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Year 6 SATS - pointless apart from league tables?

(53 Posts)
SalaciousCrumb Sun 14-Apr-13 17:41:17

That's it really - I am looking through the information sent by ds's soon to be secondary school and they say CATs are a better indication of the child's ability and SATS are just an indication at a given point in time. He sits CATs when he goes to visit his secondary school in July.

He did practice papers over easter; he felt very unmotivated and I bit my tongue - just told him the school need to show how everybody is doing.

He is also going in at 8pm for 'booster' maths sessions until May. He doesn't seem to mind that as it means he can have a break from his younger sister! I would like to think it would help him generally with maths but it is teaching to pass a test. hmm

I am hoping these pointless tests will be scrapped by the time dd starts year 6 as the stress and tension in school and also at home caused is a complete pain. I am hoping all this useless cracking the whip will not put him off education as he's questioning why they have to go through 5 years of test papers "why can't we just do the test?"

I am sure some children would sail through them without feeling stressed but not my ds.

Right, rant over. Can anybody see any value in SATS? confused

SalaciousCrumb Sun 14-Apr-13 17:42:07

Sorry I mean 8am for booster. 8pm?! wouldn't put it past them.

jeee Sun 14-Apr-13 17:43:27

It allows parents to boast - although I, of course, would never mention that my DS is sitting three level 6 papers.

SalaciousCrumb Sun 14-Apr-13 17:52:56

Well done to him jeee but you already knew he was very bright, so you don't need some jumped up test to confirm that! grin

Ds's mates are sitting level 6 I think one is a GAT.

Elibean Sun 14-Apr-13 17:56:32

Oh God, SC, I do agree with you.

They were fairly laid back about SATS at dds' school till recently. Now, a surge of anxious incoming mc families, plus Gove, have put the pressure on. hmm

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 14-Apr-13 18:00:56

You pretty much summed it up. Dd goes to an independent school do isn't sitting Sats. Instead she's doing loads of interesting stuff like philosophy, a new history topic and rehearsing for the year 6 play.

lljkk Sun 14-Apr-13 18:01:36

They are supposed to be an accountability system for the school, too. Don't have to have league tables, that's different.

trinity0097 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:30:26

I think it's good for children to get past the stage of being nervous about exams before the exams matter for real.

Talkinpeace Sun 14-Apr-13 19:25:59

SATs were always meant to be about the school not the pupil.

chicaguapa Sun 14-Apr-13 19:35:22

I think the target GCSE grades are based on the KS2 SAT scores but IME secondary schools use the CAT scores to determine which set/ stream the DC goes into.

poppydoppy Sun 14-Apr-13 20:36:47

THIS IS ONLY THE START OF THE TEST AND REVISION CYCLE, IM AFRAID.

poppydoppy Sun 14-Apr-13 20:37:06

0pps caps lock on

wheresthebeach Sun 14-Apr-13 21:06:30

So what are CATs and do all secondary schools use them? Are they different from SATs or just the same sort of test with a different name ?
Argh....

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 22:16:31

Some secondary schools use CATs for setting. Some just use SATS. Some use a combination.

All secondary schools however use the year 6 SATS for Year 9 targets which feed into GCSE predictions.
Year 6 SATS show the 'official' level a child starts secondary school at and all progress from Year 7 is judged against that.

Of course doing well (or badly) in Year 6 SATS has potentially no bearing on how well a child does at GCSE but it does affect what's expected of them at secondary school. Some feel this may alter how much children are pushed (in truth a good school will help a child achieve the best they can but it does affect the official expectation).

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 14-Apr-13 22:19:15

So what do school do when a child enters not having done Sats. There are lots of children at dd's school who will be going on to state secondaries.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 22:44:00

No SATS results mean no starting point from which to generate Year 9 targets. This can't be helped and won't matter for the individual children. Secondary schools use SATS to set minimum and aspirational grades and measure whether the children are 'on target' or not. But of course, not having SATS results, does not stop a child making good progress or working towards high grades.

