SATs Scores Explained: Demystifying KS1 and KS2 SATs Scores

SATs Scores Explained: Demystifying KS1 and KS2 SATs Scores

SATs results season can be a confusing time for parents. With a barrage of numbers and acronyms like “scaled score”, “raw score”, “expected standard”, “GDS”, and “EXS” (the list continues!), it can feel overwhelming. 

But not to worry. This guide is here to demystify KS1 and KS2 SATs scores, helping you understand your child’s performance and the assessment process. 

So whether your child is in Year 2 taking KS1 SATs or in Year 6 taking KS2 SATs, we’ve got all the answers you need to support your child on their educational journey. Here are SATs scores, explained.

Understanding SAT Scores: An Introduction

Explaining SATs pass marks, scaled scores and whether your child has to do SATs.

What is the SATs pass mark in 2024?

First things first, let’s discuss pass marks for SATs in 2024. While there’s no official pass mark, the magic number you need to know is 100. If your child achieves a score of 100 or more, they’re considered to be “meeting the expected standard” for their age group. This is what’s known as a “scaled score”.

  • For KS1, scaled scores range from 85 to 115.
  • For KS2, scaled scores range from 80 to 120. 

So, if your child scores 100, they’re doing exactly what’s expected for their age. Anything above that means they’re doing even better.

For more information on the structure and content of KS1 and KS2 SATs, as well as how to help your child prepare, read our comprehensive guide.

What is a scaled score for SATs?

Scaled scores sound technical, but they’re quite simple once you get the hang of it. 

A “raw score” is the total number of marks your child gets on their test. So if they get 50 out of 70 available points, their raw score would be 50. 

Since SATs papers vary in difficulty from year to year, raw scores are standardised and converted into scaled scores to ensure fairness. These scaled scores let examiners adjust for different questions each year. This means schools can make accurate comparisons of pupil performance over time.

As we’ve seen, in KS1, scaled scores range from 85 to 115. In KS2, scores range from 80 to 120. A score of 100 is set as the threshold for meeting the “expected standard” each year, regardless of how tough the test was.

To understand scaled scores in more detail, here’s an overview from the Standards and Testing Agency and last year’s KS2 conversion tables for comparing raw and scaled scores.

Do parents get their child’s SATs results?

Yes, you should receive your child’s SATs results. Children take these tests in May. They’re then marked, with schools notified about pupil results in July. 

  • For KS2 SATs, schools typically send the results home with the end-of-year report. These reports include your child’s scaled scores for each subject tested. 
  • For KS1 SATs, the process can be a bit different. Schools might not always report raw scores directly, but they’ll inform you if your child is meeting the expected standard, working towards it, or exceeding it. 

If you want more details about your child’s SATs performance, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s teacher.

Each school’s KS1 and KS2 SATs results are published by the Department of Education’s School Performance Service each December. This helps parents compare schools’ SATs performance across the country. You can search by individual schools, location, local authority or parliamentary constituency.

Does my child legally have to do SATs?

In short, yes. SATs are a statutory requirement in England, meaning all state-funded schools must administer these tests. It’s a Headteacher’s responsibility to ensure all students eligible for SATs do the tests.

However, there are exceptions for children with special educational needs (SEN) or other exceptional circumstances. If your child can’t take the tests for valid reasons, schools will usually provide alternative assessments or exemptions.

If this applies to you, talk to your child’s school as early as possible.

Year 6 SATs Levels: What You Need to Know

What score should you aim for, and do Year 6 SATs really matter for secondary school?

What is a good Year 6 SAT score?

When it comes to a “good” Year 6 SAT score, remember, there’s no pass or fail. SATs are designed to test your child’s understanding and application of the national curriculum.

So a good score entirely depends on your child’s abilities. The highest possible score in KS2 SATs is 120. Achieving a score of 100 or more means your child is meeting the expected standard. 

