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SPAG Paper - SATS Please can someone advise me/help

(52 Posts)
summerdaysarehere Sun 09-Apr-17 22:03:50

I have a son in Y6 sitting SATS in a month. He is a bright boy but there has been no particular prep for SATS at school - no extra lessons, mocks, homework etc. He has been sent home with one past maths SAT paper over the holiday. This led me to take a look at the format of the papers for english and SPAG on line. I have no issues with the reading paper which looks ok but I have realised from talking to him (and a friend on a play date) and discussing the SPAG paper that they do not seem to have been prepared for it at all. They had no idea at what a lot of the questions meant when I asked them e.g. subjunctives, noun phrase, adverbials, past perfect tense, determiners etc. On reflection while I expect general grammar will have been covered in passing in english they don't seem to have had any grammar homework or had grammar in exams. I have no idea how they can therefore be expected to confidently tackle this SPAG paper.

I feel bad that he is going to be sitting a paper he is ill prepared for. What can I do? We have a month to go. I would be really grateful for your thoughts on following ideas:

1. print off past SATs papers (I know that format changed for some topics in 2016 though unsure about SPAG) and work through them with him. Not sure how I can help with some of the technical parts though as I do not know them and nor does he. Are there work books we should be doing instead and if so what is the best one?
2. Buy a set of books such as Schofield & Sims Grammar - however it would not be case of just buying year 6 as some topics such as fronted adverbials look like they should have been covered in earlier years - I could buy say year 3 - 6 and I could plod through these and hope they explain sufficiently well for me to explain to him.
3. Buy a subscription to something like but is this any good? Is this the best one?
4. How is any of this going to help with the anecdotal things I have picked up from similar threads on here such as things like the fact that all exclamatory sentences must start with either what or how? How would I find this sort of stuff out?
5. how would this help me find out things such as "all modal verbs combine with an infinitive" [found on another thread] - I don't understand one word of that sentence!!! smile

Please don't suggest do nothing as I hate the thought of him going into a test he is bound to do poorly in as from my lay persons review of the papers he just has not been given the basic tools he needs. I want to help but just not sure the best way how. If someone would rather PM me then please feel free to do so. Thanks very much.

summerdaysarehere Sun 09-Apr-17 22:05:42

should add I name changed for this post but am reg poster - just don't want the fellow mums i know to notice me on here . sad

Theworldisfullofidiots Sun 09-Apr-17 22:09:53

If you pm me I can send you a copy of the grammar crib sheet that my son had sent home with his homework and the two practice tests.
I know this bit isn't helpful - it's a lot to learn in a month (but possible) and on the other hand it's just SATS which is more about school assessment rather than child assessment and pretty irrelevant for secondary school.

Avioleta Sun 09-Apr-17 22:14:10

Honestly? At this late stage, I wouldn't bother trying to cram. The SATs will have no impact on your son whatsoever going forward. Secondary schools take no notice. And while it won't be nice for him to sit a paper where he doesn't know the right answers, will that be any worse than a month of cramming at home?

SATs are mainly designed so to give an idea of how schools manage progress through primary school. They are a reflection of the school not your son. If the school's results dip this year because of poor preparation/not having taught the right things then this should rightly be flagged up in the results.

Jamhandprints Sun 09-Apr-17 22:15:33

Maybe start by looking at some online snippets like bbc bitesize. But why haven't his school done this? I'm an LSA in year 4 and it's all they talk about all day; fronted adverbials, expanded noun phrases...they study this for hours, every day. Then they do a SPAG test every half term. I thought this was standard in all schools. You need to talk to the teachers when he goes back. But for now, a little bit every day, together online, then some practice sentences.

Strix Sun 09-Apr-17 22:19:02

SATs are important to schools, not so much for students. I wouldn't worry too much. Worth doing a paper or two , casually. But not worth stressing out - for you or fir him.

slkk Sun 09-Apr-17 22:20:55

CGP books are great. You can get revision and workbooks which are designed to prep for the tests. You could also subscribe to but this is lots of practice questions, not any explanation. It would help him spot his weak areas though.

slkk Sun 09-Apr-17 22:21:51

And the tests changed last year so the 2016 sample and real paper are the only two at the right level. I expect they will use them in school.

irvineoneohone Sun 09-Apr-17 22:21:52

You can practice here few question(10?) a day for free without subscription.

summerdaysarehere Sun 09-Apr-17 22:43:16

Thanks will look at 2016 papers. Is there an actual syllabus of things children are supposed to have covered for this? Is there one textbook the children have worked though at school? Seems odd that so many threads refer to CGP, Schofield & Sims etc - e.g. the out of school materials. There is not much talk of in school materials. Thanks.

Poppiesway1 Sun 09-Apr-17 22:43:20

Our school recommended the CGP practise papers and work books. Which I did but. They also made their own work books for the pupils so ds2 is meant to be doing 20mins a day of that work book too.
Last week the school put on three extra revision sessions during the holiday (much to ds2's disgust grin I made him go)
Scince start of January term the school have extended their day so they have an extra half hour of SAT revision before school and from start of new term and up until their exams they have to stay an extra half hour after school for revision too..

