Tuesday 16 May 2017

Why I’m Starting to Prepare my Daughters for the 2018 Year 6 SAT Tests Now

Image Source: Mum in the Mad House

My twin 9 year old daughters will sit their SAT tests next May and I felt it was important to start the preparation now.


Well, I want them both to do well of course. It is important to me that they are fulfilled; attaining everything in life that they seek to achieve and that they do the best they can.

Does this mean I am employing a tutor to help them along? Or maybe sending them to weekend prep classes as I’ve heard a few schools run or maybe I’ll just be getting their (very clever) big brother to coach them into how to become a set one student?

No, my preparation doesn’t take any of those forms. The preparation I am doing is gentle and low-key. One of them asked me the other night if you can have a reader to help you do a SAT test if you have dyslexia, I told her I didn’t know but that we would find out if it would make her feel better.

I then got both my girls together and asked them what they knew about SAT testing and they told me how they had done some tests in year 2 and one of them had achieved the national standard and the other hadn’t.  The one that hadn’t spoke of having been upset at the time, as she felt stupid. I asked them how these tests they took three years ago have effected their lives. Was the one who had met national standard doing any better than the other? Was she happier than the other? Was she more fulfilled? Had she achieved more?

I loved watching the light bulb switch on when they both realised that the year 2 SAT tests had been really inconsequential in their lives. Nothing had changed as an outcome of them. We then talked about the year 6 SAT tests being much the same. Whatever result they get will be OK. Their test results do not define who they are or what they will achieve.  They will just be used along with the CAT tests they will take in the summer of 2018 to help their secondary school know which set to put them in and isn’t it better that they are in the right level for their academic ability?

One of them then asked me why they had seen year 6 students crying and getting stressed and why they had to be quiet around the school hall for the SAT week if it wasn’t important? I made sure they understood that to the school the tests are quite important, they are a measure of their teaching. Both girls then said how wonderful their school is and that they have fabulous teachers and I advised yes, they do and that is why they will do wonderfully in their SAT tests and how important it is not to worry.

So this year’s preparation will be about open conversations, reassurances that they are both accepted and doing well whatever the outcome of the tests are and that it will always be far more important to me that they are kind and loving above anything else. Over Easter one of the girls took it on herself to raise money for two charities and the other (I’m sure) was sent to sooth my soul when I'm having a tough time. Those things make me far prouder of my girls than their ability to pass a test with top marks.

My girls have all the wonderful life skills in them that they need to do well and whether their SAT scores say they have met the national standard or not does not matter to me.

You'll notice at the top of the page I share a screen print of a FB post from Jen at Mum in the Mad House. One of her sons took his SATs this year and she has made sure he understands that he is judged on the way he treats others and not defined by a test he takes at the age of 10.

I'm completely with Jen and I'll be reinforcing this message to my girls this year as well.

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