National Curriculum Assessment

Update –  Key Stage 2 Assessment Week

Please see the Annual Calendar for this year’s National Curriculum Assessment dates.

Key Stage 2 SATs

What tests do children take at the end of Year 6?

There are papers in three subject areas:

In 2021, the Key Stage 2 SATs will take place during the week starting Monday 9th May 2022. Tests are strictly timed, but children will be given breaks between the papers.

  • Monday 9th May 2022: English grammar, punctuation and spelling papaers 1 & 2
  • Tuesday 10th May 2022: English Reading
  • Wednesday 11th May 2022: Mathematics papers 1 & 2
  • Thursday 12th May 2022: Mathematics paper 3

How are the tests marked, and what do the scores mean?

At Key Stage 2, the SATs papers are marked externally by trained markers. The mark your child gets in each test is called the raw score (out of 50 for reading, out of 110 for mathematics, and out of 70 for English grammar, punctuation and spelling). This raw score for each test will be translated into a scaled score, which will show how well your child has done against the expected standard.


Are there any example questions I can look at?

The Department for Education has produced free sample papers for the KS2 SATs 


Key Stage 1 SATs

This academic year, the Key Stage 1 SATs will take place in May 2022.

Practise Materials

You can download practise test materials for KS1  here.

What tests do children take at the end of Year 2?

There are papers in:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling

Your child’s school will decide when in May to administer the tests. Tests are not strictly timed and children will be given breaks between the papers.

How are the tests marked?

At Key Stage 1, the teachers in your child’s school will mark the SATs papers. The mark your child gets in each test is called the ‘raw score’ (out of 40 for Reading, out of 60 for Mathematics, out of 40 for Grammar, punctuation and spelling). This ‘raw score’ for each test will be translated into a ‘scaled score’, which will show how well your child has done against the expected standard.


Will my child be given a Level?

No. The system of levelling related to the previous National Curriculum and has been replaced with standardised scaled scores.


Are there any example questions I can look at?

Yes. The Department for Education has produced some free sample papers for the Key Stage 1 SATs tests that you can download.


Key Stage 1 Reading

There are two papers in the Reading test, each worth 20 marks. Each may include fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Children answer comprehension questions to show their understanding of the texts.

In Paper 1, children are given a booklet that contains a selection of short texts to read. There are questions to answer at various points within each text with space for children to write their answers.

In Paper 2, children are given a booklet of longer texts and questions in a separate answer booklet.

What kinds of questions are there?

There will be a mixture of question types. In some, your child will need to choose an answer (selected responses). For others, they will need to write their own answer (short and extended responses).


Key Stage 1 Mathematics

There are two papers in the Mathematics test. One focuses on simple arithmetic . One focuses on mathematical reasoning.

In Paper 1: arithmetic, children answer questions to test their fluency with number and calculation skills. They may not use calculators, rulers or any number apparatus to help them.

In Paper 2: reasoning, children answer questions to test their understanding of number, measures, geometry and statistics. Some questions involve a problem-solving context. Some questions prompt children to show their working.


Key Stage 1 English grammar, punctuation, and spelling

There are two papers in the English grammar, punctuation, and spelling test . The first paper is an aural spelling test. The second test includes questions on grammar, punctuation and vocabulary.

In Paper 1: spelling, children are given an answer booklet containing 20 sentences with a missing word in each sentence. For each sentence, your child’s teacher will read aloud the missing word, then the whole sentence, and then the missing word again. Children must spell the missing word correctly, including any necessary capital letters or apostrophes, to gain a mark.

In Paper 2: questions, children are given a booklet containing various questions that assess their understanding of grammar, punctuation and vocabulary.

Phonics Screening Test - Year 1
What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England, and is usually taken in June. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.
What is in the phonics screening check?

There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5–10 minutes.

You can download a copy of the 2018 Phonics screening check and 2019 Phonics screening check from the website, here.


What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?

It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills.

There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.


What does it check?

It checks that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.


What are nonsense or pseudo words and why are they included?

These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.

The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.


How will my child be scored? Is there a pass mark?

The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.

For the last few years, the threshold mark (or pass standard) set by the government has been 32 correct answers out of 40.


What happens to the results?

The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority, but the results won’t be published in a league table as with SATs. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.


What can I do to help my child?

Check with your child’s teacher if there are any particular areas that you should focus on at home so that you are working together to support your child.Visit the Phonics made easy page on the Oxford Owl website for further hints, tips and videos to help you learn more about phonics and how you can help your child in the most effective way.