SATs: one tiny little acronym that can strike dread into parents, children and teachers alike. With exactly six months to go before Year 6 pupils sit their end of key stage 2 tests, we’ve produced a mini-series of SATs support for parents. In this second instalment, we look at how you can make sure the thought of these tests and the actual experience isn’t too stressful for your child (or for you)!
How do I know what they need to practise?
Use parent teacher conferences to identify areas of development and strong points. Knowing what children find easy means you can implement some exercises in that topic to ensure they experience success, and also means you can build on it. If your child knows how to use commas really well, they will find semicolons and colons; making the link between units is really helpful.
You can also use Gap Analysis on the Parent Dashboard to find out where children need more practice. Provide opportunities for them to do so, whether that’s through revision sessions at home with a family member, or simply using it in real life. You can also add Extras from the Parent Dashboard, which provides a 15 question targeted lesson.
How should we practise?
Children should not be encouraged to cram in extended revision sessions right before the tests in May. Instead, practising little and often throughout the year is a much more manageable and effective strategy.
The best thing a child can do to prepare for the English tests is to read lots and to read widely. They should try texts they wouldn’t necessarily usually read, including fiction, non-fiction, diaries, newspapers and other formats, and should make sure that they’re reading texts which push them a little bit.
A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to look at a page and immediately identify around three words which your child may not know or understand. They should then make sure they use a dictionary or ask someone to clarify the meaning, and possibly write it down in their own personal dictionary.
For punctuation and grammar, again, reading widely shows them where and when these structures can and should be used. For more explicit practice, try using DoodleEnglish! With detailed content covering vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and comprehension, DoodleEnglish covers all Key Stage 2 content covered in the national curriculum.
How do I make sure my child isn’t stressed?
SATs are used to determine how well schools have taught their children and to gauge how much progress a child has made from the end of key stage 1 to the end of key stage 2. While we all want children to do well in them, this is because we want the children to feel that they have done their best and achieved what they are capable of doing.
The results from these tests are unlikely to impact your child’s secondary education. Results may be used to put children into ability groups, but secondary schools are equally likely to retest students at the beginning of term.