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Sats: Just how tough were today's maths papers?

Year 6 pupils took tests in arithmetic and maths reasoning today – and teachers say they were the toughest Sats so far

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Year 6 pupils took tests in arithmetic and maths reasoning today – and teachers say they were the toughest Sats so far

The maths tests taken by Year 6 pupils today have been described as the "hardest papers" of Sats week and "tricky" by teachers.

Teachers of the Year 6 children sitting today’s papers were concerned that pupils really struggled with the tests.

More than 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds took the two maths papers today.

The first paper was a 30-minute arithmetic test and then there was a 40-minute maths reasoning test.

And initial reactions on the Tes forums were not positive.

"So many questions designed to trick children. Very disappointed," said one teacher.

Another added: "Hardest papers of the week. I thought Spag [spelling, punctuation and grammar] and reading were both fair papers, but our children really struggled today. I would say especially with the arithmetic paper – definitely, I think thresholds will go down."

'An awful lot to do'

One teacher agreed: "I thought the arithmetic was definitely a step up on previous years in terms of difficulty. Reasoning was comparable to previous years, possibly slightly harder overall."

"There was an awful lot to do today," said one teacher. "Tricky papers compared to previous years." 

Tomorrow, children take a further 40-minute maths reasoning test.

And one teacher on the Tes forum had a plan for this afternoon's preparation: "We are now going to come up with a list of what might appear tomorrow... so, it's an afternoon of a bit of maths, play outside rather a lot... and eat biscuits together." 

Last year, 75 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard in maths – up from 70 per cent in 2016.

The government is planning to introduce an additional times tables test for pupils at the end of Year 4 in 2020 in a bid to improve maths standards.

Reactions to the other Sats tests taken earlier this week have been fairly neutral. There was some concern over the difficulty of the spelling test on Monday – but the yesterday's reading test was generally considered fair.

The results for all Sats tests will be returned to schools on 10 July.

A respectful message to teachers: 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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