to think that level 6 maths at primary is pointless

(85 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 30-Jan-14 11:40:04

Having children pass a level 6 primary paper puts unrealistic pressure and expectations on secondary school children later on.

Our primary school headteacher is convinced that level 6 at keystage 2 is the equivalent of GCSE grade B. I believe that if a talented eleven year old with a level 6 in maths sat a GCSE higher level paper they would fail. Maybe a year 6 child with level 6 could pass foundation GCSE maths, but they have not covered the majority of the secondary school curriculum. I don't think that a primary level 6 is even the equivalent of a secondary level 6.

Many level 6 children have been moved down to the second set at ds's secondary because they have huge holes in their subject knowledge. I feel that primary school school should extend their gifted mathematicans sideways rather than pushing them through exams. (Ie. maths investigations, questions that require thought rather than mathematical knowledge ie. nrich.maths.org/frontpage) Improving mathematical thinking gives a good foundation for maths in later years.

pointythings Thu 30-Jan-14 13:09:56

I feel the present focuss on exams sucks the lifeblood out schools. Even gifted eleven year olds need time to play and be children.

Couldn't agree more.

Song my DD2 is having extension classes for L6 - but they are not doing practice tests and won't be until after Easter and then only one or two just so they get the format. It's really more of an extension class for maths, and I think that's how it should be presented - DD2 is working at that level and is ready for the challenge. She's jumping for joy at algebra for some reason confused and it has really boosted her confidence.

She loves SPaG too. Strange child. grin

SATs for the glory of the school are a waste of time.

MargotLovedTom Thu 30-Jan-14 13:19:21

Gah, of course - 19!
<slaps head>.

Dromedary Thu 30-Jan-14 13:23:46

The primaries around here don't seem to do Level 6? I don't think children are even offered the option.

Songofsixpence Thu 30-Jan-14 13:32:05

DD was given extension classes, from the start of term when they went back after Christmas they ran a daily after school club. DD did 2 nights a week as she had other commitments but she was put under pressure to do all 5.

She was then given level 6 practice papers to bring home each night and if they weren't completed they had to stay in at lunchtime.

They were told stuff like their SATs scored affected their GCSE results, could affect which uni they could apply to. The pressure was immense.

DD loves literacy and is much more naturally able so I think they would have been better focussing on literacy. Maths isn't, and never has been her strong point, so I ended up with a very stressed and worried 11 year old who spent nights in tears as she was so worried.

When she did CATs, her score was a whole level out, her Maths report just before half term still doesn't put her at a level 6.

5madthings Thu 30-Jan-14 13:34:50

I think it depends on the child, my ds2 got level 6 in maths, but he didnt have specific coaching to do so. He is naturally good at maths and loves it. The school just encouraged that and it hasnt caused problems at high school, he is in the top set and continuing to do well.

5madthings Thu 30-Jan-14 13:35:29

There was no pressure from the primary school at all!

Horrified by some of the experiencesothers have had.

brettgirl2 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:40:10

level 8 is roughly equivalent to a b at gcse.

yabu, why just pick on L6?

ReallyTired Thu 30-Jan-14 13:50:42

"level 8 is roughly equivalent to a b at gcse.

yabu, why just pick on L6?"

I was told at a parents council that a level 6 was an equaivalent of B at GCSE by dd's head teacher. I told her I that I thought she was wrong, but the woman was admant.

I can well believe that a secondary level 8 is the equivalent of a grade B at GCSE. That would make a lot of sense. It is hoped that most year 9s are level 6 standard and very few of them are ready for GCSE maths.

ginnybag Thu 30-Jan-14 13:55:34

I don't have an issue with schools administering the test - without coaching.

But, then, I think Yr 6 SATS should be scrapped full stop. An attainment level can be assessed just as well from class work, books, snap tests in class - e.g. with no revising/tutoring. Or the CATs, if testing must be administered.

Test the potential, not the amount of crap stuffed in their heads!

They're children. Learning should be fun.

newgirl Thu 30-Jan-14 14:05:23

I looked at the primary level 6 paper and thought it harder than my o level - had no idea what it was asking. Any kid who does it impresses me

pointythings Thu 30-Jan-14 14:14:05

Song that is exactly how not to do it. How sad for your DD and what a contrast. Makes me appreciate our local 'Requires Improvement' school more than ever.

ginny I agree with you. But then we'd have to abolish league tables and - gasp - actually trust teachers to do their job. That wouldn't do at all. </sarcasm>

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 30-Jan-14 14:40:13

DS2 (Y6) is home today, he said straight away 'its not 10' then got a bit confused doubling numbers.

His school does a Level 6 lunch club to do extension work. There is no pressure as far as I can tell. DS2 loves it or I wouldn't let him do it.

I'm lucky though, I know from past experience with my older DC (both L5) that school gave them both a secure grounding in Maths and English (and in DS1s case science) and both flew in secondary. Their levels carried on going up. Interestingly the primary school at the time was 'Satisfactory' and had just missed going into special measures.

Also my chosen secondary doesn't set from SATs.

DS2 loves SPaG too. He likes rules. The secondary he will be going too is working with feeder primaries to see what they are doing with SPaG, so they can plan the Y7 curriculum (and beyond) accordingly.

