SATs in year 2 - is it really necessary???

(216 Posts)
Notcontent Wed 22-May-13 22:19:48

Ok, so I am not British so find a lot of things perplexing!!

But I just find the while idea of testing 7 year olds a bit pointless and also have concerns that at such an early stage judgments may be made about their ability - because really, at 7 children are at many different stages of development. To cite an example, my dd didn't get reading at all in reception. She slowly started getting it in year 1 and then this year, in year 2, she has really flown through all the levels and is now a great reader at lime level. Her maths is ok, but she is just starting to get it, and I hate the idea of someone making a judgment about it.

Hassled Wed 22-May-13 22:25:57

You have to look at it as a test of the school, rather than a test of the child. When your DD started Reception she would have been assessed in some way - so has she made progress from then? If she was above average then, is she significantly above average now? And then in 4 years time, where will she be? No-one can tell if the school is actually doing the right things in an effective manner without some sort of yardstick, and so they'll use (in part) these results to predict where she "should" be in Yr 6. You do need the data.

There are so many variables and there is an awful lot wrong with the system, but no-one will be making a judgement about her on the back of these tests - if she needs extra help, they will already know that.

MaybeBentley Wed 22-May-13 22:31:33

I can't see the point in the actual tests in Year 2 if it just part of teacher assessment. Is it because the government can't trust teacher assessment, so need a formal test to check?

freetrait Wed 22-May-13 22:31:45

I think they should scrap the tests. But they brought them in as some schools weren't teaching children anything. Big generalisation but you get the idea.....

Notcontent Wed 22-May-13 23:12:47

But that's my point Hassled - I don't thing looking at their progress now is an accurate prediction of where they will be in year 6.

Anyway, that's just my personal opinion!!!

ReallyTired Wed 22-May-13 23:21:03

Year 2 SATS aren't important and will not decide your child's future. Most schools use them as a way of picking up special needs.

If your daughter is less than a level 2 in any subject then there is a problem and the school needs to address it. Keystage 1 SAT score are all teacher assessment and the tests are just there to back up teacher assessment.

If a child produces level 3 work consistantly in class and gets 2A in the test then they will problably get a level 3. If by some fluke a child gets level 3 in a test, but never produces level 3 work then they will not get a level 3.

In most schools seven year olds have no idea that they are being tested.

PastSellByDate Thu 23-May-13 05:08:28

Hi Notcontent:

Agree with what Hassled and ReallyTired have to say.

Also not educated in UK and find system strange, but I suspect if you look into how things are done in your home country some form of standardised testing controlled by the state is undertaken to ensure that children are reaching the notional targets for attainment and tax payers money is being spent appropriately (i.e. value for money). PISA (www.oecd.org/pisa/) wouldn't exist unless countries were regularly implementing standardised tests.

For Y2 most of the results are based on teacher assessment rather than the standardised tests, although the children will also sit those. In fact the likelihood is that the will sit optional SATs in Y3, Y4 and Y5 as well. My impression is that the standardised test results are used to 'back up' the teacher's assessment.

Should you be worried or upset by it? Frankly, no. It's a safety net and a useful alarm bell for you. If your DC's results come back great (NC Level 3) or good (NC Level 2) you'll feel content and pleased that your DC is on track. If they come out low (NC Level 1) which was the case for DD1 for me - that's a real wake-up call. It alerted me to the fact that whatever was going on at school it wasn't working. For us, the solution was an on-line maths tutorial and more regular practice (little and often) to help DD1 'get it' with maths.

I'm every so grateful that the KS2 SATs came along. I had been asking questions since late Y1 at the school, but was constantly being told that 'In England' we do it this way, or things are much more relaxed, etc.... I wondered how never having a formal sum to work with could be a good thing. DD1 seemed to be endlessly colouring in patterns for maths homework and it wasn't solving the problem - literally - she couldn't subtract and could only add up to 20, by counting fingers and toes (skills she took from nursery school by the way).

It's the system. It's not going to change and you really can't buck it. So my advice is to embrace those bits of it that you respect or can see benefit your DC and if you think it is useless - that's actually brilliant - it will help your DC not to be so wound up about tests.

One of the very interesting things I've observed is at home DD1 talks eagerly about her mock SATs she's been sitting this week (she actually is enjoying them now that we've put in all sorts of extra work to make up lost ground) - but at school she moans with the best of them. It really is important to teach children to take these things in their stride as early as we can - because they will have years of standardised testing and exams ahead of them - there's no avoiding it.

Whether necessary or not, they are statutory. It used to be that only test results were reported so at least the use of teacher assessment is a step forward.

