Tests – it’s That Time of the Year Again!

What do you think when someone mentions SATs or Tests?

This was the question we put to 90 Year 6 students during research into creating our ‘Active Revision Sessions’. Naturally, there was a mixture of responses. Many cited the importance of the tests, with one child believing that the tests were “life changing”. That said, there was one child who saw the tests as “life-threatening”. At least one child deemed the tests “pointless”. Meanwhile, some recognised the need for revision and that “pressure can be both hard and easy.”

What Were the Positive Attitudes?

  • “I don’t mind a test because it’s fun and I enjoy tests.”
  • “Exciting”
  • “Focused study”
  • “Happy”
  • “Working out past papers”
  • “Calm and relaxed”
  • “Concentrating”
  • “Working out and checking”
  • “Fun”
  • “Easy” and “Quite easy”
  • “Confident”
  • “I have courage to do it”
  • “Challenging and excited nervous”
  • “Pride”
  • “Happiness”
  • “Confident”
  • “Determination”
  • “Brain-teasing”
  • “Curious challenging”
  • “Helpful and judging”

What Were the Negative Responses?

  • “The tests are hard.”
  • “You have to work ‘quick time’ and I worry about not finishing in time.”
  • “I sometimes don’t understand the questions.”
  • “Annoying”
  • “Boring pressure”
  • “Pressure” and “a lot of pressure”
  • “Worrying”
  • “Scary”, “Scared” and “Frightened”
  • “Nervous” and “very nervous”
  • “Anxious” and “anxiety”
  • “Difficult”
  • “Stress” and “stressed”
  • “Tiring”
  • “Fearful”
  • “Boring stressful”, “Stressing”, Stressful confusing” and “Stressful score”
  • “Disappointment”
  • “Fail”
  • “Tension”
  • “Panic”
  • “Nerve-wracking”
  • “Unsettled”
  • “Concerning”
  • “Worried as I may not get a good score.”
  • ‘Worried about solving problems”
  • “Oh No!!”
  • “Gosh! Pressurised.”
  • “Stress and anxiety and worry and scary… a nightmare!!!”

As predicted, the responses were varied. Speaking with teachers across the country, the same responses have been elicited, not just in KS2 but also in KS1. It is up to us as teachers, to ensure that we know just how our children are feeling in the run up to this year’s National Tests – we can allay any fears and put them into context. How do we do so? Check out this other blog post, featuring a TES article, ‘How to Avoid a Primary Maths Meltdown’.

An Active Approach to Tests

Could Physically Active Learning be the Solution?

With a background in school leadership and teaching, we can empathise completely with teachers and children alike.

In response to requests from teachers, Tagtiv8 Ltd have created alternative Active Revision Sessions that engage children in preparation for their KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum Tests in Mathematics.

As Dr Andy Daly-Smith from Leeds Beckett University says in this video, “For those children who are scared by Literacy or Numeracy, to do it in an active way can sometimes take away those barriers they sometimes face in a traditional setting.”

Rather than simply sitting down going through past papers, teams of children collaborate and compete in physically active games that generate numbers. The children then use these numbers to solve bespoke SATs-type questions focussing on Arithmetic and Reasoning. Our games cover a multitude of objectives, whether they be:

  • multiplication, prime numbers and factors
  • square and cube numbers
  • algebra

As Andy Gaunt, Head Teacher from Geeengates Academy in Bradford says, “There are infinite opportunities for learning with Tagtiv8.”

These sessions are equally successful with whole classes as well as smaller intervention groups.

The impact of Physically Active Learning is all too apparent. According to one teacher:

“I didn’t know he could do that! He’s never written it in his maths book or shown me in a maths lesson.”

Or as Ethan from Leicester said:

“I used to think I was rubbish at Maths, but now I know I’m not.”

To find out more about how we can help you and your Y6 – and Y2 – children in the run up to SATs, email hello@tagtiv8.com or call us on 020 3370 4272.