The KS2 SATs results have been published today amid lots of controversy about the way that they were marked. Schools Minister Jim Knight says he has confidence in England's Sats results, despite the embarrassing problems with the return of this year's papers. The tests taken by 11-year-olds show a slight improvement - and Mr Knight says the sample size, in excess of 90%, makes them statistically reliable.
The results for 2008 are:
- English up 1% to 81%
- Maths up 1% to 78%
- Science stays at 88%
- 72% reach expected level at English and maths
- 61% reach expected level at reading, writing and maths
- 12% achieve highest grade, Level 5, in all subjects
- 36% of girls reach Level 5 English
- 23% of boys reach Level 5 English
- 460 schools waiting for results
But Knight emphasised that difficulties with delivery did not undermine the validity of the results - that these were separate issues. "The problems have been difficult, we've all heard the reactions of head teachers, and we've heard the apologies from the QCA and their contractor, and they've acknowledged the reputational damage. But it still remains the case that Ofqual are advising us that the quality of marking is as good as it's been in previous years. There are always reviews and appeals, that happens every year. I have confidence in these figures that we are putting out today."
The overall improvement in English and maths results, continuing an upward trend, was welcomed by the minister. "Compared to 1997, 101,000 more 11-year-olds are now achieving the target level for their age in English and 93,000 more in maths," said Mr Knight.
There has been a slight improvement in children's attainment in English and maths tests in England's primary schools, provisional results show. The proportion reaching the expected standard in English was 81% compared with 80% last year. In maths it was 78% against 77%, while the science score was unchanged on 88%.
2008 KEY STAGE 2 RESULTS
English: 81% (80% last year)
Maths: 78% (77%)
Science: 88% (88%)
English: 29% (34%)
Maths: 31% (32%)
Science: 44% (47%)
The results also show the proportions achieving the next level - which are down this year. The fall is most pronounced in English, with 29% reaching Level 5 compared with 34% last year. In maths it was from 32% to 31% and in science, from 47% down to 44%.
DCSF statisticians point out that comparisons with previous years are skewed by a change in the marking process this year. This involved removing the practice known as "borderlining", which involved double checking all the test scripts with marks just below the benchmark level (but not above it), to see if they warranted any extra marks. The effect is particularly significant in English, in which the marking is more subjective. See blog post which explains this here.
The figures show that the proportion of children attaining Level 4 in reading, writing, maths and science was 61%. So almost four in 10 children did not reach the expected level in all subjects.
The proportion of higher achievers in English national curriculum tests this year fell by five percentage points - from 34% in 2007 to 29%. Yet the proportion achieving this Level 5 in the reading component stayed the same, at 48%, and the proportion doing so in writing went up, from 19% to 20%.
Read more about the SATs results at:
I always find it interesting that the media always have to take a negative perspective of the results instead of praising the children for their effort and determination and the schools for their praise and encouragement.