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".

Chandon Sun 10-Feb-13 09:47:16

Teachers are deliberately vague, but kids know that "foxes" is the higher level in spelling, and that in maths, "pears" is better than "apples".

I find it annoying that they differentiate by ability, yet refuse to tell parents in which set their kids are.

IMO, either do away with the sets and teach all kids at the same level (with extension work for the ones who are quick), or do the blimming levels but be open and upfront about it to the parents.

Why al this cloak and dagger thing? Doing one thing (separating on ability) and pretend another (all kids are the same, all equal, all doing fine and we do not compare them, ladida).

It somehow seems hypocritical to me, and allowed the school to hide quite how badly my DS was doing until he was a full 2 years behind, and we found out fecking caterpillars was actually a group with mainly Y1s, when DS was in Y3.

no hard feelings, you see blush

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:48:33

Chandon- weren't his NC levels a clue?

Chandon Sun 10-Feb-13 09:51:21

Only found out at end of Y2 (SATs), that was the first clue. Quite late really, having had lots of parent evenings in Y1 and Y2 assuring us everything was "fine".

TotallyBS Sun 10-Feb-13 09:59:43

The kids at my DS's indy openly discuss their test/exam scores with each other so I don't need to ask his teacher where he stands.

Its a competitive school with competitive parents and children so the above behavior doesn't solicit exaggerated rolling of the eyes like it does in this thread grin

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 10:00:40

Thanks Seeker. I am going to take your advice and speak to teacher. Chandon - I know that our school have graded tables but like you, no info is given out on them. The mums who do reading at school try to find out which ones their Dc are on by stealth while there. Surely that is a silly situation?

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 10:04:50

I also wonder if it can be right that the kids have an idea if they are not as good as some of the others but parents cannot be told if this is accurate so as to support them if this is troubling them.

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Feb-13 10:05:13

My DDs school love doing this. It's a high achieving state primary with top Ofsted....when my older DD was struggling in year 3, her teacher showed me her written work and that of a classmate who was performing much better.

I was shocked! The same thing happened last week with my younger DD who is 4. SHe is struggling to learn the alphabet by sight and the teacher showed me the letters she knows and those that classmate knows.

It pissed me off really. Both girls are bright....my struggling writer is now in year 4 on level 4a...she just had a rocky start in a new school. And DD2 will get there...she's simply young and likes digging n the sand more than letters!

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Feb-13 10:06:29

INterestingly, our school do not seat kids by ability....the tables are mixed and changed every term.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 10-Feb-13 10:07:26

I teach in a challenging state school, and my students know exactly where they are in the class too. Sometimes I even project the spreadsheet I record all their assessment data on shock. Not with all my groups, but for some of them.

I don't tell parents though, because I do it as a motivator for the students. Parents get the official target grade (based on levels of progress), current attainment, projected attainment. Either as a NC level or a GCSE/A level grade, as appropriate.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:08:47

We were told at secondary level- your exam result followed by year average. But this was a grammar school.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:10:55

Mrs mushroom- that is awful! Really unprofessional. How would you feel if your daughters work was being shown to the brighter child's parent? I think I would actually make a complaint.

TomArchersSausage Sun 10-Feb-13 10:12:42

Agree with Chandon.

Anyway, once they get to secondary school all coyness about what set your dc is in flies out of the window.

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

Of course children compare. They do all sorts of things you don't want the adults around them doing!

Hulababy Sun 10-Feb-13 10:24:19

DD goes to an independent prep school and we are not told her position within the class and never have been.
I work in a state infants and we never tell parents where a child is in relation to the rest of the class.

Yes, children compare - but that is different to what a teacher will tell. But not all children are competitive - some are yes, but definitely not all. And this is nothing to do with ability either - there are many children who are working at the top end who are not in the slightest bit competitive.

I really don't see any reason to tell parents what position in class a child is. Besides it will vary subject to subject, and sometimes even week to week. Some classes can also be very skewed - so may be very high ability heavy, or have a lower ability cohort - even classes within multi entry intake varies int his way. We have a three form entry and it has worked out that one class seems to be working at a higher ability than the other two, but then the other two have ended up with more children with learning difficulties, so the average is skewed as a result.

It is far more beneficial to know how well your child is doing in comparision to national averages and national expectations for your child's year group (and lower down their actual age).

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Feb-13 10:26:05

scarlettsMummmy I don't suppose there'd be a need to show the work of a less able child to the parents of an able one....but still. It's not nice...I feel it was because I have not been very forward in pushing them academically...a lot of the children have tutors from age 6 and they turn up aged 4 already reading or at least knowing some phonics.

