At this time of year, as you’re starting to think beyond Christmas to ramping up your KS2 Maths SATs revision in January, you’re probably already knee deep in data about your current Year 6 cohort.

You’ve also now got the data from two previous Year 6 performances in SATs so you’ll have an idea of what’s worked in the past, or what hasn’t. And what you might want to do differently when preparing your KS2 Maths SATs revision for SATs 2018.

But what if, instead of looking at 30 or 60 pupils every year, you had data from over 30,000 pupils to review and analyse when setting your KS2 Maths revision programme?

With over 30,000 pupils now having completed our KS2 SATs Booster, that’s the lucky position we’re in.

For a sense of scale, in total that’s over 320,000 hours of 1-to-1 Maths lessons. Lessons that we are able to analyse in order to better inform how we structure our KS2 Maths SATs revisions lessons.

What’s even more exciting is that this year, for the first time, we’ve been able to combine this data with our analysis of the 6 new government national tests since 2016 (see our KS2 SATs results QLA for 2016 and  SATs results QLA for 2017).

Step-by-step to a KS2 Maths SATs revision programme that achieves 100

We’ve then layered on top of this input from our primary Maths experts on the truly key components of a really successful Maths revision programme (spaced retrieval, plenty of question practice, development of stamina and confidence etc).

So, to help you when you’re planning your own KS2 Maths SATs revision, here’s what we’ve learnt, what we know you should be revising with your pupils, and how we’ve incorporated this into our KS2 SATs revision programme. .

Of course, you can find out what our SATs revision programme for 2018 looks like directly; just book a demo here, and we can show you the lessons for real!

Read more below, or click these links to jump to what you need:

Top lessons to teach for KS2 SATs revision lessons

How to diagnose your KS2 SATs pupils – low stakes quizzes & quick feedback

The 6-point structure for your KS2 Maths SATs revision lesson

How we gathered and analysed our KS2 Maths SATs revision data

Long before we started looking at the national performance data this year, we took an overall snapshot of the coverage of our SATs revision lessons from last year.

Last year we offered schools a choice from 30 SATs revision lessons covering topics from Fractions of Shapes, Quantities and Amounts to Calculating Areas to prepare their students for SATs 2017.

Altogether these lessons covered 91% of all questions that came up in the SATs. This was pretty pleasing, but we felt we could do better.

Refining the method: Reviewing the curriculum content domains across 160 questions from 2016/17

To improve on the 91%, we reviewed all of the KS2 Maths national curriculum content domains and concept areas across a range of metrics such as:

The year group content that questions tested pupils on
What featured most often in the SATs
What areas had the highest number of marks attributed to them
Questions pupils found difficult, or were more likely to get wrong (taken from    our QLA analysis)

In doing so, we spotted our first key finding:

No SATs question in either year tested Year 1 or Year 2 content

And, while the majority of questions were on Year 6 content, in 2017, over half the marks went on Year 3, 4, 5 content.

Distribution of KS2 SATs marks in 2016/17 by year covered
Distribution of KS2 SATs marks in 2016/17 by year covered

Use this spreadsheet to identify your school's strengths and weaknesses in Maths and inform Year 6 SATs revision for 2018

SATs practice & papers free

KS2 SATs Question Level Analysis Tracker - 2017

An editable spreadsheet to help you quickly compare your schools' past SATs data at a content domain question level to national averages

Question spotting for KS2 SATs content domains

We then broke the questions down by concepts and content domains. This showed us the content domains that are worth the most marks, such as Multiplication Long and Decimals (worth 19.5 marks) and also those worth the fewest marks, such as Bar and Pie Charts (0 – having not yet featured).

We combined this data with the national QLA, to gauge the likelihood of pupils to get a question on this topic correct. This gave us this chart:

Topics most covered in 2016/2017 SATs, complete with difficulty rating based on % of correct answers
Concepts most covered in 2016/2017 SATs, complete with difficulty rating based on % of correct answers

From this, we were also able to extrapolate the broad concept strands that are tested most fully in the SATs, plus how many marks they’re worth:

A chart of most frequently covered topics in 2016/2017 KS2 SATs, alongside how many marks they are worth
A chart of most frequently covered concepts in 2016/2017 KS2 SATs, alongside how many marks they are worth

Finally we were then able to work out which lessons were ‘most important’ to teach for KS2 Maths SATs revision, starting from January…

Top lessons to teach for KS2 Maths SATs revision

On our KS2 SATs revision programme, we provide schools with a weekly programme of lessons that lasts 14 weeks. For us, this little and often approach of weekly 1-to-1 tuition taught by a Maths specialist is the magic number for impact and attainment.

As such, we’re looking at the top 14 lessons to teach. Obviously, if you start earlier (or later) than January, or teach revision lessons more frequently, you’ll need to adapt the following accordingly.

All previous learning being equal (and all pupils being equal!) here is the order in which we recommend you teach your KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons:

A hierarchy of which KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons should be taught first, based on the weighting of allocated marks and the frequency that a topic comes up in the tests.
A hierarchy of which KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons should be taught first, based on the weighting of allocated marks and the frequency that a topic comes up in the tests.

For us, over the 14 weeks we have with pupils, this means we would start with Multiplication (long and decimals) and end with Ordering and Comparing Numbers.

BUT, as we all know this is only an incomplete picture.