Y2 results are a good indicator of their likely Y6 levels and are not used to detect SEN as teachers should have spotted difficulties well before the end of Year 2.

mrz Thu 23-May-13 06:58:13

I think it is more accurate to say Y2 results are used to set targets for Y6 rather than they are a good indicator.

On the positive side ...in 2014 we will have a new curriculum and Mr Gove has stated he will scrap NC levels ... on the negative side ... he hasn't said how children will be assessed.

Feenie Thu 23-May-13 08:05:40

Also, they are just teacher assessment - exactly like the teacher assessment that starts the second your child enters the door in Reception until they leave in Y6.

Unless we know what your child can do, we won't know what to teach them next! Does that also make you 'have concerns that at such an early stage judgments may be made about their ability'? It's just a normal part of teaching.

The only differences are: the assessment has to be supported in small part by a test, they have to be reported to parents (although many schools now choose to do this annually anyway) and the assessment is used by the government to set Y6 targets.

Feenie Thu 23-May-13 08:12:54

If your daughter is less than a level 2 in any subject then there is a problem and the school needs to address it.

We would be addressing a 2C - or any other result which wasn't indicative of a child's true ability.

PastSellByDate Fri 24-May-13 16:30:20

Feenie:

Fantastic news. That was my impression of what should come to pass at normal schools.

Sadly our school takes the view 'children develop at their own speed' quite literally and don't really feel it's their job to intervene.

Pancakeflipper Fri 24-May-13 16:34:22

It's not testing the child.
It's testing the school. It's seeing if they are delivering and if children are showing progression. From that info teachers can make changes. They can spot weaknesses and look into how to improve things.

My DS1 did these SATS last year and his class never even noticed they were doing a few days of tests.

Feenie Fri 24-May-13 16:41:03

It's a teacher assessment, and it most certainly does teacher assess the child aswell as the school. Individual targets for children are set buy the government from the result of the assessment - of course it is about the child, same as every other teacher assessment in any other term in any other year.

lljkk Fri 24-May-13 16:44:34

It would be very bad form if the children weren't formally assessed and monitored in a fairly consistent way. We can nitpick about many aspects (like how info is recorded or shared or interpreted) but the principle is pretty difficult to disown.

I think true that children can plateau or soar away; that said, I seem to be the only MNer whose child yr3 levels were far above what y2 SATs had suggested. Either the other parents of children like mine keep schtum or there may be some inbuilt biases in the assessment system.

Feenie Fri 24-May-13 16:51:28

Were they separate infant and junior schools, lljkk?

lljkk Fri 24-May-13 17:28:06

y2 & y3 were same school, Feenie.
y2 teacher was NQT and I think perhaps overly cautious in her assessments (maybe).
It's not a problem just amusing compared to more common story heard.
DS is now 13yo & a committed underachiever. angry

ipadquietly Fri 24-May-13 20:02:45

A cynic may say that SLT suggested to the NQT to be cautious, so that the school can show outstanding progress from Y2 to Y6.

mrz Fri 24-May-13 20:09:54

while risking the wrath of OFSTED for a dip in KS1 hmm

primarymonkeyhanger Fri 24-May-13 21:49:53

As a teacher of year 2 I hate SATS but strangely the kids love them?! They relish the challenge and like knowing their level and next steps. I always go with the teacher assessment as many of my kids scored really highly in reading because they had practised their info retrieval skills but pace and accuracy is low. They will get the level that reflects their ability not the one that makes me or the school look good, in my heart I know that id the right decision.

Feenie Fri 24-May-13 21:51:59

I always go with the teacher assessment

That's good of you, since that's what the statutory regulations say you have to do.

ipadquietly Fri 24-May-13 22:12:02

Not necessarily mrz. Some schools (dare I say it?) have been known to understate their EYFS scores as well. (I know for a fact that a YR teacher in a school not too far from mine was 'advised' by the HT to drop the scores by a point or two.)

Ofsted doesn't check for integrity.

mrz Fri 24-May-13 22:14:28

No but low results in EYFS or KS1 can trigger a visit.

Feenie Fri 24-May-13 22:14:45

Our Ofsted just did this week - scoured books, especially Y2 and Reception.

ipadquietly Fri 24-May-13 22:26:50

mrz Yes, I agree. But if you are in a school where low results would be 'acceptable' looking at the intake, then the system is open to abuse. On the old scores, you'd only have to drop EYFS 5s to 4s (just the one point), and suddenly, getting those children to 2c at the end of KS1 looks 'good'. Progress to 4a/5c by the end of KS2 looks good-outstanding.

Feenie. That was fortunate. Our books (all 14 classes-worth) were 'scoured' during a 20 minute assembly.

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