I just let mine play and read to them before they were old enough to attend school! When I told the teacher this, she said "well Im sure they've had a lovely time.." in a sort of disparaging "but you'll have to knuckle down now" way.

harryhausen Sun 10-Feb-13 10:28:49

I'm only concerned with how my dcs are doing against a national average. Their position in a class could give a warped sense of actual progress surely (depending on academic dynamic in the class surely?).

I think teachers don't indulge because

A) It gives a distorted idea of progress

and

B) Breeds competition amongst parents and some parents will brag/talk. Not a nice environment.

My dsis's 3 dd's are in an international school. She told me once that one particular nasty parent complained to the board of governors because she wanted the names of all the children in the year with ALL their academic results printed clearly so she could compare her child.

Luckily she was told where to gogrin

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 10:37:00

"I'm only concerned with how my dcs are doing against a national average."

And crucially how they are doing against themselves.

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 10:43:38

Seeker- his predictions were a little optimistic, but the real problem was that an external comparator was included too late for parents to even consider A level might not be an option. Then when he fell slightly below his predictions, it came as a huge shock and they had made no alternative arrangements.

It would have been better to have been clearer years earlier so he could have been better supported, and alternatives to A level considered carefully and not seen as 2nd rate.

difficultpickle Sun 10-Feb-13 11:01:54

Ds's old school would never tell you where children were in class. His new school does. I prefer to know but it isn't something I would ever share with other parents.

Scootee Sun 10-Feb-13 11:20:38

I think that the position of a child within their class is of huge relevance. Let's take year 2 - the children in the class have received 2.5 yrs worth of identical education so far. The child at the bottom of the class has a problem IMO. Even if that child is on the national average, there must be a reason why they are behind their entire class. This exact thing happened to my friend's ds. School never, throughout the whole of reception and y1 admitted the child was anything other than "fine", despite my friend challenging because it had become clear he was at or near the bottom of the class. Finally y2 teacher admitted child bottom of class across the board. It may be hard to hear but it allows the parents to get something done to help. In this case, a diagnosis of dyslexia. I cannot stand the attitude of "don't compare" - all very well if your child is doing well but it puts a veil of secrecy over children who desperately need and want extra help. My friend was so frustrated and worried by the lack of info.

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 11:36:38

Don't think we can rid the world of bragging parents whether they have the info on where their child is or not. As someone who i think it is likely would not have a reason to brag and would have to listen to others doing it i would put up with the braggers to be in a position to support my Dc as much as i can. It matters not to my dc where my dc is against the national average (although is important info to me). What upsets my dc is my dc's reality ie where my dc rightly or wrongly believes they are in the class. if we were told both where they were against national average and where they are in the class we would have all info needed and would not be distorted.

difficultpickle Sun 10-Feb-13 11:53:54

True. We had plenty of bragging parents at ds's last school. Some of whom would chase me down in the car park after parents' evening to tell me how fabulous their dc was!

socareless Sun 10-Feb-13 11:54:03

I agree forgotten it really is sad. In my DS1's former state school we were not told anything just he is 'fine'. Not having schooled in the UK it was a struggle understanding why there was so much secrecy and why it was frowned upon to want to know how well one's child was doing.

Parents evening was always so uncomfortable for us because teacher would not really say much about academic work but talk about his general behaviour which was very good and we were happy to hear that as well but we were more concerned about academic as that was outside our control in the way behaviour wasn't. We were not really happy that DS1 was a free reader in YR1 and was not made to bring books home. We insisted that he carried on reading

Anyway we moved at end of Y2 to private and I am so relieved that it is not a UK wide issue. First parent's evening teacher told us that he needs help with writing, reading and comprehension and that his direction of travel in class is going up and he is very determined. We were very grateful.

Hulababy Sun 10-Feb-13 11:54:21

"Let's take year 2 - the children in the class have received 2.5 yrs worth of identical education so far. "

Only in a one form intake, with all children arriving on the same date in September of Foundation stage and all children having 100% attendance. Oh, and all children being subject to the same level of support and edcuation outside of school too. Not to mention the stage at which they already were at when they started school.

Hulababy Sun 10-Feb-13 11:56:27

If a child was bottom of the class, ime, the parents would already know there were issues even without telling the parents the child's class position. In all the schools I know of that child would be receiving additional support and intervention and the parents would know that the child was having this support and why.

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