Scaled scores at key stage 1

Information for headteachers, teachers, governors and local authorities about scaled scores and the expected standard of the 2017 national curriculum tests.

Scaled scores

At the end of key stage 1 (KS1) teachers will use teacher assessment judgements to report on the progress of their pupils. These assessment judgements take into account a pupil’s performance in national curriculum tests (often referred to as SATs) in mathematics, English reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling.

We use scaled scores to report the outcomes of these tests to ensure we can make accurate comparisons of pupil performance over time.

What is a scaled score?

A pupil’s scaled score is based on their raw score. The raw score is the total number of marks a pupil scores in a test, based on the number of questions they answered correctly. Tests are developed each year to the same specification, however, because the questions are different the difficulty of tests may vary slightly each year. This means we need to convert the raw scores pupils get in the tests into scaled scores, to ensure we can make accurate comparisons of pupil performance over time.

A scaled score of 100 will always represent the expected standard on the test. Pupils scoring at least 100 will have met the expected standard on the test. In 2016, a panel of teachers set the raw score required to meet the expected standard. We used data from trialling to maintain that standard for the 2017 tests.

Teachers mark the KS1 tests and calculate the raw scores each pupil achieves for each test. To convert raw scores to scaled scores, you need to use the conversion tables (PDF, 175KB, 3 pages) .

Scaled score conversion tables for tests in previous years can be found with the practice materials.

Calculating raw scores

Each of the KS1 tests has 2 papers. You add the scores from both papers to calculate the raw score for the test in each subject.

Test Number of marks available in the paper Total number of marks available for the test – highest raw score
English reading: Paper 1 20 marks 40 marks
English reading: Paper 2 20 marks
Mathematics: Paper 1 25 marks 60 marks
Mathematics: Paper 2 35 marks
English grammar, punctuation and spelling: Paper 1 (optional) 20 marks 40 marks
English grammar, punctuation and spelling: Paper 2 (optional) 20 marks

Range of scaled scores

The range of scaled scores available for each test is the same as 2016 and is intended to stay the same in future years. 85 is the lowest scaled score that can be awarded on a KS1 test. The highest scaled score is 115.

Pupils scoring at least 100 will have met the expected standard in the test.

A pupil awarded a score of 99 or below has not met the expected standard in the test.

When you look at the conversion tables, you will see that pupils will need to have achieved a minimum raw score before they can be awarded the lowest scaled score. Pupils whose raw score is below the minimum needed to be awarded a scaled score on the test have not demonstrated sufficient understanding of the KS1 curriculum in the subject. It is likely that these pupils should be teacher assessed using the pre-key stage standards. You should award an N for the test to pupils who do not achieve the minimum scaled score.

The conversion tables also show that sometimes 2 or more raw scores convert to the same scaled score. This is because data from pupils showed that the attainment of pupils who score these total marks is not very different. There are also times when it is not possible to achieve a particular scaled score on a test. This is because of the limited number of questions in these tests, although it may be possible to achieve that scaled score on previous or future tests.

Using and interpreting test outcomes

You should use evidence from the test to inform your teacher assessment judgement for each pupil. For example, the tests can provide evidence that a pupil has met one or more of the ‘pupil can’ statements in the interim teacher assessment frameworks. However, given that tests and teacher assessment are different forms of assessment, it is not necessary for the outcomes to be the same.

The national curriculum tests are summative. This means they test the knowledge a pupil has acquired across the whole of the key stage. The tests are also compensatory: pupils score marks from any part of the test and pupils with the same total score can achieve their marks in different ways. The interim teacher assessment frameworks are different. They rely on achieving a ‘secure fit’ which means pupils have to demonstrate attainment of all the ‘pupil can’ statements to be awarded a standard.

This means it is possible for a pupil to have met the expected standard in the test, but not for teacher assessment, because of particular gaps in their knowledge or understanding. It will also be possible for pupils to have demonstrated their attainment of the ‘pupil can’ statements through their classwork but not to have achieved the mark for a related question on the test given the context in which the question was asked. If a pupil does get a question wrong in the test on an area of the curriculum that the teacher thought was secure, the teacher will want to take this into consideration when making their teacher assessment judgement.

Taken together, these 2 types of assessments will provide a broader picture of pupil attainment.

Where to get help

Standards and Testing Agency

For general enquiries about national curriculum tests.

Published 3 June 2016
Last updated 6 June 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for the 2017 test cycle.
  2. First published.