Why don't some teachers like to tell parents how their Dc is doing compared to classmates?

(141 Posts)
forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 08:29:31

Just wondered really. Is there a difference between practices in private and state on this? Ps not asking from position where answer is likely to be "top of the class".

Emandlu Sun 10-Feb-13 08:32:28

I have no idea but I'd have thought it was because it doesn't really matter. If your child is doing the best they can do then it is of no importance if that places them at the top or bottom of the class.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 10-Feb-13 08:33:50

What Emandlu said.

stargirl1701 Sun 10-Feb-13 08:34:23

It is irrelevant. It can be useful to compare to the national average.

I don't understand why parents care where there child is within a class.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 08:35:28

Why does it matter where a childnis in relation to the rest of the class? The teacher should be able to tell you wherever you ask what NC level your child is working at- that will give you a good idea of where he is in relation to other children his age. But there will always be those way ahead and way behind- so comparing within a class isn't helpful.

And your child will know what "table" he's on, however they disguise it by calling them Guppies or a prawns or something!

milkmoustache Sun 10-Feb-13 08:35:40

Because it feeds into an atmosphere of competitiveness which is not particularly healthy.

karatekimmi Sun 10-Feb-13 08:38:54

As a teacher I am not allowed to put up tests or assessments in order as it can be demoralising (apparently) it doesn't tell you how well you child is doing, just compares with others. As we have 8 different classes it just depends on which class you are in. Ironically the first thing pupils do when they get test results is ask what everyone else got and find out where they sit in the class!!

Lilliana Sun 10-Feb-13 08:41:45

It also depends on the class - in one class they may be near the top but if they were in a different class they would be in the middle. It's not a helpful measure of how well your child is doing. NC levels will give you a much better idea where your child's strengths and weaknesses are.

Startail Sun 10-Feb-13 08:48:10

As kara says your not supposed to as it is demoralising to the lower ability DCs.

The children, of course, are all as competitive as hell and quickly find out anyway.

It's an impossible balancing act, the less able don't want the whole class to know their marks, the most able are spurred on to working by beating their friends.

It's far easier in set secondary where, certainly the top groups, have a healthy rivalry. We had to beat the boys in science and it was an absolute requirement that I came top in biology!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 08:50:41

The reason I would be interested to know is so that I can help my Dc to catch up with others if below average in the class which is where i am guessing they may be. So I feel info is relevant but was interested in knowing whether there were good reasons not to have it which might override my reasons for wanting to know. i agree that comparing with Nc expectations is more relevant as is more representative of population of children but how you are coping day to day in a particular class could also be relevant too?

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 08:55:31

Is he making progress? Is he happy to go to school? Is he engaged and interested?

If so, then it doesn't actually matter where he is in the class- he's doing fine. If not- it also doesn't matter where he is in his class, something needs to be done.

cazzybabs Sun 10-Feb-13 08:58:06

We are told to in our report guidelines - I do top third, middle third and bottom half smile. TBH does it matter where they are in the class? No - what I want to know is what their next steps are and how to get there.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 10-Feb-13 08:59:21

We do get for the end of year exams cohort average (across both the classes) and then you Child's mark. Actually not very useful for variety of reasons.

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Feb-13 09:02:33

I'm going to slightly disagree here with the rest of the posts. I don't think comparing to the class frequently or publicly is a good idea. However, I think comparing to the National Average is a bit pointless. If your child is in a school with good teachers, where most of the kids are above national average, then they should not be hitting the average unless something is wrong. I think sometimes it's an excuse not to deal with problems (in my experience) or to leave issues until a lot later, which is not helpful for the child.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 10-Feb-13 09:03:18

What Emandlu said.

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Feb-13 09:04:17

forgotten, I totally agree with you. A child does not care where they are compared to the national average, but they do feel where they are in the class! You should be able to tell by knowing the kids. Now in Y2 my ds's class don't even hide it, so the top group is A and bottom is E.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:11:49

Comparing to the national average AND looking at the individual child's progress. Comparing to the national average alone is, I agree, pretty meaningless.

Marigold-- that must be very life affirming for the Es...... sad

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 09:16:15

My Dc tells me (I have not asked) that their friends are better than my Dc is at school and that my Dc is not good at anything. It clearly troubles them so guess would like to know if I can help.

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 09:24:49

The reports of a child in my family did not compare each time to the national average, so it was an enormous shock to the family that he did not achieve enough GCSEs to stay on for A level.

The reports would show 'green' to indicate he was performing 'as expected'. Or 'to target'.

Similarly, comparison to the national average is often not appropriate for children who can reasonably be expected to do better, or for good reason are likely to achieve less than that.

Parents are not alwys able to read between the lines, and in the final anlysis, relative achievement is important. What do parents need to know? And how best to express it?

Well nametaken - if his target was the mark at GCSE that he got then his teachers were bang on with the target weren't they? It reflected his ability and he achieved at that level. It's impossible for every child to be A-level material.

I would be furious with any teacher who discusses another child's performance with me in any context whatsoever. I don't need to know about other people's children. I need to know what they think my child is capable of and what my child is achieving. Wanting to know where they are in the class is lazy imo and pointless because children at the top of the ability range need support too.

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 09:35:43

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear- the problem was not that the child didn't achieve good GCSEs, but that the parents were not aware because of the way his achievements had been presented.

MrsHoarder Sun 10-Feb-13 09:37:19

Performance relative to national average is important because it will ultimately affect what they can do at the end of schooling. The problem with comparison against their class is that the teacher will be thinking "he's behind Bobby, but Bobby has his maths teacher mum helping him" and "he's above Katie, but her parents are in the middle of a difficult divorce". How they do against their class really doesn't matter in the long run.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:41:21

"My Dc tells me (I have not asked) that their friends are better than my Dc is at school and that my Dc is not good at anything. It clearly troubles them so guess would like to know if I can help."

That is about his self esteem- and even potentially bullying. Your really need to talk to the teacher ungently. Is he making progress? What year is he in, and what sort of level is he working at?

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:43:16

Nametakenagain- surely they knew what his actual grade targets were?

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