SATs results show rising standards in maths

Interim SATs results show an increase in maths attainment among KS2 pupils, while overall 65% pupils reached the “expected standard”, passing the scaled benchmark score of 100 or more.

In most key subjects, raw marks were lowered to meet the increase in difficulty in this year’s assessments, to maintain the use of converted scale scores as an accurate comparison. Most significantly, lowering the boundaries for maths was met by an increase of 3% on last year, with
79% of pupils at least meeting the expected standard.

Of concern, however, was a 2% decline in reading standards, with 73% pupils achieving the expected minimum, despite no overall change in difficulty in the paper as indicated by the raw score needed remaining at 28 out of 50. Without comprehensive and universal literacy education, findings by EEF indicate that those in highly disadvantaged areas operating below the minimum expectation face worrying prospects.

However, an increase in difficulty did not affect attainment in the grammar, punctuation and spelling papers, maintaining a 78% expected standard. Performance in the writing teacher assessment remained high with 78% achieving the expected standard or “working at greater depth”.

Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb has praised the results of the reformed National Curriculum Assessments. “These results show the majority of pupils are leaving primary school ready to deal with the challenges of secondary school.”

“We reformed these tests in 2016 to make sure they assessed schools’ performance in equipping pupils to understand the new, improved primary curriculum. These skills will give them the chance to make the most of their potential – this is at the heart of the reforms we’ve introduced across the
education system since 2010.”

“It’s testament to the hard work and dedication of teachers that we have seen results rising over time despite the bar of expectation having been raised.”

However, a study from the NEU illustrates that 97% of primary school teachers want the high stakes tests to be scrapped. Those surveyed supported the NEU campaign for “a sensible alternative” to the tests, which they argue are damaging children and narrowing the curriculum. There has been increasing concern in the sector that the tests put undue stress on children, with numerous reports of pupils suffering anxiety as a result of the pressures of testing.

Regional figures will be available from September.

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