In May 2016, the current crop of Year 6 students will be the first to sit the new end of Key Stage 2 English and Maths tests based on the sweeping changes made to the National Curriculum nearly two years ago.
As such, this is uncharted territory for pupils, teachers and parents alike. The old marking schemes have been dispensed with and the new expectations have been designed, we are told, to be more academically demanding.
So how do you help a Year 6 pupil to prepare? In the midst of all the political argument, it is easy to forget that children sometimes feel the pressure of testing and are often anxious about performing well.
It is our job as adults to ensure that they are sufficiently secure in their abilities to approach any assessment with total confidence.
Many parents will be familiar with the old SATs system and probably even still think in terms of ‘levels’. If you are a teacher, it is important to talk to mums and dads about what the new tests mean and how they will be marked differently this year.
If you are a parent, it is a good idea to get acquainted with what your child should be achieving by the end of Key Stage 2. Remember that these will probably be individually set targets to work towards rather than a checklist of what they can already do.
At this point in the year, your child is very much a work in progress and there is plenty of time to help them develop.
In fact, the best way to look at it is not viewing the test as an isolated measure of ability that must be ‘passed’ at all costs, but in the context of these more important wider learning objectives.
Practice makes perfect
Because this is the first time the new tests have been administered, practice papers are in short supply. However, the Government has published some sample materials, which are available via its website.
It is a good idea to ask students to sit these sample tests under timed conditions so that they know how to behave in an exam and how to read a question properly.
However, asking a primary school child to endlessly repeat test papers is a sure-fire way to create disengagement. Test preparation in primary school should always be secondary to learning.
Make learning fun
With the best will in the world, a Year 6 child will not sit and revise for hours at a time – and neither should they be expected to.
Instead of photocopied question sheets, try and use different resources to make lessons and homework fun.
Colourful posters, digital booklets and apps are always a great way to engage learners and here at Daydream Education, we offer a range of educational resources that stimulate, inspire and consolidate knowledge.
Take a look at our new Maths Key Stage 2 Pocket Poster to see how they can help support learning and prepare pupils for their end of KS2 tests.
To order any of the products on our site or to discuss how our resources can help prepare for the new end of Key Stage 2 tests, just give our friendly team a call on 0844 800 1660.