From 2016 onwards SATS tests became more challenging in order to reflect the new curriculum at the end of the Key Stages. Children now receive a scaled score instead of a level. Their raw score – the actual number of marks they accrue – is translated into a scaled score; this helps to allow for differences in the difficulty of the tests from year to year so that pupils' results can be compared accurately.
For KS1 SATs a score of 100 means the child is working at the expected standard, a score below 100 indicates that the child needs more support and a score of above 110 suggests the child is working at a higher level than expected for their age. The maximum score possible is 115, and the minimum is 85. You will be told whether your child has reached the national standard in their KS1 SATs as part of their end-of-KS1 report, but won't be given their test scores unless you ask for them.
Children will also be matched against ‘performance descriptors’ (in other words what pupils are expected to know and be able to do at the time of testing) when being assessed by their teachers in non-SATs subjects at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 to see if they’ve achieved the expected standard.
In KS2, the papers are marked externally, with no teacher assessment involved. Each child receives a raw score, a scaled score, and confirmation of whether or not they achieved the national standard (‘NS’ means the expected standard was not achieved; ‘AS’ means the expected standard was achieved).
The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test ranges from 80, the lowest possible scaled score, to 120, the highest possible scaled score
A scaled score of 100 or more means that the child has met the expected standard in each KS2 SATs test; a scaled score of 99 or less means they haven't reached the government-expected standard.