In 2014, the DfE released a report on its consultation for National Curriculum tests. The changes go into effect this summer term. Year 6 SATs are scheduled for May. The exams are more rigorous than those in the past and there is a new marking scheme.
All children will sit exams in reading, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and maths. Science may be offered to some students.
Reading: Students will be asked to rank or order events in a story; find words that highlight some aspect of a story; and write short responses, for instance, “What does the bear eat?”; and open ended responses, explaining aspects of a text with examples – “How does the writer increase tension? Explain fully with examples from the text.”
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling: There are two parts to this aspect of the examination, a 45 minute grammar and punctuation paper and a 20 minute spelling paper with words and sentences read by the teacher. For the punctuation assessment, not only are students required to add punctuation, but to also explain why a specific punctuation mark is required. In the grammar section, some terms like subjunctive may not be familiar to students. In fact, it is rarely used in English and I choke, cough and cry every time I have to remember the subjunctive form when asked to explain it to someone.
Maths: There are three maths papers, an arithmetic paper and two reasoning papers. The arithmetic paper examines basic skills, including addition, subtraction, multiplication and long division. Work must be shown. The reasoning papers have multiple choice and true and false questions, along with completing charts and tables and drawing a shape or identifying points on a net. Students will also have to explain how they would solve specific problems.
We have been “sneaking in” papers during sessions with most of the students who will be sitting the examination this year. We have been working on the papers together. Please let me know if you have any questions about the exams.