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Why do teachers talk about SATs so much?!?

(22 Posts)
Himalaya Mon 22-Oct-12 20:47:49

Not teacher bashing, honest but perplexed.

The last few teacher consultations I've been to for DS, who has mild SN and an IEP, the conversation about his writing has come down to the teacher saying "don't worry he can have a scribe for his SATs" I'm worried about his SATs.

I just don't get this. SATs are to assess the school, right? They have no bearing on the child.

I am worried about whether he will be able to read and write fluently enough to get something out of the next 8 years of education and to get on in life.

I do understand that teachers are assessed on SATs, but it seems so odd the way they talk to parents about them as if it is also our metric. It's like if you went to the beauty counter and they said "you should buy this product, because then this store will make its sales target".

heggiehog Mon 22-Oct-12 20:58:40

Because many (most?) parents are completely and utterly obsessed with levels and SATs, despite not often knowing what the differences between the levels are.

I have already been asked by some parents about SATs levels and my class won't be taking theirs for another three years...

cumbrialass Mon 22-Oct-12 21:05:50

Because some secondary schools set children based on SATs results, because Level 4 is seen as the "benchmark" for coping at secondary school, because Year 6 children ( and their parents) can be incredibly competitive and because my payrise is based on them!

LynetteScavo Mon 22-Oct-12 21:12:39

So many SATs posts on MN and it's only October! sad

FFS everyone get over it.

DS1 was given the "Head Teachers Prize" for just sitting the bloody things (Ok, he was going to well if he actually sat down and focused and the school would look so much better for it) but please, every one calm down.

Head Teachers are you listening?

I think education in the UK would be so much better if KS2 SATs were abolished.

I feel sorry for my Y5 DS who has to get through the next two years of primary school. He will have so much more fun when he gets to high school and he doesn't have to only focus on English and Maths.

mrz Mon 22-Oct-12 21:18:38

SATs are to assess the child not the school. Some Secondary schools set using SAT results so SAT results can have a bearing on the child. KS2 SAT results are used by the government to set GCSE targets (but they are being scrapped so who knows). Teachers aren't assessed on SATs.

cumbrialass Mon 22-Oct-12 21:34:12

Teachers aren't assessed on SATs.

I am! As a year 6 teacher, several of my performance management targets are based on percentage SATS levels achieved. So 85% achieving level 4+, 35% level 5, 100% two levels progress etc.

Himalaya Mon 22-Oct-12 21:38:53

So all this is to work out what sets they should be in in secondary school?!?

It all seems a bit cart-before-horse, like the whole thing is geared towards the assessment as the goal.

mrz Mon 22-Oct-12 21:39:27

and what happens if you don't meet those targets?
I obviously work for an enlightened LEA and head teacher

radicalsubstitution Mon 22-Oct-12 21:45:43

Mrz As a secondary teacher, I am assessed on the percentage of my pupils who reach expected levels (at end of KS3/GCSE) based on FFT/CATs/YELLIS scores.

At the primary school where I am a governor, teachers' perfomrance management is based on the number of students achieving expected levels of progress at the end of the year based on prior attainment.

I have my own opinions on the rights/wrongs of the this and the effects it has on education (like A&E waiting times) but it is a reality faced by lots of teachers.

cumbrialass Mon 22-Oct-12 21:46:02

My targets are the whole school targets, so if I don't meet them, the school doesn't meet them and all hell lets loose! SIPs, OFSTED, you name it! ( plus in theory no pay rise!)

Hassled Mon 22-Oct-12 21:46:57

I think in a lot of cases the SATs measure both the child and the school - the results are tangible evidence for Ofsted etc that there has been a measurable improvement (or not) in a cohort of children's attainment since they entered the school - e.g. the intake was largely below national average, they left at or above national average, etc. That's what the school is looking to be able to show. And quite rightly the school should be called to account if the intake was at or above national average and left Year 6 below that.

And yes, if your child isn't making the requisite leaps between the sublevels over the course of the time at the school then again, for parents, that's a tangible measure by which you can say yes, Little Jimmy's doing well or no, Little Jimmy really isn't making any progress in Maths or whatever. And try to resolve it, working with the school.

So it's a bit simplistic to just dismiss them - I agree that it's pointless teachers (and parents) getting children wound up about them, but they do have a value.

mrz Mon 22-Oct-12 21:51:55

radicalsubstitution since there aren't any SATs in secondary schools you are hardly assessed on them.

radicalsubstitution Mon 22-Oct-12 21:56:25

Mrz, levels are still reported at the end of KS3. Schools do not have to use SATs papers, but many still do (mine included).

Our pupils still sit SATs papers in core subjects as before, and new 'optional' papers are published each year (at an astronomical price).

The only PITA is that we, as teachers, not have to mark them! wink

Not my choice - this was a decision taken by the head when compulsory SATs were abolished.

IsabelleRinging Mon 22-Oct-12 22:03:48

In my school, the children all have a target SAT level and therefore teachers are under pressure to get children to those targets, if they don't there may not be consequences, but nevertheless, the pressure is there and teachers will be judged accordingly, even if it is only by themselves. The computer tracking changes colour if children reach their targets and nobody wants to be the one to have a chart all the wrong colour!

mrz Mon 22-Oct-12 22:05:48

I think in most cases teachers put pressure on themselves to ensure children achieve or exceed targets ... I really do work for an enlightened head and LEA.

Feenie Mon 22-Oct-12 22:07:50

My performance management target is 4APS per child.

I definitely do not work for an enlightened Head or LEA.

mrz Mon 22-Oct-12 22:11:22

My targets are about monitoring standards and personal development. My head realises progress isn't linear and takes the long term view.

radicalsubstitution Mon 22-Oct-12 22:11:28

mrz - come and meet my head! She is most certainly not enlightened.

Gove thinks she's wonderful - he told her at their meeting together.

midseasonsale Mon 22-Oct-12 22:16:27

Sats work take place in year 2 and 6. From the progress made between these two sats tests they can judge how effective the school is. Are children achieving more or less then is to be expected in the year 6 sats? What is the value added?

midseasonsale Mon 22-Oct-12 22:17:22

Yes secondary school do initially use the SATS to stream in year 7 but quickly CATS become more important.

lljkk Tue 23-Oct-12 14:40:55

Isn't progress between y2 & y6 mostly down to individual child factors & not the teaching?

I'm told that local secondaries use the end of school-year reports as the primary source for setting. SATs are only used in borderline cases, and the children move sets fairly often, anyway.

teacherwith2kids Tue 23-Oct-12 16:22:43


I would disagree. I would say that LEVELS (in the absolute sense) at the end of KS1 and KS2 are often down to individual child factors, but that PROGRESS can very much be affected by teaching.

There are exceptions - for example, for children with very significant SEN, progress can be slow as well as absolute levels being low, and very able children may well make the required progress despite poor teaching. However, in general I would say that teaching (in its broadest sense, including tracking, identifying barriers, designing interventions as well as straightforward 'lesson input') does affect progress

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