The school didn't do this when ds1 did his SATS and feel it's too much for my 10yr old to be doing. I've not made him revise every day as the school wanted!

summerdaysarehere Sun 09-Apr-17 22:44:27

jamhandprints I can only tell you that not one test and no discussion of grammar at all. I guess not all schools are the same on this.

Poppiesway1 Sun 09-Apr-17 22:52:04

Some sample of the mental maths questions I've had to read out to him are:

What is three quarters of eighty eight?
What is one hundred and thirty add seventy?
What is twelve multiplied by twenty Five
Add together two and a half, three and a half and four and a half?
Write the number twenty thousand and sixty nine in figures?
What number is one hundred less than nine thousand?

Honestly. .. some of the questions I had trouble with (as I'm crap at my times tables) and I have a science based Msc. Im not stressing him out over something which isn't going to affect him long term like GCSE or alevels

summerdaysarehere Sun 09-Apr-17 23:25:54

Thanks fpr this; did you know that the mental maths has gone since 2016. It used to be a read out test for the children but this has now been replaced by mental arithmetic paper.

I am not so worried about maths as he "gets it" - it is the SPAG stuff which he just does not seem to have been taught sad

Ashers40 Sun 09-Apr-17 23:49:50

I too realised my daughters spag knowledge was not secure a year ago. Some may say do nothing, it won't matter, but I knew my DD would want to do well and didn't want her to be unprepared. So I drew up a list of all the grammatical terms for her (i must have based it on something the school gave her), wrote down an example of each term underneath, gave it to her to learn and tested her on it periodically until she seemed to have got it. This was in conjunction with some on line tests that the school gave us access to, which were useful for identifying knowledge gaps. I only did this with spag, everything else I felt the school were on top of. We didn't spend hours and hours on it but what we did do worked pretty well. Good luck

AtSea1979 Sun 09-Apr-17 23:54:22

This is going to continue for a few years yet. The SPAG terminology is new, those who did last years SATs were at a huge disadvantage as they were the first ones but at least it's a level playing field as they are all in same boat.
Don't worry about it. SATs are for the school to show they made progress, they don't affect high school as they do their own test in first term to set them.

irvineoneohone Sun 09-Apr-17 23:54:36

I think there's no point panicking now!
Just get on with what you can do for now.

These tutorial videos + practices questions are great for basic grammar and fun to watch.(Note: it's American, but my ds has been using it, and had no confusion. They do sometimes explains difference between UK and US grammar.)

thecatfromjapan Sun 09-Apr-17 23:56:18

Have a play around on the englicious website. I think you have to register for full access but I think your son can have a bit of a practice without having to register.

Agree with previous posters that SATs should be about the school not your child. If he isn't completely familiar with lots of grammar terms by Year 6, well, he'll learn them in due course.

thecatfromjapan Mon 10-Apr-17 00:00:54

By the way, unlike a lot of 'grammar' resources, the englicious website has been developed by linguists. I'm often a bit shock at some of the stuff I find on-line (and in shops) that claims to be teaching grammar. It's often incorrect. Englicious has the virtue of being clear and genuinely educative.

Grammar is interesting and fun. If you do decide to do a bit of background work with your ds, I really hope you do it with a view to walking along the path towards an interest in the fascinating intricacies of grammar - not for the (rather annoying) SATs.

mrz Mon 10-Apr-17 06:39:12

You'll find the SPAG coverage and a glossary at the end of the Key Stage 1&2 document

summerdaysarehere Mon 10-Apr-17 07:01:41

Thanks very much for these links. Sure I will be back with more technical questions in a week or so once tried to come to grips with this a bit.

TeenAndTween Mon 10-Apr-17 15:38:30

I'm the parent of a y7 who had lots of time spent in y6 on the more obscure bits of grammar and who didn't really get it at all. As far as I am concerned it was wasted effort. Time spent learning how to read confidently, do comprehensions, and write grammatically is better spent in my opinion. y7 does not seem to build on y6 grammar at all as far as I can see.

sparepantsandtoothbrush Mon 10-Apr-17 18:02:38

y7 does not seem to build on y6 grammar at all as far as I can see

I agree Teenandtween My y7 DS doesn't seem to remember much of the 'new' terminology they had shoved down their throats in panic in y6 last year. I disagree with the previous poster who said secondary schools don't look at the results. My sons school based their sets on their SAT results to start the year (some moved around after term 1)

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Mon 10-Apr-17 18:09:20

My dd has struggled with SPAG but her school are quite obsessed by it and have done a lot of the work in class, with practice tests at least once a month if not more, and these are sent home.

We were recommended to buy the CGP books and these have been great, my dd has done lots of practice tests and is now getting 10/10 whereas before it was more like 3 out of 10 on a good day.

I tried reassuring her that SPAG wasn't that important, that SATS are testing the school, but fundamentally she just wanted to know the work and how to get a good mark, she couldn't relax with poor marks.

I find it very surprising they haven't at least covered the basics, even if they aren't so test oriented.

CPtart Mon 10-Apr-17 18:23:03

DS2 did the new SATS last year. Results most certainly did matter, secondary school set the children according to their scores, and despite re-testing a few months in, there appears to have been very little if any movement between classes. I agree Year 7 hasn't built on what was learnt at all, it was just a necessary evil.

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