SATS results - how do secondary schools view them/need them?

(33 Posts)
grants1000 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:56:49

DS is in Y6 and about to sit the SATS, for long and complicated reasons to do with funding, support and dyslexia, which I can't go into now, I am thinking about him not sitting them.

The questions I have is how important are they for the transition to secondary school? I hear they test them with CAT test anyway when they start at secondary level and they are part of the transition package primary school send. We've already had two meetings with secondary school about him.

My DS is stressed at pissed off at the moment and I think the pressure of the SATS from school is really getting to him I've tried to lighten it all for him and not place importance on them as the only thing that matters.

In my mind it would be like forcing a pilot to fly a plane blindfolded if he took them. Is the stress worth it? Is the fallout worth it? Are they long forgotten the minute they start secondary school?

I don't want a debate about the issue of sitting or not sitting his SATS, I would like help and advice from those with children at this level and how the secondary school system works.

aliasPrickleandJones Tue 05-Mar-13 11:08:11

A couple of years ago, my dc's then primary school boycotted the sat's test for political reasons. AFAIK there was no problems for those yr 6 children who did not sit them.

On the other hand my dc's new primary school is rather sats obsessed (lots of muttering from my dc's about who is sitting level 6 sats [Hmm]).

My view is that sats are mainly for the benefit of the school and their league table position. It's unhelpful to stress out the children with them.

My dc is about to transfer to secondary. They are going to be assessed with a cat test by the secondary school before the beginning of the school year.

crazymum53 Tue 05-Mar-13 11:08:22

Information about pupils is sent to the secondary results before the SATs results are out in early July, so actually secondary schools use the primary teachers assessments for SATs levels.
Yes most schools also use CAT tests on Y7 but the timing of this seems to vary. dd's school did CAT tests just before the Autumn half term, for other schools it's in September.
HTH

fubbsy Tue 05-Mar-13 11:10:41

IMO they are unimportant. As far as I know, my dd's school never did anything with the information.

They took the CATs within the first month of starting school. When they set them for some subjects later on in year 7, they mainly used the levels they were working at in class, as well as the CATs scores.

Maybe you could contact the SENCO at school he will be attending and have a chat with him/her?

I think they are overrated and just for the schools benefit to be honest and not the pupils.

My DS is in year 6 so will be sitting them soon. We had to go to a meeting about the new SATS levels/testing etc, were give the chance to buy books to help them through.

I made the point to the teacher that in my mind the SATS were to help his next school set him to where he should be and if I tutored and coached him through them then he would be set higher than he should be etc etc.......I think the teacher actually agreed with me.

They will be set again once they start secondary school anyway to their true abilty so I am not worrying/stressing DS about the SATS at all.

OneMoreMum Tue 05-Mar-13 13:47:11

Our secondary school uses them to set all the kids' target levels throughout the years, I would say they are massively important. They set minimum and aspirational grades using them, and measure whether the kids are 'on track' or not in relation to these grades.

My kids went to a private primary and didn't take SATs, it has been a big headache each year to get some sort of estimated grades generated based on their CATs scores alone.

At parents evening last week one teacher told me my yr 8 DS was working above his expected level, when I told her these were just cobbled together estimates not real SATS-based levels she said 'Oh well we could probably push you a bit harder to improve your level then' - otherwise she was happy not to push him as he was 'on target'.

Don't know if that helps with your decision but it probably appears to those whose kids took SATs that they are not that important, it's only when you don't have them you see the holes in the system that exist without.

PS I believe in the year that some schools boycotted SATs the primaries still provided the secondaries with teacher-assessed levels to use.

Rowlers Tue 05-Mar-13 13:53:16

I teach at secondary, and while we use CATS with SATS to monitor etc, it is primarily the KS2 SATS results which are used nationwide to provide aspirational targets at KS3 and GCSE.
It irritates the hell out of me; using results of tests in a couple of subjects taken when children are 10 / 11 and using them to set targets in totally unrelated subjects when they are 14 is absurd IMO but that's what schools do.

aristocat Tue 05-Mar-13 14:51:35

I also agree that SATs results are definitely for the benefit of the Primary and its league tables and not our yr6 children.

My DS is yr 6 and SATs were discussed as early as Sept, obviously getting some pupils stressed/worried as soon as the school year started. Surely this is too soon?

I have told my DS to try his best and definitely not worry about them because his Secondary School will retest him shortly after starting there.

tiggytape Tue 05-Mar-13 15:03:16

Different secondary schools use them differently so you will get wildly differing answers here.
Our school uses them for setting combined with the score achieved on Year 7 tests. Other schools use them 100% for setting purposes and moving sets in some schools can be very difficult (in practice) so parents are very concerned that their child gets the highest level possible. Other secondary schools either don't set straight away or don't use SATS to do so.

SATS however will inform Year 9 targets because, even if the secondary schools have less than 100% faith in their accuracy, they cannot disregard them totally in terms of showing the child has progressed from their 'official' Year 6 level at the correct pace through secondary school to GCSE.

tiggytape Tue 05-Mar-13 16:59:27

There is of course also no official way to opt out of Year 6 SATS. They are compulsory. You could keep him off school for the whole week but, this year, teachers have more discretion about when the papers can be taken. If a child is ill in SATS week, they are now able to be given the test at a later date.

