# SATs incorrect marking thread - a query and potential debate

Discussion in 'Primary' started by davidcunnelly, Jul 11, 2019.

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1. ### davidcunnellyNew commenter

Hi all

For those of you familiar, or not, I wanted to discuss a question which I find very contentious in the arithmetic KS2 SATS paper.

The question is as follows: 5/6 x 540

The marking scheme official answer is 450.

A few of my greater depth pupils wrote 2700/6, to me showing both their understanding of the question and that you can answer questions in different ways. This answer was given as incorrect.

I absolutely believe that this should be a mark, as 2700 over 6 is 450. They have the same value. They are the same. A few colleagues disagree. At no point does the question state it must be a whole number.

I'd be interested to hear any thoughts or opinions.

Thanks

2. ### carriecat10Established commenter Community helper

In my opinion 2700/6 is not the response I would be looking for here.
Five sixths of 540 is 450. Personally I don't think 2700/6 does show understanding of the question - it might possibly show understanding of equivalence but we couldn't know that without asking the child. Just because they have the same value does not mean they are both acceptable responses.

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3. ### davidcunnellyNew commenter

But mathematically it is correct whether it is the expected response or not? In a system where they have to use the same information to divide whole numbers by fractions I fail to see the difference...

4. ### phatsalsSenior commenter

I would consider it an incomplete calculation.

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Agree!

6. ### MalenkoNew commenter

I would consider it to be correct i.e. accurate. It would not be the answer I would typically want.

I would also be very surprised if then mark were overturned.

From the 2016 arithmetic paper "Administering the mathematics test" script
(i.e. technical accuracy is not sufficient)
or 2019
The latter line, seems to me, by implication to be an attempt to foreclose on the possibility of allowing for an improper, top-heavy fraction, in terms of relating the "single value" rule to fractions.

It's accurate but not in the desired form.

There is also general guidance on p7 of the 2019 Mark Scheme

The thread title is misleading, as the mark scheme has been correctly applied by the marker.

8. ### davidcunnellyNew commenter

Absolutely agree, just obviously being in the marking scheme and not in advance I find quite unfair.

Agree on all points though!

9. ### caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

But it was given in advance...it is in the guidance year on year (for at least the 15 years or so I've been familiar with the rules) that answers must be in the simplest form.
Even if a fractional answer were acceptable, 2700/6 is not the simplest form.

And what teacher would ever suggest to pupils that leaving a calculation half done would be fine because the answer is equivalent?
Is this equally acceptable?
354 + 127 = 454 + 27
869 - 423 = 846 - 400

5/6 of 540 would more sensible done by dividing 540 by 6 and then multiplying by 5. I'm surprised a group of children, expected to be working at a high level, would do the multiplication first and then leave the division. Intuitively it doesn't make sense and they really ought to have had no trouble dividing 2700 by 6 in seconds.

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10. ### frustumStar commenter

Or this?
345 ÷ 15 = 345/15
or
345 ÷ 15 = 69/3

11. ### phatsalsSenior commenter

I think it's because they've been taught to do
5/6 x 540/1
multiply numerators together, multiply denominators together, hence 2700/6

I would always teacher, as CTB suggests 540/6 then x5, or cancel down first, giving 5 x 90.

Greater depth or not, I think we sometimes forget they are children: they could easily have worked out 2700 divided by 6 but didn't realise they had to.

13. ### caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

Which surely must be because of poor teaching?
To find 5/6, in year 3, we teach (practically at first) to divide by 6 to get 1/6 and then multiply by 5 to get 5x 1/6 or 5/6.
Lots of conceptual understanding long before we then get to 'divide by the denominator and multiply by the numerator' mantra.
For those at greater depth standard, the only way they wouldn't know they needed to do this would be because someone has taught time saving ways to answer SATs questions (without reading guidance from years and years!), rather than intuitive mathematics with conceptual understanding.

14. ### eleanormsOccasional commenter

No, it is not surely poor teaching. The guidance on simplification hasn't been the same for 15 years, it changes quite often. We always teach the divide-by-the-denominator fandango, but in the heat of the moment, and after being asked to multiply and divide fraction after fraction very rapidly in 30 minutes, and being aged 11, children will make mistakes. This particular question and its potential pitfall comes up every year, but the marking plan is very clear.

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...surely not?

16. ### grumbleweedStar commenter

Surely if you applied the calculation to a real situation such as one relating to money or the number of biscuits you need to make, you couldn't leave your answer in that form, you'd have to finish it. So I'd agree with those saying it's incomplete.

Besides, if you're finding s fraction of a whole number, wouldn't you answer with a whole number, as much as you can do?

17. ### dreamweaverplusactorNew commenter

They definitely do not need to be given in simplest form; in the arithmetic paper it is perfectly acceptable to give the answer to 1/8 + 6/16 as 8/16 rather than 1/2.

18. ### andylongfieldNew commenter

Fractions which simplify to a whole number should be simplified. Mark scheme is generous allowing fraction with 1 as denominator. Any non whole number can be left as a fraction in any equivalent form unless stated otherwise.