Guidance

Scaled scores at key stage 1

Information for headteachers, teachers, governors and local authorities about scaled scores and the expected standard of the 2018 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 and English reading. Teachers may also choose to use the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test to inform teacher assessment, though this is optional.

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 must be 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 a scaled score, 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. However, given that the difficulty of the tests may vary each year, the number of raw score marks needed to achieve a scaled score of 100 may also change. For example, if the overall difficulty of a test decreases compared to previous years, the raw score required to meet the expected standard will increase. Similarly, if the test is more difficult, the raw score required to meet the expected standard will decrease.

In 2016, panels of teachers set the raw score required to meet the expected standard. We have used data from trialling to maintain that standard for the 2017 tests onwards.

Teachers mark the KS1 tests and calculate the raw scores each pupil achieves for each test. To convert raw scores to scaled scores, you should use the conversion tables.

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 set in 2016 and is intended to stay the same in future years. The lowest scaled score that can be awarded on a KS1 test is 85. 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 fewer has not met the expected standard in the test.

Pupils need a minimum raw score before they can be awarded the lowest scaled score. Pupils who do not achieve the lowest scaled score on the test have not demonstrated sufficient understanding of the KS1 curriculum in the subject. You should award these pupils an N for the test. It is likely that these pupils should be teacher assessed using the pre-key stage standards.

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 this test. This is because of the limited number of questions in these tests, although these scores may be possible on previous or future tests.

Using and interpreting test outcomes

You should use evidence from the English reading and mathematics tests to inform your teacher assessment judgement for each pupil. You can also use the optional key stage 1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test to inform your teacher assessment judgement in English writing.

The tests can provide evidence that a pupil has met certain ‘pupil can’ statements, as well as evidence to support the judgement overall. Tests and teacher assessment are different forms of assessment, so it is not necessary for the outcomes to be the same.

The national curriculum tests are 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 teacher assessment frameworks are different and ask teachers to assess pupils against certain aspects of the national curriculum based on a range of evidence from the classroom.

It is possible for a pupil to have met the ‘expected standard’ in the test, but not for teacher assessment, because of gaps in their knowledge or understanding. It is also 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. If a pupil gets a question wrong in the test on an area of the curriculum that they have demonstrated in their classwork, the teacher will want to take this into consideration when making their teacher assessment judgement.

Together, the tests and teacher assessment 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 1 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated for the 2018 test cycle.
  2. Updated for the 2017 test cycle.
  3. First published.