MerylStrop Thu 30-Jan-14 14:44:20

"I feel the present focuss on exams sucks the lifeblood out schools. Even gifted eleven year olds need time to play and be children."

This, just this

WingsontheWind Thu 30-Jan-14 14:49:26

I totally agree with the OP. but as a teacher you are angling your head against a brick wall if you disagree. What happens when someone like Gove decides that most children should be achieving a level 6? When a level 4 as average is no longer dood enough?

Add to ths the talk of the longer school day and fewer holidays, I'm not sure i want my children in the totem anymore.

LadyInDisguise Thu 30-Jan-14 14:50:26

Well dc1 has being doing some of the level6 SATS papers and he is in Y5. As far as I know no extension program in his school, I am finding more that they haven 't been good at giving him work at the right level.
I don't think what he does is GCSE level though. Well I very much hope it isn't tbh!

I fully agree that he would have massive holes in his learning. And that extending side ways is the way to go.
Ime all this level evaluation is and should only be a way to check if a child has mastered the basics before moving a level. Not a way to evaluate the level if the child as such (ie one child could get a fantastic result with one paper but get a much lower mark with the other depending on the subjects covered. Dc1 says himself that if there is some geometry to do he isn't doing as well. Another child in Y6 who us getting excellent results will do if there is no problems with equations.

MeMySonAndI Thu 30-Jan-14 14:53:53

My son is 10 and doing level 6 maths, he has not got any extra coaching at home apart of being pestered to complete his homework. He has started having booster classes at school because he enjoys them, he was thrilled to be selected for them. I have been told that he is so thrilled with the new more complex maths that he is becoming less interested in other subjects, which is something I need to address but as his reading is also at level 6, I really don't mind if he ends up primary with a level 5 instead.

I much rather having him all being so enthusiastic about learning maths at this level than having him getting bored in class. Do I care about him achieving a level 6? Not a iota, if he doesn't he will have time to do it in secondary school. Will I be disappointed if he didn't have that opportunity? Absolutely.

LadyInDisguise Thu 30-Jan-14 14:55:05

I also think that testing and extension work are 2 different things. One is about an evaluation if the child and the school. The other us about taking a child as far as possible in developing their knowledge on maths and their reasoning.
Just not the same.

Ihatemakingpackedlunches Thu 30-Jan-14 14:56:20

My dcs (state) primary achieved 30% level 6 in maths last year. Most of it was due to private tutors (a good 20% went on to private school for year 7). The top set at the local comp is made up of high level 5s and level 6s. From what I hear, now the tutoring has stopped the level 6s at the comp are doing no better than the level 5s and in some cases have dropped a set. IMO level 6 maths is fine if you are a natural, but if over tutoring involved helps no one in the long run.

Crazeeladee Thu 30-Jan-14 14:59:11

My dd is being put forward for level 6 maths for her sats, I didn't realise it was that level of a standard! shock

HesterShaw Thu 30-Jan-14 15:03:46

I agree.

What's the point? It used to be that Level 5 was outstanding, and now we're expecting some 11 year olds to reach Y9 standard?

How far are these children supposed to go by age 14? A Levels?

Daft.

timeforathink Thu 30-Jan-14 21:33:04

Just asked my 5 year old the question thinking hed go for 10 nope he said 19 , is that right mum he said , bloody hell , how did he guess that ?, smile

I disagree, OP.i have 5 children on my class who sat a baseline test in September (year six) and all got over 96%

How do I challenge these children if not differentiating appropriately into level six? Why should they sit in tedium for a year because they're bright?

Also, if they work hard for a year on level six material, why should they not get the chance to show off their hard work at the end of it?

ReallyTired Thu 30-Jan-14 23:51:28

"I disagree, OP.i have 5 children on my class who sat a baseline test in September (year six) and all got over 96%

How do I challenge these children if not differentiating appropriately into level six? Why should they sit in tedium for a year because they're bright?"

Surely you are capable of extending a more able child sideways? Acceleration is not the only way of catering for a gifted child. Mathematics is a huge subject. Prehaps a bigger issue is the quality mathematical knowledge of the teacher.

There is lots of maths that is not covered on the national curriculum at either primary or secondary level anymore like using different bases, logaritmns doing mathematical proofs, techniques for encryption, pascal's triangle, complex problem solving.

More able children can be given maths investigations or the nrich website has lots of brilliant ideas.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 31-Jan-14 01:15:37

I think the problem is that it isn't level 6. It's more logic and reasoning which is essentially extending outwards rather than upwards. Which is good and what should be happening anyway. Calling it level 6 doesn't actually make it level 6.

I think this got talked about a bit when the level 6 papers were re-introduced. From what I remember the sample/practice papers released for the first year were based on the level 6 maths content. The actual paper that year was a bit of a surprise. There was definitely a feeling amongst teachers I know that some children who were solid levels 5s had managed to pass, while a number of children who were competent at the level 6 skills and could apply them reasonably well didn't because the skills weren't tested.

Cerisier Fri 31-Jan-14 04:42:28

Secondary maths teacher here. Level 8 is roughly a GCSE grade B.

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