What are KS2 SATs?

KS2 SATs (also known as Key Stage 2 SATs) are tests children take at the end of Year 6. Key Stage 2 SATs test children on what they have learnt between Year 3 and Year 6.

KS2 SATs are mandatory tests from the National Curriculum assessment programme. All state schools in England are required to provide the tests.

KS2 SATs Explained

What tests are there in KS2 SATs?

The KS2 SATs are split into tests children take in the classroom and the exam room.

English Reading, SPaG and Maths tests are taken in the exam room (under formal exam conditions). English writing and Science KS2 SATs are taken in an informal classroom test called a "teacher assessment".

What KS2 SATs exams will my child take?

As already mentioned, your child will take KS2 SATs in English Reading, SPaG and Maths.

The English Reading SATs test is a typical reading comprehension assessment. It's a single KS2 SATs paper that's worth 50 marks and children have 60 minutes to complete it.

The SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar) assessment is two individual tests: 

  • Paper 1 contains around 45  questions on KS2 SPaG topics. The test is worth 50 marks and children have 45 minutes to complete it.
  • Paper 2 is a spelling test that's read out by their teacher. This test is worth 20 marks and typically takes 10-20 minutes to complete.

Both SPaG tests are normally taken on the same day.

The Maths assessments are spread over three separate KS2 SATs tests:

  • Paper 1 (arithmetic) contains calculation-based questions and is worth 40 marks. Children have 30 minutes to complete it.
  • Paper 2 and Paper 3 are both "reasoning" papers and each total 35 marks. Children have 40 minutes to complete each paper.

The three Maths KS2 SATs are taken over two days.

History of KS2 SATs

KS2 SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) were introduced in 1995.

Since then, KS2 SATs have broadly remained the same with English, Maths and Science all tested. However, the tests themselves have changed their structure numerous times.

For example, were you to have sat your Maths KS2 SATs in 2001 and been entered into a level 6 test, you could have potentially sat six individual KS2 SATs. Contrast this with 2009 where you would have only sat four KS2 SATs.

In 2009 it was decided that KS2 Science SATs would no longer be externally examined and would instead become "teacher assessments". In 2010 this was expanded to include the KS2 English Writing KS2 SATs.

With the advent of the new curriculum in 2014, the 2014-2015 academic year was the final year of the "old-style" KS2 SATs and a new format was announced for the 2015-2016 academic year.

For 2016, there were no optional Level 6 KS2 SATs papers. Instead, the "higher ability" or "100+" questions were incorporated into the standard KS2 SATs.

If your child is coming up to their SATs, why not look at our detailed guide to SATs Revision.

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