25 Feb 2020

The 2019 SATs Results: Explained For Parents And Carers

  • By Connor Whelan  | 
  • 25 Feb 2020  | 
  • 9 min read
  •  |  Free download

The KS2 SATs results 2019 have been made available to schools, and this means that children and their parents around the country are starting to receive their results from the Year 6 SATs.   

But, what do the results mean, what does the national picture show, and what does all of this information mean for your child? 

We’ve worked with our maths consultant Tim Handley on this quick guide which covers everything parents need to know about the KS2 SATs results.

Please note: This post looks at the SATs results for all of the KS2 tests, with special focus on the maths SATs as helping your children in maths is what Matr is all about! 

The 2019 SATs results: What do the numbers & results mean?

Different schools report different things to parents, but the government sets out some key bits of information that schools have to report to parents at the end of Key Stage 2. 

We have run through what the KS1 and KS2 SATs scores mean for parents here, but below is a brief breakdown of this information.

Complete Guide to the KS2 SATs for Year 6 Parents and Carers

Download our FREE Guide to the Year 6 SATs to get all the information you need on the upcoming exams!

The information you will receive from your child’s school:

A scaled score

You will receive your child’s scaled score, and these range from 80-120. 

This score is based on your child’s actual score on the test. This is then converted into a scaled score to allow the government and schools to compare attainment over time. We will be discussing this in more detail later in the blog.

Further reading:

Whether your child met the expected standard

Schools have to report if your child is working at the expected standard.  

This is the standard which the government has set as the level to which children should be at by the end of Year 6.

  • For reading, maths and grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS) this is based on the child’s scaled score – if they gained a scaled score of 100 or more, they are judged to be working at the expected standard.   
  • For writing, this is based on assessment by your child’s teacher, which is based on a clear set of assessment frameworks, and the government checks schools writing judgements through statutory moderation each year.  

Are you concerned about your child’s upcoming SATs exams?

Whilst SATs only reflect your child’s abilities in a very small snapshot of time, as a parent is is still easy to worry about the results you will receive from their school.

If you are worried that your child might struggle in their maths SATs and you want to ensure that the gaps in their knowledge are plugged, Matr’s SATs revision programme offers online, one-to-one tutoring, at a price that won’t break the bank. 

Our SATs revision lessons have been carefully designed based on our analysis of the past three years’ SATs papers to focus on the maths topics most likely to come up in 2020. This ensures your child will be learning what they need to do their best in SATs, taught by specialist maths tutors trained to be the best teachers they can be.

If you’re worried about not having enough time before SATs to fit revision in, we also offer a ‘double-up’ programme for a limited time. Double-up lessons have all the same content as our SATs revision programme, but your child has two lessons per week instead of one, so they can cover twice the material in the same amount of time!

If you are ready to see first hand how Matr can help your child boost their maths skills ahead of their SATs, book a free lesson now.

The overall attainment of children in your child’s school

Your school will present you with information about the overall attainment of the children in Year 6 at your child’s school.  

This should be presented as a percentage. 

The overall attainment of children nationally

Your school will present you with information about the overall attainment of children in Year 6 nationally – we’ve unpicked this a bit further below.

SATs results 2019 explained: What does your child’s scaled score mean?

A scaled score of 100 is known as the ‘expected standard’.  

A scaled score of over 110 indicates that your child is working at ‘greater depth’ within the expected standard. This means their attainment sits within the top 10% of Year 6 children nationally.

A scaled score of under 100 means your child would be judged as ‘working towards’ the expected standard. The closer this score is to 100, the ‘closer’ your child is to being judged at working at the expected standard. 

But, remember, the SATs results are only a snapshot of your child’s ability

It’s important at this point in this post to take a step back, and remind ourselves that whilst schools sometimes get ‘obsessed’ with the scaled score children receive, these scores are only a snapshot of your child’s ability.

They measure how well they performed in the tests(s) on that specific day.  

It’s also key to remember that the tests only cover a small fraction of the things that make up your child’s ability, and an even smaller fraction of what makes your child unique and ‘them’.  

Therefore, whilst we understand that a scaled score of under 100 may be disappointing for you and your child, it’s important to remember it does not mean that they are ‘awful’ or ‘can’t do maths/reading’ etc.

Children have a wide range of talents, and they can’t all be represented by the SATs papers.

Check out this video from More Than A Score, which provides a very useful reminder of the very limited scope that the KS2 SATs test

SATs results 2019 explained: What is ‘secondary ready’ and the ‘combined standard’?

Schools are measured on the percentage of children who reach the expected standard in all three of reading, writing and maths. (The grammar test is not part of this measure). Some schools choose to report this to parents as well.

The government has started to term this publicly as being ‘secondary ready’ – but it certainly doesn’t mean your child isn’t ready for secondary school if they haven’t achieved the expected standard in the three subjects.   

However, if they haven’t gained the expected standard in one or two of the subjects, but have in the others, it gives you a good indication of the subjects your child may need more support in.

SATs results 2019 explained: What does the raw score mean?

Some schools may also present the ‘raw score’ for each subject.  

This is the actual number of marks gained on the tests.

These are of little relevance, as the scaled score is designed to allow you to compare performance. However, for reference, this scaled score is out of 50 for reading, 110 for maths, and 70 for grammar, punctuation and spelling.

SATs results 2019 explained: Progress score

Some schools may have also reported a progress score for your child.  

This is based on your child’s attainment at the end of Year 2 compared to their attainment now. 

Schools are given an average progress figure for all children in Year 6 for each subject. 

