SATs - explaining why they are important to my Y6 DS

(151 Posts)
JustADadHere Sun 11-May-14 21:55:51

My son is currently in a state primary but will be going to an independent secondary school. He is sitting all the Level 6 SATs. He is questioning me as to why SATs are important and why people are getting so stressed about them versus any other assessment. I haven't told him that his secondary school will in all likelihood ignore his SATs results.

What do you think I can tell him? Why ARE they so important?

For your son they are not, so why not just tell him the truth? No one will ever ask him what level he got once he's left school or again even probably within the next year. If he was to fail spectacularly it wouldn't make any difference in the longterm.

wooldonor Sun 11-May-14 22:03:52

It depends on how you view them.

Personally I think they are a way for schools to be judged/ranked and have no real bearing on the child, that was the case for my children anyway. Luckily their school didn't make a big deal out of SATs so the question didn't come up but I've seen a suggestion on here that you say that the tests are just to check that the teachers have covered everything that's needed for secondary school and identify any areas to work on.

Would your son be happy with that?

CoilRegret Sun 11-May-14 22:06:15

They aren't important at all.

But they are good experience in taking tests in an exam setting.

MrsKCastle Sun 11-May-14 22:08:53

They're a way to judge schools.

noblegiraffe Sun 11-May-14 22:08:56

It'll be a good practice for sitting formal, external assessments. Now with KS3 SATs and modular exams gone, the next ones he will sit will be his GCSEs.

But they're not important to him personally. That doesn't mean he shouldn't take them seriously though, it's his chance to prove himself against all the other children of his age nationally.

Fram Sun 11-May-14 22:11:18

They're not important, only the school thinks they are, as they are judged on how many children they've crammed to pass them.

steppemum Sun 11-May-14 22:13:10

well, ds did 11+ and so really for him, these SATs are meaningless.

ds said today he thought he would just fill in the first answer he guessed and get a level 3. - he was only partly joking

I asked him if he liked the school, (yes) and the head (yes a lot) and if he thought they had done a good job teaching him (they have)

Well then, the sats might not make any difference to you, but they do make a difference to the school, so as a thank you to them, you give them your best shot. he could relate to that.

CoilRegret Sun 11-May-14 22:16:02

See, that wouldn't work for us.
The school is awful
The head should resign immediately
He has had some nice teachers, but this year his teacher resigned and he's been left with an array of bad substitutes.

Instead I've been going with bribery. Do as well as you can, for you, and I'll let you go on a special trip during school time. ;)

steppemum Sun 11-May-14 22:18:06

coil - we got him through 11+ on bribery, he didn't want to do it.
It worked!

CoilRegret Sun 11-May-14 22:25:06

We were lucky bought and moved from London to two streets from a great secondary with guaranteed place that we didn't have to bribe through 11+. Frankly I don't think I could have afforded the bribery ;)

As it is he's having a week away as an Um to visit relatives, and is camping at the Grand Prix.

angelcake20 Sun 11-May-14 22:37:14

DS is also going to independent secondary from state primary and is doing all the Level 6 SATs. I'm afraid that I have told him that they are not important but he will try his hardest for his own sense of achievement and I wouldn't expect anything else (there is also a fair amount of competition between the kids at school). They all did a lot of work preparing for entrance exams in September and January so I'm not aware of anyone who has done any preparation for them beyond that set by school and no one is stressed about them (school is being very good at keeping it low key). The kids are looking forward to the huge amount of food that they take it in turns to provide and a film afternoon on Friday.

TheEnchantedForest Sun 11-May-14 22:42:41

They are of some importance to the child...

secondary schools are given targets based on y6 results. FFT give targets/estimates to secondary schools that they are expected to achieve (and are judged on reaching) based on y6SATs results. Eg a L6 will translate to an estimated a* in y11. If, during secondary school years, your child is underachieving the school will have a vested interest in giving your child booster lessons/coaching etc in order for them to achieve an a* rather than just 'giving up' on your child because as they achieved a l4 it doesn't really matter if they 'only' achieve a c grade.

