With SATs season fast approaching, the best way to prepare KS2 pupils is a focal point of discussion amongst teachers and parents alike.
As SATs are likely to be the first formal exams pupils have undertaken, they can often cause unnecessary amounts of stress and pressure for many primary school students.
Communicating the importance of structured revision and implementing effective preparation methods will help to alleviate pupils' concerns and ensure a positive mindset in regard to exams – something that will be beneficial both now and in future years.
Why are SATs Needed?
SATS, or Standard Assessment Tests, are used to evaluate pupils' educational progress throughout primary school and measure how much they've learnt, understood and remembered.
From the school's perspective, SATs provide easy comparison between pupils' results and average attainment levels, allowing teachers to gage an understanding of pupils academic strengths and weaknesses.
SATs can also help to determine which set a child will be placed in when he/she reaches secondary school, and the academic targets that should be aimed for.
SAT results are also used by the Department for Education to create league tables, which rank schools by the number of students who achieve the expected standard in English and Maths.
Why Should Pupils Revise for SATs?
Every year, there are debates about whether SATs revision is suitable. After all, SATs are designed to be 'snapshots' of a child's academic aptitude and have no official 'pass' mark.
However, with no structured revision, it's very unlikely that pupils will be able to perform to the best of their abilities. Therefore, sitting SATs with no preparation at all will not be an accurate reflection of their current understanding, or of the effectiveness of the school's teaching.
Encouraging regular SATs revision over a sustained period will:
- Teach pupils to take responsibility of their own learning.
Communicating to pupils the importance of independent revision will help them to develop responsibility of their own learning. This is a fundamental skill that can then be built upon throughout secondary school.
- Allow pupils to experiment with different revision techniques.
As previously mentioned, SATs are likely to be the first real exams pupils will have had to revise for. Therefore, SATs season is the perfect time to allow pupils the freedom to trial different revision methods and find the approach which works best for them.
- Lessen pupils' worries and ensure effective exam preparation.
By openly discussing and inciting revision, any worries or misconceptions pupils have will be greatly diminished. Revising little and often well in advance of the exams will ensure students are well-equipped by the time May comes around.
What's the Best Way to Prepare Pupils for SATs?
The list below includes established techniques that will help all pupils to prepare effectively for their upcoming SATs.
- Break down topics & practise, practise, practise.
Breaking down revision into manageable chunks will help the workload to feel a lot lighter. This will better motivate pupils and ensure they don't become overwhelmed with the amount of revision they have. Regularly practising areas of weakness (and recapping areas of strength) will help pupils to build a broad knowledge of all topics across the key subjects of Maths and English.
- Encourage the use of revision guides.
An effective way to prepare pupils and inspire independent revision is to equip them with targeted KS2 revision guides. At Daydream Education, we offer KS2 Maths and English Pocket Posters that can be used to refresh pupils understanding of essential topics, from spelling, punctuation and homophones to times tables, averages and algebra!
- Make use of past papers.
Using past papers is a sure-fire way to ensure pupils' familiarity with the layout of the exam and the question types and command words that are likely to appear. The more accustomed pupils are with the style and content of the SAT exams, the less anxious, pressured or stressed they'll feel about the whole experience.
This year's KS2 SATs are scheduled for the 14th – 17th May 2018.
At Daydream Education, we wish all your pupils good luck!