Talkinpeace Tue 05-Mar-13 21:27:42

secondary schools tend to take SATs results with a very large grain of salt
and retest all year 7 kids

KingscoteStaff Tue 05-Mar-13 21:54:20

Talkinpeace, they may well retest, but I think the SATs results are the ones that End of KS3 targets are based on. If a child gets a 5A in their SATs, then their KS3 target will be higher than if they got a 4A.

Extra effort will be put into children who are seen to be in danger of missing that target.

So it seems likely that if a child has a unrepresentatively low SATs result, there might be a danger of a secondary teacher not pushing them as hard as they might because 'they are on target'.

camptownraces Tue 05-Mar-13 22:04:42

Depends on the secondary school. In my experience, exactly as Talkinpeace states. There are reasons for the pinch of salt. With dozens of feeder schools, secondary schools need the firm baseline of uniform tests such as CATs or MidYIS.

OneMoreMum Wed 06-Mar-13 11:41:48

Kingscote, that's exactly our experience.
In the OP's case that might actually be an advantage if undue pressure is difficult for them to cope with, low SATs results would lead to lower expectations at secondary and less likely to be picked up for 'underperforming' when they are actually trying their best.

seeker Wed 06-Mar-13 11:46:49

Op- you need to talk to the head of KS3 at the secondary school your ds is going to. At DS's school they set them from day 1, using SATs results, then reset after Christmas. I don't know what they would do if a child didn't have SATs scores, but you do need to find out- being in the wrong set for an entire term would be a really crap start to secondary school life, particularly if he's quite anxious anyway.

People on here always say SATs don't matter to the child, but in some cases they do.

OddBoots Wed 06-Mar-13 11:53:25

I'm quite prepared to be told that I am wrong here but my understanding of the value of SATs for a student (rather than the school) is that the progress from that level is assessed in the secondary school performance table therefore the secondary school has extra motivation to support greater progress.

www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/secondary_12/s5.html

I have no doubt however that good teachers are motivated to support progress regardless of KS2 SATs.

coppertop Wed 06-Mar-13 11:59:39

I think it depends on the school.

Ds' school carried out their own assessments within the first couple of weeks of term. His results were actually higher than his Yr6 SATs results, so the school used their own levels to work out which groups he needed to be put in.

seeker Wed 06-Mar-13 12:00:49

Absolutely it depends on the school. Which is why the OP needs to ask the school her child is going to.

coppertop Wed 06-Mar-13 12:37:38

I agree.

You need to make an appointment to speak to someone at the secondary school and ask them what they advise. If your ds finds the SATs very stressful, it's also an ideal opportunity to discuss with them whether he will need different arrangements to the other Yr7s when it comes to taking tests in September/October.

snickersnacker Wed 06-Mar-13 13:27:17

Most schools will administer a baseline test to inform setting etc but every state secondary school has to engage with SATs because the primary performance measure is progress from KS2 - KS4, i.e. SATs performance compared to GCSE.

BoundandRebound Wed 06-Mar-13 16:05:47

I would say

SATs scores are important in that ks2 to ks4 progress is an important measure and that this is how low, middle and attainment groups are identified statistically

However we take them with a pinch of salt, primaries teach to test, summer holidays come along and we spend up to a term getting them back to the specified grade

We set our own tests and look at CAT scores and consider the base level of our students, eg what we at school base progress and targets on from an amalgamation of SATs, base tests, cat scores and teacher assessments.

Our sets are fluid, in some subjects mainly core, there are movements every half term.

Hth

bruffin Wed 06-Mar-13 16:25:23

Dcs school use with cats and sats. Cats are taken on transfer day in July. Dcs primary teacher said they were all only school to ask for raw scores.

Startail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:44:07

OP you need to do two things firstly sort out reader, scribe and or extra time for SATS with primary school. Do not take no for an answer they can sort things out, they did for my DD1.

Took them untill the 11th hour of the 11th day, but they did swing scrubbing for her (not certain it was totally to the letter of the regulations, but who cares).

Secondly speak to the Secondary school Senco. Ours goes out to visit feeder primaries. We have had three different ones, they are all lovely. Way way more clued up than primaries.

Thirdly have a hug. Primary schools are absolutely hopeless with dyslexia. DD1's spent 4.5 years ignoring difficulties that ticked every diagnostic box. I'm guessing you can believe how mindbogglingly useless they can be.

As for SATs if DS can get L4 by hook or by crook let him sit them, if he isn't likely to get L4 and is average/above average apart from the dyslexia you need a really careful word with the senior school.

Pretty much by definition dyslexia does not mean thick and being stuck in a low set due to your written work, not your understanding, is demoralising to say the least.

(I have a RG biology degree in large part because I spent six years coming top in biology exams to get my sarcastic, presentation and spelling mad, science master off my back. I understand, now that I'm also dyslexic.)

Startail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:45:00

Scribing stupid auto correct

bruffin Wed 06-Mar-13 19:27:12

grants
My Ds has dyslexic problems and his yr6 teacher said that they were very good illustration of his problems. High level 5 maths, science and English comprehension but scraping a level 4 for writing. His cats didn't really show up any problems as there was only a spread of 2 points and shows an even profile.

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