If children are set only according to SATS (they aren't at most schools - most schools also use other tests as well or rely on other tests entirely), the new school will have to test them or place them in sets based on the previous schools assessment and move them as required. Sets are never fixed anyway - regardless of SATS or CATS results, children can go up and down.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 22:47:37

I must add that I agree with you about disliking the huge fuss that has grown up around SATS. It seems to have got worse and worse in the last couple of years too - booster classes and files full of practice tests and whole terms of cancelled P.E lessons and postponed trips just to practice for them over and over in class.

LagomOchLyckaSwede Sun 14-Apr-13 22:54:39

I agree.

DTDs had their mental maths SATS test in Yr6 on their birthdays, and as DD3 is born a day before their birthday, she'll likely have SATS on hers which is really annoying too.

I think there's no real point in some ways, but equally it gives the secondaries a starting point in some ways, as you can't rely on what the teacher says as sometimes you DO need cold, hard statistics. But the way SATS does that means it doesn't work.

KnightswhosayNi Sun 14-Apr-13 22:55:12

Bump

IShallWearMidnight Sun 14-Apr-13 23:07:41

DD3 went into year 3 not having done KS1 SATS, and apparently in those situations they have to assume the average scores to assess progress. Presumably it works the same going in to KS3 without the Y6 results.

chicaguapa Mon 15-Apr-13 07:21:06

The problem with SATs is that primary schools are measured on them so there's a lot of focus on how well the DC do. And you get situations where DC have already achieved the expected level 4 by year 4 and then get ignored for the rest of primary school because the school is focusing on those who still need to achieve. hmm

I've always told DD that SATs are for the school to find out well the teacher has been doing and how much the DC have learnt. This was so she didn't feel any pressure from tests.

But the fact is that parents like league tables too and to get the data, the DC need to do tests.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 07:32:35

DS1 far prefers the tests themselves to the endless practice papers. Unless the practice papers are sat under exam conditions. My boy is odd, he loves the peace and quiet of exams!

Though it HAS given him a chance to be stretched, as they are putting him in fit the lvl 6 papers, so he's really had to up his game for the English papers, as that was his weaker subject.

He knows it's for the school's benefit, as do I, but for the first time ever, the work is really pushing him instead of him twiddling his thumbs!

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 07:40:09

Chica - I've found that with the lvl 6 papers, schools are less likely to leave those that achieved lvl 4 in Y4 (or Y3) to 'coast' any more - as it looks good on a school if they have multiple pupils achieving a lvl 6.

It has helped my DS1, certainly. Or maybe it's just this school that wants as many lvl 6's as possible this year. It's definitely the year that's most likely to get them - I think it helps that the current Y6 is a year group of 30 rather than 60 or 90 like the ones below it!

Guess it will make the school look good - 6/7 DC's out of 30 highly likely to get lvl 6, and the 'lowest' in the class to get a lvl 4 (just, with help from after school boosters etc.) The majority of the class are expected to get lvl 5's.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 07:43:45

They're going to have a far harder time in two years time in my DS2's year though - there are at least 3/4 DC's in each class, in a year group of 90 (bulge class), that are highly unlikely to get a lvl 4 even with booster classes - there's an exceedingly high percentage of DC's with SN's in the current Y4. At least 8 in DS2's class alone, and that's replicated in the other two classes too!

SqueakyCleanNameChange Mon 15-Apr-13 07:44:27

On the upside, at least the stuff they're testing is reasonably fundamental. It's not like they're doing an Eng Lit test requiring them to memorise Oliver Twist - all the things that the SATs are covering are solid basic work, so "teaching to the test" isn't a problem. I can see that slightly ropy schools they have a merit in making sure children don't fall through the net.

However, it has got out of hand. DD is year 6 and they haven't done PE all last term because they've been too busy with SATS. Particularly cross since DD could get level 5 in her sleep and they're not doing level 6s. She does, however need as much exercise as she can get.

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