Key Stage 2 Test Changes for 2016 (SATS)

What do I need to know?
  • Assessment of the curriculum

The assessment and content of the curriculum is changing for 2016. If your child goes into year 6 in September 2015 onward, then they will be affected by these changes.

Testing is to be more prescriptive; that is based more on actual content and topics taught, rather than general ability.

This should be easier to measure and more reliable when comparing results, but is not anticipated to be as good at actually demonstrating how well a child uses their knowledge.


Reading and writing will now be separated, and equal weighting is given to all three subjects including maths. This means that English is now more significant, especially writing, which had previously been seen as of less worth assessment wise.

  • It’s getting harder

The curriculum is tougher. A threshold of 85% for each subject means that schools will be targeting and planning for 85% of pupils achieving all three, and because of these changes, they will be focussing more strongly on writing skills than before.

In addition the tests will be measured against ‘norms’ for the target population. Baseline testing, which means that a pupil is measured against the average performance for their age. No account is to be taken of any additional challenges faced by some schools.

The introduction of the new spelling, punctuation, and grammar test will be challenging for many pupils especially when you take all this into account.

  • Tests are being changed to reflect the curriculum

The tests will be upgraded to reflect the new curriculum, and this includes the SPAG test, which has so far been based on the easier bits of the old curriculum.  The new curriculum includes additional material e.g. ‘subjunctive mood’ and ‘passives with and without agents’. It is certainly no longer an easy test. Many teachers and students alike will find aspects challenging.

  • Reporting to parents

The DfE have intimated that reports to parents will have to feature the rank order of the child against others in the school and against local and national norms.

At the end of Year 6, children will sit tests in:

  • Reading
  • Maths
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar

These tests will be both set and marked externally, and the results will be used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables). Your child’s marks will be used in conjunction with teacher assessment to give a broader picture of their attainment.


The reading test will provisionally be a single paper with questions based on one 800-word text and two passages of 300 words. Your child will have one hour, including reading time, to complete the test.

There will be a selection of question types, including:

  • Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show the order in which they happen in the story’
  • Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title of the story’
  • Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that suggests what the weather is like in the story’
  • Short constructed response, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
  • Open-ended response, e.g. ‘Look at the sentence that begins Once upon a time. How does the writer increase the tension throughout this paragraph? Explain fully, referring to the text in your answer.’

Marks will be allocated as follows:

Subject area Percentage of overall mark
Themes and conventions 0-10%
Making inferences 20-40%
Comprehension 40-60%
Language for effect 10-25%

Key Stage 2 grammar, punctuation and spelling test

The grammar, punctuation and spelling test will consist of two parts: a grammar and punctuation paper requiring short answers, lasting 45 minutes, and an aural spelling test of 20 words, lasting around 15 minutes.

The grammar and punctuation test will include two sub-types of questions:

  • Selected response, e.g. ‘Identify the adjectives in the sentence below’
  • Constructed response, e.g. ‘Correct/complete/rewrite the sentence below,’ or, ‘The sentence below has an apostrophe missing. Explain why it needs an apostrophe.’

The marks will be allocated as follows:

Paper Subject area Overall percentage of mark
Grammar and punctuation Grammar


Language strategies




Spelling Spelling 29%

Key Stage 2 maths

Children will sit three papers in maths:

  • Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes
  • Papers 2 and 3: mathematical fluency, solving problems and reasoning, 40 minutes per paper

Paper 1 will consist of fixed response questions, where children have to give the correct answer to calculations, including long multiplication and division. Papers 2 and 3 will involve a number of question types, including:

  • Multiple choice
  • True or false
  • Constrained questions, e.g. giving the answer to a calculation, drawing a shape or completing a table or chart
  • Less constrained questions, where children will have to explain their approach for solving a problem

The marks will be allocated as follows:

Subject area Percentage of overall mark
Number, ratio and proportion and algebra 65-75%
Measurement, geometry and statistics 25-35%

Key Stage 2 science

Not all children in Year 6 will take science SATs. However, a number of schools will be required to take part in science sampling: a test administered to a selected sample of children thought to be representative of the population as a whole. (Monday 6 to Friday 17 June is the science sampling test period in which your child might sit the tests.) For those who are selected, there will be three papers:

  • Biology: 25 minutes, 22 marks
  • Chemistry: 25 minutes, 22 marks
  • Physics: 25 minutes, 22 marks

Sounds very intimidating, but these are ‘questions in a physics/chemistry/biology context’, for example:

Biology: ‘Describe the differences in the life cycle of an amphibian and a mammal’

Chemistry: ‘Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas’

Physics: ‘Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on where the poles are facing’

  • When will KS2 SATs take place in 2016?

The Year 6 KS2 SATs will be administered in the week commencing 9 May 2016.

Sample papers and further information can be found here: 2016-key-stage-2

  • What can I do to help my child?

Helping your child at home will be of great benefit in ensuring that they are prepared for this testing.

You could buy a CGP study book.

Use the sample papers on the government website.

Come to our information evening on 17th September 2015 7.30pm call or email to book a place.

Download an app.

Book your child in for tutoring from Worcester Learning Zone by calling 01905 780480 or email