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What are optional SATs?
Alongside the statutory SATs tests currently completed at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key stage 2, there are also "optional SATs". These are optional past papers created to assess progress in Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 of primary school.
Like KS1 SATs and KS2 SATs, optional SATs assess your child's progress and understanding in English and Maths. Some later tests also include Science.
Do schools have to use optional SATs papers?
No, schools do not have to use optional SATs papers - they are "optional"!
There are many ways schools can assess your child's progress at the end of the school year. These include online and printed tests from private educational companies as well as tests written by their teachers or school. Optional SATs are just one option.
Why do primary schools use optional SATs?
While it is not compulsory for schools to administer these tests, all schools must provide some form of end-of-year assessments.
These assessments are done to monitor your child's progress and are usually a combination of teacher assessment and more formal testing. There are plenty of formal assessment options available to schools which are in line with the 2014 new national curriculum.
However, many schools choose to use optional SATs as they provide a good indication of your child's progress and ability and (perhaps crucially) they're available free of charge.
Many primary schools use past SATs papers to help prepare pupils for their Year 6 SATs. Hence, several also use optional SATs to help prepare them in earlier years; offering your child valuable experience of SATs-style tests in a formal exam environment.
Do parents get the results of optional SATs?
In one form or another, you will receive an indication of your child's progress at the end of each school year.
However, you may not be given a numerical score; it is more likely that you will be informed as to whether your child is meeting the expected standards for their age. This judgement will be made using teachers' informal assessments as well as their optional SATs scores and usually tells you if your child is 'working towards', 'meeting, or 'exceeding' expected standards.
Who does optional SATs?
Who writes optional SATs?
The QCA produced the original optional SATs papers in 2003, following up with a later set of optional SATs in 2006.
It's important to note that these were published before the 2014 changes to the National Curriculum and the 2016 introduction of the new SATs format.
Although the QCA papers are slightly outdated in terms of format and content, they still offer a useful test and a good indication of your child's progress.
How can I support my child with optional SATs?
In order to achieve a strong mark we would recommend reading regularly, ensuring your child completes their homework and is comfortable with all the topics they have covered in class throughout the school year.
It they have found some topics to be overly tricky, we would recommend using some appropriate workbooks, revision guides or practice papers.
We would not recommend using optional SATs at home for private study as it's likely to skew their marks in class were they to use these same tests.
How can I prepare my child for their optional SATs?
Support your child through their optional SATs tests by ensuring they're comfortable with all their topics and using workbooks, revision guides and/or practice papers.
Which optional SATs are available?
Do all schools take optional SATs?
No, schools choose whether to use optional SATs.
What are Optional SATs?
Optional SATs are tests that schools use to assess your child's progress at the end of the school year.