What Are Sats Tests and What Are They For?

What are SATS or Standard Assessment Tests and what do the levels mean?

SATS or Standard Assessment Tests are used to evaluate your child’s educational progress at the end of years 2, 6 and 9. They make comparisons between children against the average attainment expectations for their respective age group.

Key Stage 1 SATs take place at the end of the infants stage in the May of year 2. The assessments are carried out by the child’s teacher and evaluate ability in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, maths (number, shape, space and measurement) and science. The teacher will set short pieces of work in English and Maths to support the evaluation process.

Key Stage 2 SATs are a more formal process than key Stage 1 and take place in the May of year 6. The tests cover the three core subjects, English, Maths and Science. The papers are sent away to be marked externally with results being available before your child leaves primary school in July. More able children are teacher assessed to see if they are capable of reaching the higher level.

Key Stage 3 SATS involve formal tests or exams in English, Maths and Science. These test on work covered in years 7 to 9 inclusive.

Teacher assessments are also carried out in the subjects below:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Design And Technology
  • Information And Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Art And Design
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Citizenship
  • Religious Education

There is a table below which explains the attainment level expectations for the average child

National curriculum level Age of Child
Level W Working towards level 1, very weak
Level 1 Average for a typical 5 year old
Level 2 Average for a typical 7 year old
Level 3 Average for a typical 9 year old
Level 4 Average for a typical 11 year old
Level 5 Average for a typical 13 year old
Level 6 Average for a typical 14 year old
Level 7 Above average for typical 14 year old
Level 8 Only available in Maths

By way of example, a child in Year 6 aged 11, who sits the Key Stage 2 SATS

  • Gaining a level 4 indicates they are on track according to expect
  • Gaining a level 5 indicates that they are ahead of expectations and may be a very able or gifted child
  • Gaining a level 3 indicates below average performance.