KS1 Sats results: Reading pass rate remains stable

Pass rate for KS1 reading was 75 per cent, after 650,000 pupils aged 6 and 7 were assessed by their teachers earlier this year

Amy Gibbons and Edward Palmer

pupils, Sats, primary, key stage 1, KS1

Three-quarters of six- and seven-year-old pupils achieved the expected standard in reading in their key stage 1 Sats this year.

The statistics, published today by the Department for Education (DfE), show the pass rate (75 per cent) is unchanged compared to last year.

But the DfE says today's results are not directly comparable, owing to changes made to the 2018-19 teacher assessment frameworks.

The proportion reaching the expected standard in writing was 69 per cent compared to 70 per cent in 2018.

The proportion reaching the expected standard in maths was 76 per cent – the same as in 2018.

In science, the proportion reaching the expected standard was 82 per cent compared to 83 per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile, the proportion of pupils who met the expected standard in the phonics screening test at the end of Year 1 is 82 per cent – down 0.6 percentage points on 2018 (using unrounded data).

The statutory key stage 1 Sats assess six- and seven-year-old pupils' ability in reading and maths.

There is also an optional spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag) test.

The results are not reported to the government. Instead, they are used to feed into teacher assessments of pupils’ achievements.

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It is these teacher assessments in reading and maths, together with further assessments in writing and science that are reported on a national and local education authority level.

What do the KS1 Sats consist of?

Children take two English reading papers, which include different types of text – this year, pieces included "What is a Cowboy?" and a story about "Dora the Storer".

There are two maths papers, one on arithmetic and one on reasoning. 

The optional Spag test is made up of a 20-word spelling test and a paper with questions such as: "Add one question mark and one full stop in the correct places in this sentence: Can you swim yet Tom can swim without a float".

What is the expected standard?

Tests are marked by teachers internally against a mark scheme provided by the Standards and Testing Agency. 

Scaled scores based on pupil’s raw scores are used to report test outcomes nationally. 

Scaled scores range from 85 to 115, with a score of 100 denoting the national standard. 

In 2019, the marks needed to get a scaled score of 100 were 25 out of 40 marks in reading, 34 out of 60 marks in maths and 24 out of 40 marks in Spag.


What do the results mean for schools?

A school’s KS1 results are not published, but are available on the school-performance portal Analyse School Performance. This allows schools to benchmark their performance and the results can be used by Ofsted when considering a school’s performance.

Are the KS1 Sats being scrapped?

KS1 Sats results are currently used as the benchmark for measuring progress between KS1 and KS2. 

But the government has proposed the implementation of a new baseline assessment in Reception, which is due to begin in autumn 2020. 

The government has said that it will scrap KS1 Sats “as soon as the Reception baseline assessment has become fully established”. 

This means that the KS1 Sats could be scrapped in 2023 when the first children who have Reception baseline scores reach the end of Year 2.

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Amy Gibbons and Edward Palmer

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