So really, anything above 100 is a “good” Year 6 SAT score. But a score of 90 might be an incredible achievement for some children.

For example, if your child scores 110, they’re performing above the expected standard. Scores of 115 or higher are considered excellent, putting your child at the top of their year group for academic abilities.

Do Year 6 SATs predict GCSE performance?

While Year 6 SATs scores aren’t direct predictors of GCSE performance, they give a good indication of your child’s academic abilities. 

Remember though, this is just a snapshot of your child’s progress. If your child didn’t achieve their SATs goals, don’t worry. There’s plenty of time before GCSE exams to work on key skills.

That said, secondary schools often use these scores to help group students in subjects like English and Maths. For instance, a child who scores highly in their Year 6 SATs might be placed in a higher set in Year 7, which could help them achieve higher grades in their GCSEs.

Do SATs in Year 6 matter?

Yes, Year 6 SATs do matter. 

They help measure your child’s academic progress and familiarise them with formal testing. Results are used to assess the school’s performance (a vital part of league tables) and they can also influence your child’s placement in secondary school sets.

However, remember that SATs are just one part of your child’s educational journey. They provide valuable information but should be considered alongside other assessments and teacher evaluations.

Most secondary schools use a combination of their own tests (such as Year 7 CATs) and teacher assessments in addition to SATs scores when streaming pupils. So rest assured SATs aren’t the be-all and end-all.

If you’re concerned about your child’s SATs performance, chat with their class teacher or reach out to a specialist academic coach. They’ll advise how to support your child over the next academic year.

SAT Scores Explained: Quickfire Numbers

Let’s jump into the numbers and what makes a “good” SATs score.

Is 110 in SATs good?

Yes, a score of 110 on SATs is considered very good. It means your child is performing above the expected standard (designated by a scaled score of 100). A score of 110 on SATs indicates a strong understanding and mastery of the subject matter.

Is 116 in SATs good?

Absolutely! A score of 116 is an excellent result for KS2 SATs. It places your child well above the expected standard, showing they have a very high level of proficiency in the tested areas. This score suggests that your child is excelling and ready for more advanced challenges.

What does 120 mean in SATs?

A score of 120 is the highest possible score in KS2 SATs. This indicates exceptional performance and mastery of the subject. A child scoring 120 is performing significantly above the expected standard and demonstrates outstanding academic ability.

Can you get 100% in SATs?

While it’s possible to answer all questions correctly, SATs scores are reported as scaled scores. The highest scaled score is 120 for KS2 and 115 for KS1. 

Achieving a scaled score of 120 (or 115 for KS1) means your child has performed at the highest level on the test, which could be equivalent to getting 100%.

What score do you need to get greater depth in SATs?

As well as the “standard” SATs results, your child receives a teacher assessment for key skills in Maths, Science, Reading and Writing. 

If you see a “GDS” on their results slip, it means your child is working well above the expected standard. To achieve “greater depth”, a child must demonstrate a high level of understanding and the ability to apply their knowledge in more complex ways.

There’s no specific score that automatically results in a “greater depth” classification, but if your child scores significantly above 100, this a good sign they’re performing at an advanced level.

As well as “GDS”, here are some other teacher assessment codes you might see:

  • EXS: Expected standard.
  • WTS: Working towards the expected standard.
  • HNM: Has not met the expected standard.
  • PKG: Pre-Key Stage. Working at a lower level than the key stage.
  • PKF: Pre-Key Stage Foundations. Working at a significantly lower level than the key stage.
  • BLW: Below Pre-Key Stage. The lowest level on SATs tests.

Would you like support for your child’s learning?

Understanding SATs scores is crucial for supporting your child’s educational journey. We hope this guide has demystified the scoring system, ensuring you can confidently interpret your child’s results. 

If you have questions or need additional support with your child’s learning, contact our expert team of tutors and academic coaches at Achieve Learning. We’re here to help your child excel at every step of their educational journey. 

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