Please note: this article offers information about KS2 SATs testing in May 2015. The Year 6 SATs will reflect the new national curriculum from May 2016, with a revised and updated version of the exam.
For more details about KS2 SATs in May 2016 see our parents' guide to KS2 SATs in 2016.
Children who start Year 6 in September 2014 will be the last to take Key Stage 2 SATs in their current form, before they are overhauled for summer 2016. These SATs have already undergone some changes, with the aim of making them fairer for all children. In 2011, a review into primary school assessments recommended a greater focus on the progress children make throughout the school year, as opposed to a test-day snapshot of what they know. It also highlighted the value of teacher assessment (after all, who knows your child better than their class teacher?).
KS2 SATs papers explained
All Year 6 children are required to take externally-set assessments in English and maths. The standard papers cover levels 3-5, with level 4 being the expected national average at the end of primary school. Children sit the following tests:
Year 6 English SATs
- English grammar, punctuation and spelling – Paper 1 comprises 40 to 50 short-answer questions covering grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, taking 45 minutes; Paper 2 is a spelling test with 20 questions, taking approximately 15 minutes.
- English reading – one paper based on reading comprehension of three texts, with a total of 35 to 40 questions of increasing difficulty. Children are allowed one hour in total, including reading time.
The English grammar, punctuation and spelling test covers sentence grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, handwriting and spelling and was introduced in 2013. This replaced the old writing paper, with writing now being tested purely through teacher assessment. For an introduction to the SPAG test, and details of how to help your child prepare, read our parents' guide, What is the Y6 Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation test?
Year 6 maths SATs
- Mathematics – Papers 1 and 2, each lasting 45 minutes, and Paper 3, a 20-minute mental maths test. Calculators are not permitted.
In addition, high-achieving children may be entered for Level 6 SATs papers in the same subjects. The Department for Education (DfE) advises that only children who are expected to achieve a level 6 should take these tests. They must also take the level 3-5 paper first, and can only be awarded a level 6 if they also achieve level 5 on the standard paper. If they don’t pass the level 6 paper, they are awarded the grade from their level 3-5 test instead. From 2014, school performance tables will show the number of pupils who were awarded level 6.
When are the 2015 KS2 SATs tests?
KS2 SATs will provisionally be held in the week beginning 11 May 2015. The likely timetable is as follows:
|Monday 11 May||Levels 3-5 English reading
Level 6 English reading
|Tuesday 12 May||Levels 3-5 English grammar, punctuation and spelling
Level 6 English grammar, punctuation and spelling
|Wednesday 13 May||Levels 3-5 mental mathematics
Levels 3-5 mathematics Paper 1
|Thursday 14 May||Levels 3-5 mathematics Paper 2
Level 6 mathematics Paper 1
Level 6 mathematics Paper 2 (calculator allowed)
Pupils who are ill on the day of a KS2 SATs test will be able to sit it within a week (until 2012 they were asked to sit the test within two days).
Isn't science tested in KS2?
Although there are no formal science SATs for all, ‘science sampling’ was reintroduced in 2014. Under this system, 9,500 children – five children from 1,500 schools – are randomly selected to take a science test. Schools that are selected will be notified by mid-May, and are legally obliged to participate if chosen. Science sampling takes place every two years, so there will be no compulsory science tests in 2015. Children will be awarded a level for science based on their teacher's assessment.
Teacher assessment in the KS2 SATs
- Other subjects, including English writing, speaking and listening, are assessed by teachers rather than by children taking a formal written test. This assessment data is then submitted to the Department for Education, and is subject to moderation.
- If there is a discrepancy between your child's SATs results and the level their teacher thinks they are working at, the teacher's assessment level will take precedence.
- Children’s progress, as well as their achievement, will be measured and reported on in school performance tables.
- You will be told your child's national curriculum levels in July 2015.
- Teacher assessments are passed on to secondary schools so they can be used in planning for Year 7 teaching.
- Maths and reading tests are marked externally.
Free KS2 SATs past papers
Want to kick off your SATs revision schedule by downloading and working through some past papers? All the official KS2 SATs past papers from 2003 to 2014 are available to download for free from TheSchoolRun.
It might also be useful to follow teachers' tips about how to get the most out of completing past papers at home; we have advice for KS2 English SATs past papers and suggestions for KS2 maths SATs past papers.