KS2 SATs Results 2017: What they mean, what they'll never tell you, & what to do next

By That Boy Can Teach 

KS2 SATs Results 2017 headteacher and SLT how to: ways to explain the Key Stage 2 national assessment results '17 to parents and primary school KS2 pupils, what to say to your Year 6 teachers and how to discuss national tests with your school staff.

KS2 SATs results are now out and according to the official data attainment in reading, writing and Maths has increased. The start presumably, of year on year improvement since the introduction of the new National Assessment testing regime.

The national KS2 SATS results 

To remind you, in case you need, it, these are the headline statistics:

  • 61 per cent of pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (compared to 53% in 2016)
  • 71 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard in reading
  • 76 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard in writing, which is teacher assessed
  • 75 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard in mathematics
  • 77 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard in spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG)

KS2 SATs results for Maths 2017 compared to 2016

This year 75% of children achieved the expected standard in the 2017 KS2 maths test whereas last year 70% of children passed the test.

The pass mark for the three maths papers combined this year went down by 3 marks, meaning children had to get 57 marks out of a possible 110 in order to get the 100 scaled score. The average scaled score in maths has increased from 103 to 104.

It will be interesting to see what the national picture is on where the marks came from in the maths test. The arithmetic test, now in its second year, is viewed by many as an easier way to get more marks as children use calculation skills alone, rather than comprehension skills which are needed in the reasoning tests, on which generally pupils struggled more.

To be sure you're on the right track for 2018 SATs, make sure you've read and understood these 15 lessons learnt from detailed analysis of the 2017 KS2 SATs Maths papers

What was your KS2 SATs experience in Maths?

In our school, the majority of the children who passed got 30 or more marks out of 40 in the arithmetic test. Nearly all of them also scored higher on the first reasoning paper (paper 2) than on the second one (paper 3) giving credence to the views that the second reasoning paper was more difficult (compare this review of the individual Arithmetic and Reasoning SATs papers).

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Free Maths SATs 2017 Question Buster

Over 80 lessons linked to each arithmetic & reasoning question from 2017 SATs

It is worth bearing in mind that Reasoning 2 was the last test taken and fatigue may have set in by that point! Even so, many of the children who passed scored upwards of an average of 20 marks on the reasoning papers. Third Space have created two sets of free practice SATs papers this year that can help prepare pupils more effectively for answering multiple questions in a SATs format. Often it's just a case of building up the stamina. 

Download free SATs Practice Papers Pack 1 (1 Arithmetic, 2 Reasoning)

Download free SATs Practice Papers Pack 2 (1 Arithmetic, 2 Reasoning)

Altogether we've been pleased with our results. We think they're a fair reflection of the work of staff and children over their years at primary (and particularly those Year 6 teachers, you know who you are!). But we know that won't be the case for all of you.

So now what?

Support your staff regardless of KS2 SATs results 

Remember, before thoughts turn to reporting to parents and letting children know their test scores, key staff members will need their leaders’ support. Especially the ones who’ve worked in Year 6. If results are good, then there is cause to celebrate. They deserve a little pat on the back, at the very least! 

If the results are not as expected or desired then, putting aside personal thoughts and feelings, it is a leader's responsibility to help staff come to terms with disappointment first and foremost.
SATs are a whole-school effort and the responsibility for results should not fall solely on the shoulders of the Year 6 teachers. For any kind of productive follow-up, teachers will need to feel trusted and supported by their leaders.

Conduct a post SATs results marking review 

There will always be those children who get a scaled score of 99. Those who have missed out on the pass mark by one or two marks. For these children, it is worth spending some time reviewing the marking.

It’s possible to print out the scripts from the NCA tools website and use the SATs mark schemes to check whether they have been accurately marked. On some occasions, marks can be found which will take the child beyond the pass mark. Though do bear in mind that test markers have a different mark scheme to the one that is published. 

With regards to submitting a review of marking, the official information from the Assessment and Reporting Arrangements document (ARA) reads:

“Schools can apply for a review of marking if they believe there is evidence that a mark scheme has not been applied correctly or a clerical error has occurred. The deadline for applications is Friday 14th July. Schools will be informed of the outcome of review applications on NCA tools on Monday 4th September.”