So yes, under the current system if measuring schoo,performance, the amount of intervention/support your child may get in y10/11 will be based in their y6 SATs results. Unfortunately.

mrz Mon 12-May-14 07:15:53

One of our Y6 boys said "They give me a chance to show off!" wink

mummytime Mon 12-May-14 07:34:01

They are not! And my DD has been told so.
Even at State secondary they are often not as important as CAT or MIDyrs tests, which are taken in the autumn, not prepared for and supposedly not trainable for.

What is important is that a child shouldn't "over achieve" if they have problems, as that can cut off help later (in my experience).

Your son just needs to use them as text practise, and not to annoy others taking the tests. Year 6s do also tend to talk about the results when they come out.

SixImpossible Mon 12-May-14 07:34:55

Our secondary does not set by the SATs, so they really are not at all important for the child's future. And as for them being good practice at taking exams in preparation for GCSEs - what nonsense! The GCSEs (or whatever they will be) are 5 years away!

SATs only mark how well a child can perform under e am conditions, and how well they cope with a term's-worth of boring revision.

They are useful. Unfortunately they put stupid pressure on schools to cram children.

For my dc SATs are:

An opportunity to show off their educations.
An opportunity to demonstrate how well their teachers have taught them.
An opportunity to prove to themselves that they can face a challenge.

Lucyccfc Mon 12-May-14 07:51:27

Thankfully our school does not put massive pressure on the kids regarding Sats. They have a meeting with parents to explain them and those that need extra help get it anyway.

Sats and levels are important to my DS and I because it helps me to understand how well he is doing and progressing and for him because he is hugely competitive and although he is only in year 4, he really wants to get a 6 across the board in his Sats. For him that is a personal target. It's def not come from me.

Until we have another system of assessment to see how kids are progressing and to see how well the school is doing, we are stuck with them as a method.

mrz Mon 12-May-14 08:05:23

Our secondary schools do use SAT results and they are used by the government to set targets for GCSEs

Blackjackcrossed Mon 12-May-14 09:28:01

I have told my dc that Sats results don't matter to his future, but they do matter for the school's league tables, his secondary school won't penalise him for an exam he took when he was 10, they are better than that - although I know many aren't. He wants to do his best and I have encouraged him to have pride in what he does for his own sense of self worth...just that if he screws up this week it's no big deal for him personally.

TeenAndTween Mon 12-May-14 09:28:20

mummytime What is important is that a child shouldn't "over achieve" if they have problems, as that can cut off help later (in my experience).

Ah, but you also don't want to under achieve as then they will have lower targets and that can also cut off later help (in my experience!).

LaQueenOfTheMay Mon 12-May-14 09:33:28

Here, the SATS aren't remotely important to us, reason being that DD1 has passed the 11+ and will go to a girls' grammar in September.

I know that the GS don't pay any attention the SATS results, and neither do they pay any attention to DD1's actual 11+ score.

All they're really interested in will be how she scores in the CAT tests she'll sit in week 3 at the GS. These scores will be used to predict her GCSE results, and what set she'll be put in.

DD1 sits her SATS this week, but she's very laid back about them - compared to the 11+ they're a walk in the park.

Blackjackcrossed Mon 12-May-14 09:38:11

Predictions are just that....dcs vary, some don't take too well to self study and fail to achieve at GCSE, some flourish at secondary and exceed expectations, the Sats do not hand you a successful academic future on a plate - your dc's input is enormously variable.
My ds was predicted a level 4b in Reading this year, he scored 5a in the last Sats mock...having a 4b predictor did not prevent him from achieving more than was expected of him.

mummytime Mon 12-May-14 10:57:41

Well the ideal would be to get slightly under if necessary at SATs but then to do really well in MIDYrs or CAT, the later will show they should be achieving high, the former can trigger some specific help in year 7.

LaQueenOfTheMay Mon 12-May-14 11:00:52

I think the usefulness of the CATS predictions is that the school can quickly see whether you're under achieving, or over achieving and react accordingly.

Blackjackcrossed Mon 12-May-14 11:08:35

My sil's dcs did really well in their Sats without much effort but they are lazy boys and their lack of effort caused their results to slide at secondary school and they moved from top sets to middle sets their confidence went down hill too. I compare that to ds's realisation that if he works he can achieve, when he faces something tricky he has learned that he can apply effort and push through, his confidence is soaring....after so many years of worrying about his poor scores at primary - they have been a blessing in disguise. Being put into a top set initially isn't always the best thing for a dc.

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