KS2 SATs Reading Paper Analysis 2016-2018

Following the response to our analysis of the KS2 2019 SATs Reading Paper, we have applied Lexile® measures to determine the complexity of the texts used in the reading papers from 2016, 2017 and 2018.

As a reminder: the Lexile Framework for Reading is a scientific approach that places both the reader and text on the same developmental scale. The Lexile Analyzer generates an algorithm that measures the complexity of the text, expressed as a Lexile measure, along with information on the word count, mean sentence length and mean log frequency. Generally, longer sentences and words of lower frequency lead to higher Lexile measures; shorter sentences and words of higher frequency lead to lower Lexile measures – click here for more information.


See below the results of the Lexile Analyzer and our comparisons of the texts.

Our Thoughts

The first texts from all three reading papers are the lowest Lexile ranges from each of their papers. Text 1 from the 2017 text is showing to be the most accessible, with a range of 600L – 700L and a word count of almost half of the 2018 text. Text 1 from the 2018 paper is showing to be the most complex with a range of 900L-1000L which measures at a readability of Year 7. In comparison, Text 1 from the 2019 paper measures at the lowest range out of these papers, with 500-600L, a dramatic drop compared to the previous year’s paper.

With the 2nd texts, we can now see a big jump in the complexity of the 2016 and 2017 texts. If we compare Text 1 and Text 2 from the 2017 paper, Text 2 only has an additional 100 words, however, it has a much higher mean sentence length, which has caused the Lexile Range to increase to the readability of a Year 7.

The final texts in the 2018 and 2017 papers were at or above A.R.E. of a Year 6 pupil’s readability. However, the 2016 paper as a whole was significantly above the expected level, commensurate with the reading ability of a Year 8 pupil.


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