However, these scores are not seen by the government as being accurate/fair when taken on an individual pupil level. 

These therefore shouldn’t really be reported to parents, and if your child’s progress score has been reported to you, then ignore it, It’s not statistically relevant when looked at for just one child.

The KS2 SATS results 2019: The national headlines

The government has published the average attainment for Year 6 children nationally.  

At this stage, the government has only reported on the percentage of children who have achieved the ‘expected standard’.

We have looked through the data for you, and here are the key things you need to know as a parent: 

  • 65%of pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths combined. This is an increase of 1 percentage points from 2018, and an increase of 4 percentage points since 2017.
  • 79%of pupils achieved the expected standard in mathematics. This is an increase of 3 percentage points from 2018 and 4 percentage points from 2017.
  • 73%of pupils achieved the expected standard in reading. This is a decrease of 2 percentage points since 2018, but still 2% higher than in 2017.
  • 78%of pupils achieved the expected standard in writing, which is teacher assessed – which is the same proportion as in 2018. 
  • 78% of pupils achieved the expected standard in Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS), which was the same as 2018. Remember however that GPS results do not count towards the school accountability measures.
SATs results graph 2019

Source: Final KS2 data (2016 – 2018), Interim KS2 data (2019) https://www.gov.uk/

Does this mean the 2019 SATs tests were harder than previous years?

Many Year 6 children and teachers felt the SATs tests, especially in Maths, were much harder this year than in previous years.

 “There was a BIG cliff edge in difficulty – fairly straight forward questions for a while and then “wham” (to quote one of the children who sat the paper), it was straight down into questions with very high cognitive load, even if the content level was lower.”

Year 6 Maths Consultant

Officially, the government states that all tests each year are at the same level of difficulty, but we can get an indication of how they compared to previous years through the raw score (the score on the test) needed to gain each scaled score. 

This year, in maths, the raw score needed to gain a scaled score of 100 (i.e the expected standard) for Maths is 58.  

This is a decrease of 3 raw score marks compared to 2018, where the raw score needed was 61. 

This is also the second lowest raw score needed to gain 100 since the new style SATs tests were introduced four years ago.  

Interestingly, the scaled score needed to be assessed at working at greater depth (i.e. a scaled score of 110) has only decreased by 1 mark compared to 2018.   

This strongly suggests the tests favoured children who were very secure in maths and working above the expected standard, and therefore that the vast majority of children nationally found the test much harder than previous years.

Remember, it’s not just Year 6 content that is being tested in the SATs

This year, in the KS2 SATs papers for maths, 54.1% of content was from outside the Year 6 programme of study.  

This means that the maths that children learnt in Years 3, 4 and 5 is really important.  

This, of course, is to be expected, as maths knowledge and skills build upon each other, which is why a firm foundation of basic maths skills is essential

This is something we focus on here at Matr, and if you would like to find out more about how we do this, you can do so here.

Complete Guide to the KS2 SATs for Year 6 Parents and Carers

Download our FREE Guide to the Year 6 SATs to get all the information you need on the upcoming exams!

KS2 SATs results 2019: The next steps for your child

Regardless of their results, it is important that you know how you can best support your child after the SATs:

  1. School’s out for summer, but maths shouldn’t be

Regardless of your child’s score, it’s important that your work with them to keep their maths knowledge and skills relevant over the summer break and to avoid the summer slide.

It is very easy for maths skills to reduce over the long break from school. This is especially the case with mental calculation skills. 

Therefore, take some time to play maths games and give your child the opportunity to practise and use these key skills within ‘real life’ situations over the break. 

If you are looking for some ideas about how you can prevent the dreaded summer slide from happening to your child this year, take a look at our blog. 

  1. Talk to your child’s school if their results are not what you expected

It may be worthwhile talking to your child’s school about how they feel your child’s score in the test reflects their actual ability.   

If they agree that the score is a fair reflection, then it may be worthwhile exploring ways in which to help your child ‘catch up’ on key areas of maths over the summer, so they are ready for a strong start in secondary school.

  1. Help your child enjoy the summer holidays

If your child has just sat the Year 6 SATs, they will be preparing to make the transition into secondary school which whilst exciting, can also be stressful for them. 

That’s why over the summer break it is important to help your child relax and enjoy their time away from the classroom. We know that learning shouldn’t be forgotten about altogether, but a trip to the cinema or swimming pool is a great way to move on from the SATs. 

  1. Remind your child that SATs are not the be all and end all

This is something that we have touched upon earlier in the post, but if your child is worried about their SATs results it is important that you remind them that you are proud of them for sitting the tests and doing their best. 

The post-SATs period is a fantastic time to give your child the chance to become immersed in all of the other skills they may have that the SATs could not show. Whether you’ve got a budding musician, athlete or even geologist on your hands, the summer holidays can be the time when non-academic skills come to the fore. 

  1. Consider expert help to plug any remaining gaps in your child’s knowledge

Even with the best intentions, it can be difficult to find the time to help your child sustain their learning over the summer holidays. That is why it could be a good time to consider getting some expert help in to support and challenge your child in the run up to starting secondary school in September.

Beating the summer slide with maths tuition

Here at Matr we can provide online 1-to-1 maths SATs tutoring for your child, to help them build up their confidence in the subject and ensure that they are properly prepared for life in Year 7. To find the right programme for your child, take a look here. 

Last but by no means least, take some time to relax!

The tests have been taken, results have been reported on, and the summer holidays will be here soon.

This means that it is time to relax, forget about the SATs and enjoy some family summer adventures!

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