Pearson's Stanford Achievement Test, also known as SAT10, is a nationally recognized, standardized test to measure the academic progress of students over 13 levels from kindergarten to grade 12. Each grade level has a different test to measure the appropriate standards. To help you understand the Stanford Achievement Test, learn about the test subjects and how the test is scored.

Stanford Achievement Test Subjects

The SAT10 tests candidates on eight main areas: reading, reading comprehension, mathematics, language, spelling, listening comprehension and vocabulary, science and social science. Each subtest has 20 to 48 traditional multiple-choice questions depending on the grade level.


The reading subtests assess comprehension, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary and phonics at appropriate grade levels. Assessing these skills in the early grades helps to ensure that students are making progress at every stage of literacy.

Reading Comprehension

Passages used in the SAT10 to test reading comprehension are commissioned from published authors of children's and young people's literature and selected to appeal to all students regardless of background, experience and interests. These questions assess students' interpretation skills, critical analysis skills and reading strategies.


The mathematics subtests measure concepts and processes following the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and state standards. Students are tested on data, statistics and probability; number sense and operations; geometry and measurement; and patterns, relationships and algebra.


The SAT10 language subtest aligns with International Reading Association/National Council of Teachers of English standards and state standards and assesses students' ability to apply effective writing principles, including word- and sentence-level skills to whole composition features. It also tests students' understanding of language mechanics like capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure and organization.


Part of the spelling component of the SAT10 involves identifying commonly misspelled words and their correct spelling. Each spelling item consists of one sentence with three underlined words and a "no mistake" option for students from primary three upward.

Listening Comprehension and Vocabulary

Students in grades K to 9 are assessed on listening comprehension and vocabulary. Listening comprehension uses dictated selections and questions mirroring what students hear in and out of the classroom. Listening vocabulary assesses students' understanding of the common meanings of spoken words in a range of everyday activities.


Science questions are designed to test students' reasoning skills and ability to reach conclusions across the life, physical and earth sciences. Content follows current science practice and research and aligns with the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council), the Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and state standards.

Social Science

Social science covers economics, geography, history and political science with equal focus on national and international matters. For example, history questions focus on U.S. history, Western civilization and non-Western society. All social science questions are designed to assess students' critical thinking skills.

Preparing for the SAT10

The SAT10 is based on national and state grade level standards, so preparation should include reviewing the appropriate reading, math, language and science skills and concepts. You might want to start by revising content taught during the second half of the previous school year.

Spending time improving general test-taking strategies, such as using the process of elimination and completing a bubble sheet, may also help. There are no official time limits, so there's no need to worry too much about pacing.

Stanford Assessment Scores

Schools can look at both percentile rank and stanine scores (this converts any score to a single-digit score) to compare each student's Stanford test results with others across the U.S.

Pearson has four normed groups to compare: national, Catholic, private and local. Score reports can also show whether grade-level achievement is low, medium or high for a given student on each subtest. Students can also receive a Lexile score to reflect their reading level.

It's important to understand that as a standardized test, the SAT10 is not a pass/fail test, so there is no need to retake the test in the same grade level. The purpose of the test is to show how one student compares nationally to other students in the same grade level.

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