Some parents think that children shouldn't be put under exam pressure at such a young age.  (Getty Images)

Some parents feel that children should not be put under exam pressure at such a young age. (Getty Images)

This week, sixth graders across the UK will take the core Level 2 curriculum tests, often referred to as SATs.

These exams begin on May 9th and end on May 12th and include tests on grammar, punctuation and spelling, reading and math.

The results of the SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) will be published on July 11th this year and your child’s school will send you a report with the test results and the teachers’ evaluations.

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As a general rule, children with a scaled score above 100 are performing at or above the expected standard for that age, while those scoring below 100 may need some support to reach that standard.

But how important are these tests really and what are the results used for?

What are SATs?

“SATs, which are a series of standardized tests taken by primary school children aged 7 and 11 in the UK [or nearly 7 and nearly 11]assess their knowledge and understanding of core subjects like English and math,” says Chris Helps, former elementary school teacher and tutor for GoStudent.

“The main objective of these tests is to assess student progress and provide information on the school’s performance at a national level.”

A little boy takes a test with a pencil

SATs aren’t the be-all and end-all. (Getty Images)

Helps explains that while schools could look at the SAT scores and use them as an indication of overall ability in a subject, the primary use of the scores is to ‘assess schools’ performance and provide data for government accountability measures “.

“They can also help identify schools that may need additional support or resources and help parents make informed decisions about which school to send their child to,” adds Helps.

SATs are not the be-all and end-all

Helps says that while SATs are useful for providing a snapshot of a child’s academic progress and identifying areas for improvement, “they are only a measure of a child’s ability and do not necessarily indicate their overall potential, abilities, or future success.” .

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“Their meaning can vary depending on the circumstances, particularly for secondary schools that only use the SAT scores as part of their data when assessing a child [and deciding which stream the child should be placed in]’ adds Helps.

“Many secondary schools conduct their own teacher assessment or testing once a child enters school, which allows for more targeted assessment.”

Tips for talking to your child about SATs

If your child is afraid of exams or tests or has questions, Helps says it’s important to explain that the test is a way for the teacher to see how well they’re doing, but it’s not the only measure of their ability .

“Emphasize that it’s important to do your best, but also remind them that it’s okay if they find some questions challenging,” Helps advises.

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“Make sure they understand that SATs are only part of their educational journey and their outcomes do not alone determine their future success. Encourage them to ask any questions or raise concerns they have about the tests so you can address them together.”

It’s also important for parents to make sure their child maintains a balanced lifestyle during an exam period, Helps says, making sure the child gets enough sleep, has time for fun activities, and eats well.

“It’s also important to keep the dialogue open about the SATs and to find a quiet moment each day to talk about that day’s tests so that the child has a clear space to express their feelings and ask questions.” , he adds.

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