This briefing paper provides information on SATs - or national curriculum assessments - in England. It looks at what is tested, when, and how the results are used. It also provides a brief overview of changes to primary assessment since 2010.Jump to full report >>
SATs, or national curriculum assessments, are assessments of primary pupils’ progress and attainment. They are currently taken at the end of key stage 1 (infant phase) and key stage 2 (end of primary/ junior phase).
At key stage 2, the tests are more formal and school-level results are published in national performance tables allowing for comparison with other schools. These are often known as league tables.
SATs cover core academic subjects – English, maths and science.
Children in year one, which is usually the second year of primary education, also take a phonics screen to check their ability to decode words. They complete the screen again in year two if they don’t reach the expected standard in year one.
In the 2019-20 academic year, all qualifying schools will administer an online multiplication tables check for children in year four (normally aged 8 or 9). This will test recall of times tables up to 12. Schools had the option of taking part in a voluntary pilot phase, during the summer term of the 2018-19 academic year.
The 2017 Government said that, from September 2020, children in all qualifying schools would take a new baseline assessment within the first six weeks of entering reception class. This would focus on maths, and literacy, communication and development. The results will be used as the starting point to assess how much progress schools are making with their pupils. Results for individual children or schools will not be published.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7980
Author: Nerys Roberts