Note to reader: I have been told by an anonymous source who marked the tests this year that there have been problems with marking, so it is well worth spending some time checking for mistakes.

Further note: Some readers may also be aware of the #SATsshambles hashtag on twitter around certain marking inconsistencies. For more on this, see this TES article.

Report SATs results sensitively to children and parents 

Naturally, children will want to know their scores, and it is up to individual schools to decide how they will deal with this. Sensitivity is obviously key – no one would consider reading out a list of scores in front of the whole class. 

As such, you should consider alternative approaches. For instance, some schools give Year 6 teachers release time to sit with each child and explain their test results alongside teacher assessment data. This gives staff an opportunity to show their children that the test is not the be-all-and-end-all. It also lets them show them how what they know of the child throughout the year matters too. 

Schools are also required to provide a written report which includes results of national curriculum tests (including the scaled score) alongside teacher assessment judgments (see sections 9.1 and 9.2 in the ARA). 

Send a SATs results letter home

In the past few years, it has become popular for schools to send an accompanying letter explaining test results. These letters often detail how SATs only tell part of the story and explain how their children have achieved so much more than just a score during their time at primary school. 

Some of these have even gone viral on the internet! This approach certainly sends an appropriate message, but is down to the headteacher’s discretion – and creativity! 

Remember, as the ARA also states, “Headteachers must make arrangements for parents to discuss the report with their child’s teacher, if the parents request it.

Learn from your primary school’s KS2 SATs results

Perhaps the most important and most productive post-SATs results activity is to analyse what went well and what could be improved on.

Official question level analysis isn’t available yet, but as soon as it's out, we will be updating this blog where we analysed the 2016 SATs questions. But a general read-through of a few papers (particularly of children from target groups) will begin to show positive and negative trends in the tests. Use this detailed content breakdown of the 2017 KS2 Maths SATs when you start to look at papers.

Finally - look on the bright side of your 2017 SATs results!

It’s easy to forget to look for the positives, particularly with a bad set of results. However, they will be there. Successes for particular individuals or pupil groups, or certain complete tests that have gone well for your cohort are all causes to celebrate. 

It’s also worth looking at whether or not test data backs-up teacher judgments. If teacher judgments have shown good progress for your Year 6, and the test data matches, then progress made can be celebrated even if attainment isn’t ideal.

Importantly, the more negative trends can begin to form part of your plan for next year and can even inform the last couple of weeks’ work for Year 5 children. It’s an important part of the process not to just dwell on what went wrong, but to think forward to how to do it right next time.

Key administrative points following SATs results 

Official KS2 SATs results data 2017

To check the official results from DfE use this link.

Whether to disapply pupils for final data

Having pupils disapplied from a school’s results relies on strict criteria:

Schools can apply for pupils who have recently arrived from overseas to be discounted from performance tables calculations. To be discounted, a pupil must meet all 3 of the following criteria: they were admitted to an English school for the first time during the 2015 to 2016 or 2016 to 2017 school year; they arrived from overseas before their admission; English is not an official language of the country from which they came.” 

RAISEonline replacement service

RAISEonline will cease to exist at the end of July. Its replacement is called Analyse School Performance (ASP), and is now available for "testing and familiarisation" through the DfE's Secure Access portal. The new service uses the same data as in the existing RAISEonline reports. For more information watch the DfE’s YouTube video.SATs intervention for next year

If you're looking for Maths specialist support in your primary school, Third Space Learning are offering a free trial of their 1-to-1 Maths tuition for your pupils. They'll work online with their own Maths specialist tutor on a lesson selected by the class teacher. We think your pupils will love it, but we know you'll want to see it in practice before making any decisions.

Further reading for SATs 2017 (and a bonus for 2016)

Review of SATs 2017 - the good, the bad and the even better if!

Get ready for 2017 KS2 SATs with 3 free practice Year 6 Maths test papers

The bluffer's guide to 2017 Maths SATs: 15 lessons learnt

Key Stage 2 SATs results 2016 explained: 15 insights that will change how you teach Year 6 Maths in 2017

2017 SATs preparation roundup: 13 best free Maths KS2 SATs papers, resources and assessments

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