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Dear Y6, we measure your progress not just in test results, but in how you treat others, your attitude to learning and how you've developed into a confident individual over the year. Many of you excel in art, sport, drama, singing and caring for others; these are just as important. Be proud of your many achievements, because we are. 

These assessments give a snapshot of where you are in your learning journey so far in English and Maths only. They do not show what makes you special to us, your friends and your family.

You must not get worried about the tests. Worrying is our job - and we are NOT worried!

But if you are concerned in any way, please come and talk to us so that we can reassure you.

Year 6 expectations for Maths, English and Science - information for parents


During May in Year 6, children undertake National Curriculum Tests (commonly known as SATs) in English Reading, SPaG and Mathematics. These provide records of attainment in the subjects, including standardised scores which enable school, local and national comparisons. In addition, teachers are required to provide teacher assessments in English writing and Science.


Some schools are also selected by the Standards and Testing Agency for science sampling. If the school is selected, then a group of children will be required to take 3 science papers during the first week back after 1/2 term. 


Monday 11 May

English grammar, punctuation and spelling test:

Paper 1, short answer questions  - 45 mins

Paper 2, spelling - 20 mins approx

Tuesday 12 May

English reading test:

Reading booklet and associated answer booklet.

1 hour

Wednesday 13 May

Mathematics, Paper 1, arithmetic test - 30mins

Mathematics, Paper 2, reasoning - 40mins


Thursday 14 May

Mathematics Paper 3, reasoning - 40mins



Possible science sampling tests

Late June

Final moderation of children's writing 


The SATS results are reported nationally and to your child’s next school. Secondary schools then use these results, together with their own assessments, to set targets for Years 7, 8 and 9 and ultimately, to GCSE. Some also use them to inform ability grouping. Contrary to popular belief, the SATs results do not just matter to the primary school. They matter far more to the individual child. It is important therefore, that these assessments are an accurate reflection of your child’s attainment to ensure they are suitably challenged/supported at their next school. We particularly ask you to support homework tasks, which will revise concepts and skills needed for these tests. 

The tests from 2016 onwards will be different from previous SAT tests. The following is based on information received to date but may be subject to change.


 Key Stage 2 Reading Test 

The reading test will be a single paper with questions based on one 800-word text and two passages of 300 words. Your child will have 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.’
Marks will be allocated as follows:
Subject area
Percentage of overall mark
Themes and conventions
Making inferences
Language for effect


 Key Stage 2 grammar, punctuation and spelling test 

The grammar, punctuation and spelling test 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.’
The marks will be allocated as follows:
Subject area
Overall percentage of mark
Grammar and punctuation
Language strategies


 Key Stage 2 maths 
Children will sit three papers in maths:
  • Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes
  • Papers 2 and 3: mathematical fluency, solving problems and 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; addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions. 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
The marks will be allocated as follows:
Subject area
Percentage of overall mark
Number, ratio and proportion and algebra
Measurement, geometry and statistics


 Key Stage 2 science 
Not all children in Year 6 will take science SATs. However, a number of schools will be required to take part in science sampling: a test administered to a selected sample of children thought to be representative of the population as a whole.  For those who are selected, there will be three papers:
  • Biology: 25 minutes, 22 marks
  • Chemistry: 25 minutes, 22 marks
  • Physics: 25 minutes, 22 marks
This might sound very intimidating, but these are ‘questions in a physics/chemistry/biology context’, for example:
Biology: ‘Describe the differences in the life cycle of an amphibian and a mammal’
Chemistry: ‘Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas’
Physics: ‘Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on where the poles are facing’

Scaled Scores

•Test outcomes at KS2 will be reported as scaled scores.

•Raw scores (the number of marks awarded for each subject) will be translated to scaled scores (a comparable score for each subject) using a conversion table.

•The national standard will be 100 and children achieving this score or above will be 'meeting age related expectations'

•Pupils will receive a raw score, a scaled score and confirmation of attainment of the national standard.

•There is no correlation between old levels (pre 2016) and this method of reporting using a national standard.

•In 2016 and 2017 a scaled score of 110+ was regarded as evidence of a child 'working at greater depth within age related expectations'

In summary
The assessment and content of the curriculum changed in 2016. 
Testing is more prescriptive; that is based more on actual content and topics taught, rather than general ability.
This should be easier to measure and more reliable when comparing results, but is not anticipated to be as good at actually demonstrating how well a child uses their knowledge.
Reading and writing are separate, and equal weighting is given to all three subjects including maths. This means that English is now more significant, especially writing, which had previously been seen as of less worth assessment wise.


In addition the tests will be measured against ‘norms’ for the target population. Baseline testing, which means that a pupil is measured against the average performance for their age.