papers 2 and 3: reasoning, 40 minutes per paper

Paper 1 will consist of fixed response questions, where children have to give the correct answer to calculations, including long multiplication and division. Papers 2 and 3 will involve a number of question types, including:

  • Multiple choice
  • True or false
  • Constrained questions, e.g. giving the answer to a calculation, drawing a shape or completing a table or chart
  • Less constrained questions, where children will have to explain their approach for solving a problem.


Support your child with any homework which is sent home, look through the study guide which the children were given and discuss any areas where they may need some extra support.

General key points to note:

*tests are marked externally

*children are encouraged to cross out or put a cross through an answer they want to change (rather than rub it out) and then write the correct answer next to it. This is because tests are scanned into an online marking system. Answers that pupils have rubbed out sometimes reappear in the scanning process. It may not be clear to markers which response was rubbed out. The only exception is the mathematics reasoning papers for those questions requiring drawing. Pupils should continue to use a rubber for these questions, but be careful to ensure they have fully rubbed out their previous answer.(Responses that have been crossed, or rubbed out, will not be considered by markers)

*no mental maths test

* (maths)Tracing paper and calculators are no longer allowed

*(maths) Answers to all questions in the arithmetic test should be given as a numeric value in its simplest form, rather than a calculation or number sentence. (Calculations written in the answer box will not be credited

*(maths)For 2-mark questions in the arithmetic paper, pupils will be awarded both marks for a correct answer. If they do not give a correct answer, 1 mark will be awarded for an appropriate formal method with no more than one arithmetic error.

*Formal methods are presented vertically, with separate rows for each stage of the calculation.* formal written method of long multiplication and formal written method of long division

*Each pupil registered for the tests will (in the Summer term) receive

  • a raw score (number of raw marks awarded)
  • a scaled score
  • confirmation of whether or not they attained the national standard

Ways to help at home.

*Regular reading and discussion/questioning
*complete homework and spellings
*work through the study guides
*There are sample papers and questions available to download on the DFE website
*bbc bitesize

Talk about SATs and tell them not worry and to try their best.

Scaled scores

There is no full information about what the scale will look like yet. The DFE need to wait until pupils have taken the tests and the tests have been marked before they can set the national standard and the rest of the scale.

We do know the scale will have a lower end point below 100 and an upper end point above 100. Once they have set the national standard they will use a statistical technique called ‘scaling’ to transform the raw score (how many questions answered correctly in total) into a scaled score. They will publish this after the first tests have been administered.

Interpreting scaled scores

A pupil’s scaled score will be based on their raw score. The pupil’s raw score will be translated into a scaled score using a conversion table. A pupil who achieves the national standard will have demonstrated sufficient knowledge in the areas assessed by the tests. This will mean that they are well placed to succeed in the next phase of their education. If a pupil achieves the national standard this doesn’t imply that the pupil has mastered all of the knowledge and skills indicated in the test performance descriptor. The old national curriculum levels are not relevant to the new national curriculum. However, in order to provide some indication of the new standards, the DFE have tried to indicate equivalence in a broad sense. This will roughly equate to an old level 4b.

Examples of long multiplication and long division can be found at transum.org