'Fair' Spag test kicks off Sats week

Around 600,000 KS2 pupils aged 10 and 11 were tested on their spelling, punctuation and grammar today

Helen Ward

primary test

Sats week began today with around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds being tested on their spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag) knowledge.

And the initial verdict on today's two papers was that they were "fair" and "suitably challenging".

Year 6 pupils were given two separate papers today: Paper 1 is a combined question and answer booklet, worth 50 marks. Pupils had 45 minutes to answer the questions. Paper 2 is a test of 20 spellings, which should take around 15 minutes, but is not strictly timed.

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Chris Dyson, headteacher of Parklands Primary School, Leeds, said: "It was nice and fair, and suitably challenging.

"I think it was very similar in difficulty to last year. All the Year 6 children came out nice and happy, knowing they had done their best."

Clare Sealy, headteacher of St Matthias School, East London, agreed. She said: "The Spag test is always the most straightforward. The test today was a fair representation of the curriculum. The spelling test had a few trickier words towards the end but that is as it should be.

"It used to be the reading test first. It is really good that they changed it to have this one first because so it is much lower stakes for everyone."

And on Twitter, teachers felt the "fair" test had got the week off to a positive start.

And for any teachers who want to spend the evening discussing Sats, the #PrimaryRocks team has announced a Sats-themed chat at 8pm tonight on Twitter – with questions to include: "What subjects would you add to the list for statutory assessment?"

Last year, there was concern that the spellings were "tough", but pupils did better in the Spag test than in the reading and maths tests with 78 per cent reaching the expected standard, up from 77 per cent in the previous year.  

In 2018, 76 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard in maths and 75 per cent did so in reading. In writing, which is teacher assessed rather than tested, 78 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard. 

Tomorrow's test is reading. The maths tests take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

We know how important these tests are, but please do not discuss the content as more children will be taking the paper over the next few days.

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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