The year 6 reading test was the first of the Sats to be taken today and the initial verdict from teachers is cautiously positive.
“It seemed perhaps a little kinder than last year,” one contributor to the Tes Community says. “But the age old problem still exists: not enough of our children are finishing the test.”
“Much better than last year…I think!?” another teacher comments.
Last year, an “incredibly difficult” reading test left children in tears, with teachers reporting that even able children could not finish it.
The 2016 results went on to reveal that fewer children reached the expected standard in reading (66 per cent) than in any of the other subjects assessed: 70 per cent reached the standard in maths, 73 per cent reached the standard in spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag) and 74 per cent in writing, which is teacher assessed.
The deliberately tougher tests were brought in last year to reflect the new curriculum which was introduced in 2014. But there was anger in classrooms about just how hard they were – and concern over how reliable the writing assessments were, given differences in moderation around the country. The NAHT, ATL and NUT unions had all been threatening to boycott this summer’s round of tests unless changes were made – and the government has now begun consulting on changes to primary assessment from 2018.
But this year, so far, teachers seem happier with the passages and questions.
@russellhobby initial staff feedback from the 2017 reading test- far more accessible than 2016, with improved sequencing of questions.— Simon Kidwell (@simonkidwell) May 8, 2017
And children are relieved that it’s over.
One test down for year six, Reading done and dusted and lots of smiling faces at the end! Hurrah!— WhittonCP (@WhittonCP) May 8, 2017
This morning, schools were trying to boost children’s confidence.
It's finally here...SATS week for our Y6. Wishing you all good luck this week. You will be amazing! 1st up: the reading test.— LindleyJuniorSchool (@LindleyJS) May 8, 2017
Breakfasts were laid on...
A relaxed breakfast for Year 6 before their first SATs test this morning. Good luck Y6! pic.twitter.com/MG4tZQp4tY— Montpelier School (@Montpelier_Sch) May 8, 2017
And appeals to higher powers were made.
But while the reading test, for most children, has now ended there are still three more days of testing to go – tomorrow is the Spag test and there are maths tests on Wednesday and Thursday.
Behaviour expert and assistant headteacher Tracey Lawrence, of Danemill primary in Leicester, advises against getting too post-test happy – “keeping a sense of normality will allow children to children to feel the comfort of boundaries,” she says in her guide to getting through Sats week.
*The tests can be taken for up to five days after the official date. Please do not comment on the content of the test.