The analysis of SATS results as a measure of pupil progress across educational transitions

Paul Withey, Sarah Turner

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Within any Educational System the transition of pupils from one stage to the next, and often the associated transition from one educational establishment to another, is an area of interest for educational establishments, educationalists and educational authorities due to the effects of this movement on pupil progress, their academic achievement and performance measures for schools. The National Curriculum Assessments (NCA) are used in England as a nationally administered examination to evaluate pupil progress and academic achievement at the transition from one Key Stage to another. Also within England different schools can have differently aged cohorts, for example Primary Schools cover ages 4 to 11 years whereas Infant Schools cover ages 4 to 7 years and Junior Schools 7 to 11 years. This investigation has examined the significance of type of primary school (i.e., all-age primary, 4 to 11 years, versus junior, 7 to 11 years) for achievement at age 11 years. Using national statistics, it was shown that junior and primary schools perform equivalently in terms of academic achievement at the end of the pupils’ time in the schools but primary schools seem to outperform junior schools in terms of the improvement in the pupils’ ability (value added) during their time in Key Stage 2. This work has shown that on average a junior school will have a lower value added score at Key Stage 2 to equivalently performing primary schools and that this difference, whilst small, is both statistically, and in terms of league table position, significant. Also, the data were compared to the much smaller group of schools which provide education from Key Stage 1 through to Key Stage 4 and beyond. These schools showed the same rate of progress (value added) through Key Stages 1 and 2 as the general population of schools but with lower points scores per student.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
JournalEducational Review
Issue number1
Early online date28 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • assessment
  • primary/elementary years
  • secondary education
  • governance/management


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