What are level 6 SATs?
Level 6 SATs are additional tests intended to challenge Y6 children who are excelling in maths and/or English. The standard SATs papers allow a child to achieve National Curriculum levels three to five (with 4B being the average mark); the additional paper allows them to achieve a level six – a standard that the average child doesn’t reach until Year 10. The tests are taken on the same day as the standard SAT paper in that subject.
When were Level 6 SATs introduced?
Level 6 SATs were reintroduced in 2012, after a 10-year absence. The Government’s intention is to stretch the most able pupils, but critics claim that parents will use them to judge the merits of a primary school, and may dismiss a school as substandard if it doesn’t offer level 6 tests.
Who takes Level 6 SATs?
Level 6 papers are only intended to be sat by pupils who are exceptionally able in English and/or maths, and not all schools offer them. ‘At our school, only one child sat the level 6 paper last year,’ says Y5 teacher Catherine. ‘It involves a lot of extra preparation and paperwork, so we have to be pretty confident that children are likely to achieve a level 6 if we enter them.’
Bethan, who teaches Y6, finds the system works slightly differently in her school. ‘Usually, we’ll put children in for the level 6 SATs if they’re on the Gifted and Talented register for maths or English,’ she explains. ‘However, because level 6s reflect well on the school, our head strongly encourages us to enter as many children as possible, which is a bit of a gamble.’
Pupils may be entered for the paper in either maths or English, or in both: last year, around one child in nine took the maths test, and one in 11 took the English test. If, when the papers are marked, a child hasn’t achieved a level 5 on the standard paper, their level 6 paper is not counted.
What sort of skills and questions are involved in Level 6 SATs?
The level 6 SATs maths test requires children to have mastered complex skills such as algebra, geometry, data handling, and number concepts like percentages, sequences and ratio. For example:
One of the numbers is 0.6
There are two possible answers for the other number
What are the two other possible answers?
For the English test, children need to use varied sentence structure, past, present and future tenses, an extended range of connectives (such as ‘similarly’ and ‘for instance’), use a full range of punctuation (including colons and semi-colons), spell harder words accurately, and develop their ideas throughout a piece of writing. For example:
Spell the word subtle.
Insert a colon in the appropriate place in the sentence below.
I have three pets a hamster (called Frankie), a goldfish and a cat.
How will I know if my child is taking the level 6 test?
Your child’s teacher should tell you if he is being entered for level 6. ‘Because the tests include some Key Stage 3 material that isn’t covered in class, extra work is necessary,’ explains Bethan. ‘Most is done in lessons, with level 6 pupils in their own set, but schools also usually offer booster classes: ours run three times a week, for half an hour before school.’
Other than drilling your child on spellings and times tables, extra preparation outside school shouldn’t be necessary. ‘Level 6 children tend not to need extra help at home, as they are able enough to understand the concepts, and just need training in exam technique,’ says Bethan.
How are the results used?
Your child’s SATs results are mainly used for the school’s benefit. ‘It reflects well on the school if they achieve a number of level 6s, and they get “bonus points” when it comes to assessing performance and achievement,’ explains Bethan. ‘Ultimately, the schools with the best results are placed higher up the league tables, so level 6 passes are highly meaningful.’
For pupils, however, there is no concrete benefit in sitting the level 6 paper. ‘It’s good for able children to be extended, and it can also be helpful when they start secondary school as they’re likely to be streamed with equally able children,’ Bethan says. ‘But while it’s nice for pupils to achieve a level 6, remember that really, it’s just bragging rights, and not something to get stressed about.’
Can I see some L6 past papers?
What about standard KS2 SATs?
To download free KS2 SATs past papers for maths and English browse through our extensive selection.