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KS1 SATS explained

SATs Scores Explained For KS1 Parents: Everything You Need To Know About Your Child’s SATs Results


As a parent, without having the SATs scores explained (KS1), it can be difficult to know how to react when you’re told what your child achieved in their primary school tests.

Terms like “scaled score”, “expected standard” and “national standard” are dotted throughout the information that comes with SATs results. If all of this has you scratching your head, then worry not as we are here to explain the KS1 and KS2 SATs scores for you


How are SATs marked?

SATs papers are marked differently depending on whether your child is in Key Stage 1 (Year 2), or in Key Stage 2 (Year 6) when they sit them.


How are SATs marked in KS1?

In Year 2, your child will sit official SATs in English and maths.

They are then marked by the class teacher. However, a small number of papers from the school may be sent to the local education authority to be moderated. This is purely to assess the quality and consistency of the marking as opposed to the work done by your child.


When and how will I get the SATs results?

Your child’s school will have received the provisional results for both the schools’ performance and your child’s individual performance by the end of July.

At this stage, the results are only provisional, as they are subject to additional checking by schools and teachers.


KS1 SATs Results (Year 2)

In Year 2, you are unlikely to be given your child’s KS1 SATs results unless you ask for them. However, you will be told whether or not your child is working at the expected standard as part of the teacher report that is presented at the end of KS1.


What you need to know about the SATs results of one year compared to another

The National SATs results record the percentage of pupils nationally who have met ‘the expected standard’ in the subject. This means they have achieved a scaled score of 100 or more. See below for more information on these.


School SATs results are much more variable than national results, so it’s not uncommon to see a drop or a rise of 30 or 40 points in percentage terms from one year to the next. If you think about it, just 3 children fewer out of a class of 30 achieving the expected standard from one year to the next will mean 10% fewer have passed their SATs that year. And inevitably there are differences between cohorts in a school.


You may also see wide variation between scores in different subjects at a school. This is why the ‘combined SATs score’ measure was introduced. It aims to ensure that schools are looked at for their success ‘in the round’ not just in their ability to get 100% of their children to reach the expected standard in maths.


What do the SATs scores mean?

When attempting to understand SATs scores, one source of confusion for many parents is the change that took place for the 2016 SATs.

Since 2016, the National Curriculum levels that were used to score SATs papers have been replaced by scaled SATs scores.

This scoring method is used for school assessments in countries all around the world, and it is seen as a fair method to use when looking at test results. It allows for differences in the difficulty of tests on a year-by-year basis, which in turn allows different cohorts’ results to be compared.


SATs scores explained for KS2 and KS1 parents – how does scaled scoring work?

To begin, your child will receive a raw score. This is simply the actual number of marks they achieved in their SATs.

Then, their raw score is converted into a scaled score and this is used to judge how well your child has done in their SATs paper.

There is a range of scaled scores available for both the KS1 and KS2 SATs.

In KS1, 85 is the lowest score available, and 115 is the highest.

In KS2, 80 is the lowest and 120 is the highest score your child could get.


What is an expected SATs score?

Scaled scoring can often leave parents wondering whether or not their child has attained a ‘good’ score in their SATs, but the system is actually quite simple to understand once the KS1 and KS2 SATs scores have been explained.

It is important to note that what you define as a ‘good’ SATs score obviously depends on the individual child, and the base they’re coming from. For example, a scaled score of 90 would be a great achievement for some pupils.


SATs scores for KS1

115 – This is the highest score a child can get in the KS1 SATs.

101-114 – Any score above 100 (including 115) means that a child has exceeded the expected standard in the test.

100 – This is the expected standard for children (and essentially means a ‘pass’).

85-99 – Any child that is awarded a scaled score of 99 or below has not met the expected standard in their KS1 SATs.

Further reading: Official government guidance on scaled scores at KS1