Changes to KS2 SATs in 2016: what parents need to know

KS2 SATs in 2016
With a huge overhaul planned to coincide with the introduction of the new national curriculum, how are SATs changing from summer 2016? Read on for the most up-to-date information.

In the summer term of 2016, children in Year 2 and Year 6 have been the first to take the new SATs papers. These tests in English and maths reflect the new national curriculum, and are intended to be more rigorous. There is also be a completely new marking scheme to replace the existing national curriculum levels.

At the end of Year 6, children sit tests in:

  • Reading
  • Maths
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar

These tests are both set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables). Your child’s marks will be used in conjunction with teacher assessment to give a broader picture of their attainment.

Key Stage 2 Reading

The reading test is a single paper with questions based on three passages of text. 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.’

Key Stage 2 grammar, punctuation and spelling test

The grammar, punctuation and spelling test consists 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.’

Key Stage 2 maths

Children sit three 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

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. (Monday 6 to Friday 17 June is the science sampling test period in which your child might sit the tests.) 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

It sounds 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’

When will KS2 SATs take place in 2016?

The Year 6 KS2 SATs will be administered in the week commencing 9 May 2016.

How will Key Stage 2 SATs be marked?

The previous national curriculum levels have been scrapped, and instead children will be given scaled scores. You will be given your child’s raw score (the actual number of marks they get), alongside their scaled score and whether they have reached the national average. The score needed to reach the national average has yet to be announced.

Are there any practice papers for the new curriculum KS2 SATs?

Yes, the 2016 KS2 SATs papers are now available and can be downloaded for free from TheSchoolRun:

You can also access our current free Year 6 SATs papers here; these relate to the old SATs, so the content and format of the new papers will be different, but they are still useful to help your child familiarise themselves with exam technique.

TheSchoolRun has also commissioned five complete KS2 SATs practice papers for maths and five for English. Available exclusively to subscribers, they are written in the style of the 2016 papers and feature similar question types.