Education & Family

Sats papers prompted more than 35,000 appeals

Image caption The marking of the written English paper has often attracted criticism

More than 35,000 Sats papers taken by England's 11-year-olds last May were sent back for re-marking.

In about one in 10 cases a new grade level was given, a similar level to last year, government statistics show.

Head teachers had complained particularly about the standard of marking in the English papers.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said it was reassuring that the proportion of papers given a new grade was the same as last year.

Most of the appeals about marks were about English papers - especially the writing task.

In total, there were 29,926 appeals against writing papers and 7,176 for reading.

There were 1,302 for maths.

These figures add up to more than the total appeals figure of 35,359 because some pupils will have had both their reading and writing papers submitted.

Just over a million Sats tests in English and maths were taken by more than 500,000 pupils in England.

From next year, the writing paper for the English Sats test will be assessed by teachers and then be moderated, rather than being sent away for external marking.

The total number of appeals was higher than last year (when there were about 23,500), but this is at least partly due to a boycott of the Sats tests by one in four of England's schools last year.


Heads and teachers involved in the industrial action by the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers said the tests were not a true reflection of what pupils and schools could do, skewed the curriculum and led to the production of league tables.

Mr Gibb said: "These statistics show that just 0.3% of all the English and maths papers marked this year were given a different level after being reviewed. This is the same proportion as in 2010.

"I am also reassured with the figures for writing, where some teachers had raised concerns about the quality of marking. The writing papers of more than 500,000 pupils were marked, and only 0.6% of them were awarded a different level after review - again the same proportion as last year."

About one in 10 appeals (9.7%) led to a completely new level being awarded, for example from level three to level four, although grades can be lowered as well as raised.

Children are expected to reach level four at the age of 11.

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said: "Heads continue to be sceptical about the results of marking, in particular of the writing paper.

"We welcome the fact that we are moving to a different scheme next year."

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