Primary School Sat Exam Standards Were Appropriate And  Not As Difficult As Complaining Pupils And Parents Say

Primary School Sat Exam Standards Were Appropriate And Not As Difficult As Complaining Pupils And Parents Say

By Gavin Mackintosh-

This year’s end of primary school Sat exams  in the UK were not as difficult as complaining pupils and parents said, and were set at an appropriate level of difficulty, according to the Department Of Education

Sat tests and assessments are an essential part of ensuring that all pupils master the basics of reading, writing and maths to prepare them for secondary school.

They help teachers and parents understand how pupils are performing against the age-related expectations outlined in the National Curriculum and enable them to identify where pupils need more support. Every year 6 pupil takes key stage 2 (KS2) national curriculum tests, known as SATs, to measure school performance and to make sure individual pupils have the support that they need when they move into secondary school.

They also allow us to hold schools to account to ensure that they support all pupils, regardless of background or prior attainment, to achieve sufficient progress.

Below is an example of one of the reading questions:

Find and copy one word that is closest in meaning to “eat”.

Relevant extract: It’s actually very appropriate that you call it a “hotspot”. The gaps underneath the bridge are a perfect place for mother bats to raise their young. Baby bats are born hairless and have only a few months to develop before travelling south in autumn. They need somewhere warm and safe and the gaps under the bridge are just the right width to trap warmth nicely. These bat pups need to spend their energy on growth, not on keeping themselves warm.

Texas in general is a paradise for bats because of all its tasty insects. A mother bat will go out hunting every evening and consume about two-thirds of her body weight in insects every single night to meet her energy need. The feeding frenzy can last all night.

Answer: Consume and feeding both acceptable answers.

2. She wriggled back inside the tent…

What does this tell you about how Priya got inside the tent? Tick one.

However, online thesauruses by Merriam-Webster and Collins list “creep” as a synonym for “wriggle”, among others.

3. Look at the first two paragraphs.

In which American state is the Congress Avenue Bridge found?

Relevant extract: By day the Congress Avenue Bridge in the city of Austin could hardly look more normal: a grey, dreary city-centre road bridge. By night, it plays host to one of the most amazing shows nature has to offer. The underside of the bridge is home to more than a million bats, and every evening in summer they all come swarming out at once, rising up into the city sky like a tornado before spreading out in all directions like plumes of smoke. Standing on the bridge, you might even feel the wind from their wings as they pass by.

Austin is the capital city of the state of Texas in the USA, but it is also the bat capital of North America. The bats under the bridge attract thousands of visitors every year, and every Augus lovers celebrate Bat Fest on the bridge in their honour.

Answer: Texas. Austin would not be accepted because it is a city, not a state.

4. Why did Priya find it surprising to hear two vehicles drive by?

Relevant extract: “Priya was surprised, and now she was completely awake. They had only seen a couple of cars all day, and now two had come past together.”

Answer: “Because they hadn’t heard that many cars drive by.”

Mark scheme note: Do not accept reference only to it being late at night/very early in the morning, eg because it was the middle of the night.

5. What two things made it hard for Innis to trust his own senses when he was looking for the wolf? Tick two.

Relevant extract: The howl pierced the darkening sky and made Innis Munro stop dead in his tracks. He pulled his hood down, listened intently. The only sound was his beating heart. That was a wolf, he thought. But it couldn’t have been. There were no wolves on the island of Nin, no wolves in Scotland any more, not for almost 300 years. It was just a trick of the wind. He pressed on but kept his hood down. The afternoon light of early March was fading fast, snow was falling, and he was still a good half-mile from home. Innis walked faster, told himself it was not the howl that made him hurry but the gloomy sky and gathering snow.

How flat the land was.
The fading light.
How tired he felt.
The weather.
How fast he was walking.
Answer: The fading light, the weather.

Sats, or Standard Assessment Tests, are used to measure children’s English and maths skills in Year 2 and Year 6, and consist of six 45-minute papers</p>
Sats, or Standard Assessment Tests, are used to measure children’s English and maths skills in Year 2 and Year 6, and consist of six 45-minute papers

Gillian Hillier, chief executive of the Standards and Testing Agency said this year’s tests were “trialled with thousands of pupils in April 2022” and “mapped to the KS2 curriculum and information from the trials and reviews”.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Key Stage 2 assessments are an important way of identifying pupils’ strengths and where they may have fallen be

A DfE spokesperson said: “Our test development process is extremely rigorous and includes reviews by a large number of education and inclusion experts and professionals, including teachers.”

But they added that while it was “important that schools encourage pupils to do their best”, “preparing for these exams should not be at the expense of their wellbeing”.

The DfE has stopped short of offering to review complaints, including those from the leaders’ union ASCL, which claimed children had been left distressed and teachers “very anxious”.

The reading paper was published today, earlier than planned given the “public interest” in the tests, the Standards and Testing Agency said.

One question involved US geography while another included an extract from The Rise of Wolves, which has a reading age of 13 and over.

“We don’t want these tests to be too hard for children. That’s not the purpose,” Gibb said. “The purpose is to test the range of ability and the Standards and Testing Agency is charged with making sure that these tests are appropriate for this age group.”

The NAHT has also raised concerns with the DfE and test regulator Ofqual.

The school leaders’ union said it was “very concerned” after members said the choice of texts was “not accessible for the wide range of experiences and backgrounds children have”.

Sarah Hannafin, the union’s head of policy, said the difficulty was “beyond previous tests leaving children upset and with even staff struggling to understand questions”.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, the head of Anderton Park in Birmingham, said it was the “hardest” paper she had seen in her 29 years in the sector.

She said some of the school’s highest attainers did not finish.

The DfE blogpost said reports pupils had only 34 seconds to answer each question as “some questions will take longer, whilst some can be answered more quickly”.

When similar concerns were raised in 2016, an Ofqual review found the reading test was probably “unduly hard” for pupils with low attainment and special educational needs.

Ofqual said this week that it routinely monitored the standards maintenance process and reviewed “key evidence” on test accessibility.

Daisy Christodoulou, director of education at No More Marking, suggested moving SATs back to a two-test structure or introducing on-screen adaptive tests, which tailored content based on each pupil’s answers.

Another solution was to specify the broad content areas the reading test would be drawn from, for example telling schools a test would be taken from the history, science or geography curriculum.

She also said officials could “abolish the labels and standards and just report the underlying scaled score”.

“These reforms have their challenges and drawbacks too, but we might decide those challenges are preferable to the ones we are facing at the moment,” she said.+

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