Earlier this month, the KS2 standardised achievement tests (SATs) dominated the lives of thousands of 10 and 11-year-olds across the UK. For the second year in a row, children were tested on the new, tougher curriculum.
Despite the Government trying to emphasise that the results are not qualifications and don’t affect children’s future options, increasingly more and more youngsters are feeling the pressure of these assessments.
So how can we as parents help ensure that these assessments don’t place undue stress and anxiety on them?
Keep a good routine
In the build-up to the SATs make sure that your child is eating well, sleeping well, drinking lots of water and keeping active. This will reduce stress and aid concentration. It is also important that your child doesn’t work too hard and ‘burn out.’
Avoid side-lining their extra-circular activities in favour of extra revision. Hobbies, such as playing a musical instrument, attending a dance class or playing for a football team, can be great for stress relief.
Use targeted revision
Whilst parents are encouraged to support their children’s learning throughout the year, preparation for SATs week itself can be key to reducing anxiety. Help your child plan their revision time effectively and work through practice test papers at home together. This will not only help cement their learning but will also help you to understand the types of questions that might be asked.
Spending time practising how to answer questions (using marking schemes as reference) can also be key, as often it is more than just straightforward subject knowledge that SATs examiners are looking for.
To structure revision, schools often offer Easter holiday SATs classes or school-led Saturday classes and some parents may also choose to send their child to a private tutor. Tutors can play an important role in preparing children for SATs as outlined by one of the tutors registered with The Tutor Pages.
By talking to your child about the upcoming exams, and therefore normalising them, you will help reduce their fear of the unknown. However, bear in mind not to place too much importance on the actual results; children’s desire to make their parents proud can often be the cause of their anxiety.
If you see any sudden behavioural changes in your child and become concerned over their general well-being, try to speak to them as openly about it as possible. Charity YoungMinds provides a survival guide for any parent who is worried about their child.
“Just do your best”
Perhaps most importantly, children need our reassurance and encouragement to feel proud of themselves and what they have achieved during their time in primary education.
If you can help your child to foster the mind-set that these tests are an opportunity to challenge themselves and demonstrate their learning, it is also great preparation for life at secondary school.