It doesn’t take into account the key factor for any really successful Maths revision programme – the pupil. More specifically, what does the pupil know now and what do they need to know next.

So, here’s where the real magic happens.

Regular pre and post teach diagnostic tests to assess pupil needs

On the whole, when you’re preparing a class of 30 for their KS2 SATs, we recommend following a similar programme to our lessons above. However, there will always pupils who need more personalised support to achieve 100.

Naturally, you’ll already know which of your target pupils are below (or just below). So it’s a case of providing them with intensive, ideally 1-to-1, intervention mapped to their individual needs, to ensure success in KS2 SATs.

In our experience, to do this well is exceedingly difficult. Even for the most experienced Year 6 teacher and Maths Lead. Put simply, there just isn’t enough time in the school day.

So our goal is to free up your own teachers to teach the whole class while we work with the ones who need individual support.

We have even created a toolkit of SATs lessons for the whole class too within our KS2 SATs booster package as part of our drive to make your intervention budget go further.

How to diagnose your KS2 SATs pupils’ maths gaps – low stakes quizzes & quick feedback

No doubt you will have your own methods of diagnosing pupils specific gaps, although our free year 6 diagnostic quizzes are a great place to start if you don’t.

This is how we do it:

  1. Before a pupil’s first lesson, they each sit a short online test on to assess their understanding of 7 of the key content domains. The test looks at both a pupil’s ability to do the procedure, and ability to problem solve and apply their knowledge.
  2. From this, we get an idea of that pupils’ areas of strength/weakness based on their independent answers to particular concepts in that topic.
  3. Then, at the end of every lesson, a pupil is tested on content they’ve just worked through with their tutor, and on content from the next most relevant lesson. This tells us if that’s where they should go next, or if they should in fact head to a new lesson.
  4. Finally, at the end of the programme, we do one final quiz to ascertain progress made during their 14 weeks. On average pupils make double expected progress during our SATs revision programme. In fact, in a trial using Rising Stars Puma standardisedh tests, our pupils made 28 weeks progress in 14 weeks.

Note: Pre and post quizzes are designed to be quick and fun – low stakes with quick feedback. They shouldn’t take up too much pupil or teacher time.

The 6-point structure for your KS2 Maths SATs revision lesson

As far as possible, within each SATs revision lesson, we try to follow the calculation policy for each school so that we’re giving pupils lessons in a way that’s familiar to them.

Much of what we’re trying to do in our revision programme is to unlock previous knowledge and understanding that a pupil already has and tie it together with the additional concepts the pupil needs to know.

Essentially we follow a mastery approach, always aiming to develop fluency, problem solving and reasoning and at each stage.

Here’s the step-by-step template we believe to be the most effective structure and flow for these KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons.

Step 1: Arithmetic Warm Up

An arithmetic warm up slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
An arithmetic warm up slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

This involves questions similar to those found in the Arithmetic paper, and covers a variety of operations to aid fluency and recall. We also encourage pupils through interleaved practice to switch between operations.

Step 2: Revision slides

A revision slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Next come the revision slides that review the concept but with scaffolding to support the pupil and build confidence. The tutor at this point is asking questions of the pupil to help them make connections and to explore the concepts raised.

Step 3: SATs practice questions

A SATs practice question designed to be used in a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A SATs practice question designed to be used in a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Once pupils are comfortable with a concept they move on to apply their learning to SATs style practice questions.

Tutor and pupil work through about 3 SATs reasoning questions per lesson – application questions that have been carefully created following the model from national and standardised SATs papers

Metacognition is key to a pupil’s accelerated progress so we provide tips for pupils to help them decide on a strategy for answering each question.

Mastery focused reasoning tips provided in for pupils on our SATs Booster Revision Programme
Mastery focused reasoning tips provided in for pupils on our SATs Booster Revision Programme

Tutors also extend pupils understanding by asking some open ended questions such as:

  1. What do you know?
  2. What do you notice?
  3. How can you show your working out?
  4. How can you extend this question?

Step 4: Reasoning work

A reasoning slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A reasoning slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

In every lesson pupils are also encouraged to tackle a deeper reasoning slide to build their verbal fluency and ability to justify answers. Tutors support them to notice patterns, make connections and generalise as these are the skills that correlate to higher attainment

Step 5: Challenge questions

A series of challenge slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A series of challenge slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Once a pupil has completed the main section of the lesson, they are given additional challenge questions to encourage them to work at Greater Depth.

These are low threshold high ceiling questions in which tutors are trained to support the child to have fun exploring the concept further, and enjoy the challenge.

Step 6: Support slides to plug gaps

A series of support slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A series of support slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Finally there are a range of support slides that a tutor can use to plug any gaps as they arise in a lesson, all of which are precursor steps to the questions being asked.

We’re very excited about our KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons and hope this has given you some ideas to take back to your own school about how to set up your own revision.

If you’d like to find out more about our KS2 SATs revision programme, book a demo to speak to one of our schools team.

For more about the pedagogical principles we follow for our approach to revision in Maths at KS2, now read this: What You Can Learn From A Maths Revision Programme That Has Prepared Over 20,000 Pupils for SATs [Revision Maths KS2].

David Leighton , Content Team , Third Space Learning

A former secondary teacher, David keeps a weather eye on the educational horizon. He's responsible for making sure our blog posts and Maths resources reach teachers far & wide.