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What can we learn from the
2017 KS2 SATs GPS test?

Shelley Welsh, June 2017
The 2017 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test was the second year of assessing pupils against the 2014 national curriculum.  Last year, 72% of children met the required standard in grammar, punctuation and spelling. The paper this year didn’t throw up any surprises but it will be interesting to see the published data early next month.
Teachers don’t like to ‘teach to the test’ but there are some quick and easy tips that can help pupils maximize their potential in the GPS test.

Shelley's top tips!

1. Be careful with answers
On multiple-choice questions if the question is asking for one box to be ticked, the mark will not be awarded if a pupil has ticked two, even if one of those is the correct answer.
If the question requires pupils to circle or underline a word or phrase in a given sentence, the mark will not be awarded if they include any additional words either before or after the word or phrase.
A word or phrase that has to be inserted into a sentence must be spelled correctly and must not be capitalized
2. Recap and revise all of the curriculum
Approximately 30% of the questions in the KS2  test this year and last year were on content taught in KS1. This stresses that it is not a Year 6 test; it covers all areas taught in all year groups, so it is important to recap and revise all aspects of this area of the curriculum, from punctuation marks introduced in Year 1 to the passive voice introduced in Year 6.
3. Ensure a secure understanding of terminology
Children need to be very secure in their understanding of terminology.  Marks can be easily lost simply through not knowing, or remembering, what words such as antonym and synonym mean, or what a semi-colon and a colon look like.  It is useful to ask children to produce a spider diagram as part of the revision process, solely to test their understanding of terminology.

4. The importance of spelling!

It is important to remember that correct spelling is required for the majority of answers.  This is particularly the case for questions where contracted forms, verb forms, plurals, prefixes and suffixes are assessed. 

In paper 2 make sure children know that if they change their mind about the word they have written, they must make it clear by crossing out the one they don’t want to be marked.  
Also, the mark will not be awarded if there has been an incorrect insertion of an apostrophe or hyphen, even if the word has been spelled correctly. Likewise, if a word has been spelled correctly but the letters have been separated, the mark will not be awarded.