As the revision period for the Key Stage 2 SATs is now well underway, Year 6 teacher Sarah Burnham offers a few helpful tips to prepare for the maths tests.
Making every minute count
Practicing maths facts little and often can be really beneficial in developing fluency. A daily ten minutes focusing on the four operations or calculating with fractions, decimals and percentages can have significant impact. Using a ‘tick sheet’ of the key objectives can help focus you and the children on covering the topics needed. Being creative about incorporating maths into daily routines can help children embed concepts: chanting a few times tables whilst lining up in the playground; measuring the netball court; or recapping positional vocabulary in games lessons can be discrete and fun ways to include a few minutes of extra revision!
The children probably have a fairly good idea themselves of what they are struggling with by this stage. Do they need some extra help with long division? Can they tell the time and solve problems involving timetables? Exploring areas that children feel less confident dealing with and trying to tailor sessions to deal with specific gaps in learning could make all the difference.
Nobody likes endless testing, but the children will need to familiarise themselves with the test format. The timing of the arithmetic paper – completing 36 questions in half an hour – will need some practice. Spending time going through past papers and practice questions with the children should enable them to see where their errors are occurring, and will provide more immediate feedback (and save teachers time!) than if teachers do the marking themselves.
Making it interactive
Encouraging children to engage in their revision is crucial, and using interactive online resources will enhance what otherwise could be an intimidating prospect for some learners. The MyMaths KS2 SATs booster pack online worksheets are appealingly interactive; providing immediate feedback without the teacher having to look over every child’s answers. The games available also offer light relief, and the children enjoy these aspects of revision.
Getting the parents involved
Parents can work on a much more individual basis with their child than is usually possible to do in the classroom, so it’s worth trying to get them involved with homework. Communicating about key objectives being covered or the revision focus can really help – even better if it’s a personalised area for their child they can focus on.
A positive approach towards the testing can make a huge difference to children’s engagement with revision and with their self-confidence going into testing week. We all know that children who feel they can achieve well will often perform much better on the tests that count.
Staying focused on the progress being made by the children, regardless of their results, is one helpful strategy. Concentrate on how much they have improved and use that as a focus for reward systems and recognition. Children will respond much more favourably to having ‘increased their score on the arithmetic by 5 marks!’ rather than ‘not met the standard expected!’
Sarah Burnham has been a Year 6 teacher for many years and currently leads Maths at Well Green Primary School, Trafford. She is currently leading the Trafford Teaching School Alliance Maths Leader networking groups and delivering training for as a Professional Development Leader with the NCETM.
For further practice to help you support your students through the Key Stage 2 SATs log in to MyMaths.co.uk to access our SATs Booster Pack.
You can also keep up to date with the latest news, and find free resources and further support on the MyMaths news feed.