In just under 3 days time my eldest will be settling down into his chair in a school classroom about to sit one of the many tests that he will take that week. The week beginning of 12th May will be the week that my son will take the compulsory KS2 Statutory Assessment Tests along with many other Year 6 pupils throughout the country.
“The KS2 SATs are the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Tests that every child takes when they reach year 6, the final year of primary school. They are important for your child because their results usually reflect what your child has learned throughout their primary school years. They also help your child to pin point their areas of strengths and weaknesses, but are also equally important to the school as the SATs results are reported to the DfES with individual schools performances published in performance tables, usually referred to as `league tables`. As with KS1 and KS3, the end of KS2 statutory assessments are part of the Government`s commitment to raising standards. Each LEA is also judged on the performance of its schools and compared nationally.”-satsguide.com
On a recent visit to my son’s school, whilst attending the Year 6 parents SATS Explained meeting, we was told that the results would also be helpful to our children’s future senior school as they would be able to place the children into groups of ability once they start in September, but most senior schools make children sit tests again once starting as a child may not show their full potential on SAT day down to just having a bad day. Children are also assessed throughout their time in year 6 by their teachers, known as Teachers Assessment, they are tested on English and Maths. The Teacher assessment can help to judge a child’s performance in a subject over a longer period of time. The results are equally important, as a teacher may feel your child is doing better in a subject as a whole than in the parts of it covered by a test.
In our school children have been given extra lessons so that they are ready to sit the tests, in the past few months my Jak has been sitting in extra lessons in Maths and English, called SATS booster lessons, not only has he been revising to take a level 3-5 paper but also a level 6 one too. If put through to sit the level 6 in all tests he will be sitting 8 tests in 4 days, that’s ridiculous for an 11 year old!
The SAT tests consists of a reading test, a grammar, punctuation and spelling test, a mental mathematics test and a written mathematics test, if your child is sitting a level 6 paper then they have to do both the 3-5 and the level 6. On one day he will be doing 3 maths tests each being about 50 minutes long.
I am happy for my son to sit the higher paper but it does worry me about the pressure that they are being put through to achieve a high pass. My Jak doesn’t work well under pressure and can make himself quite sick from worrying, he knows he can achieve the impossible if he put his mind to it but under pressure he forgets all that he has learnt and worries too much. The marks that the children will receive from these papers mean more to the school than the child, Yes as a parent I get to see how he has improved over the year and Yes it is nice to find out that your child has passed a specific test and achieved a higher mark than average but at what cost? So that my child can worry for weeks prior to the test, become withdrawn, not eat and suffer from sleepless nights.
Once my son starts in his secondary school in September he will be tested again on entry, so why do both? So the junior school can look good on the performance table?
I have told Jak that he should try his best but not to worry as he will not be letting anyone down, especially his parents. I have printed off work sheets for him to do at home (which is something that i have always done for my children, whether there is a test or not) he studies at home online on websites that we have joined like Studyladder and 10ticks, these sites are not only fun but they learn too. I have printed off a few papers for us to look through together so that he knows the format of the questions and I am sure this is what he has been doing in school too, good websites to get these papers from are testbase and sats-papers, each giving you the choice to download past papers. Don’t get me wrong he doesn’t spend his days at home revising, he has a busy active lifestyle where he attends chess, judo, running, athletics and drama clubs so he only probably fits in about the 10 minutes a day if that.
I don’t care if he doesn’t achieve a high mark in the papers as he and I know that throughout this final school year Jak has improved dramatically in his education and on a few pieces on school work he has been awarded very high marks, so we know where he is academically a result in a SAT test will not change what he knows he can do.
Is Jak ready to sit the tests? As ready as he could ever be! Yeah he could have revised more and yes he could have given up his extra curriculum activities for the past few months and concentrated solely on revising but what for? As soon as this week is over I will reward him with a great big hug and a huge knicker bocker glory (his favourite) as no matter the outcome he will always be MY SON JAK, no level is going to change that!
I would like to wish every year 6 child who is sitting their SATs next week a very big fat GOOD LUCK and just remember relax and don’t worry 🙂