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".

TotallyBS Mon 11-Feb-13 07:08:10

seeker - You know how you keep saying how you never mention your DS and how others keep dragging him into a thread? Please note the time and place where you dragged your DS into thread.

We get it that you are pissed off that your DS, contrary to your expectations, didn't get into the GS but why does it have to be the cornerstone of all your postings?

I mean, your bright son didn't pass the 11+ therefore it's a crap way of selection. And now it's 'pointless' knowing where a child is in the class because hey, look at your bright son who didn't pass the 11+.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 07:14:31

Sorry? hmm

TotallyBS Mon 11-Feb-13 07:18:28

Apology accepted.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 11-Feb-13 07:24:07

I think you've got confused, BS.

Chandon Mon 11-Feb-13 07:44:03

Wrong end of the stick there, BS...

Anyway, my personal experience was that the school covered up ( why?! I am still not sure) that my DS was seriously underperforming. I only found out with sats results, and when later he was in spelling group " butterflies", in which his 2 year younger brother was as well! ( and my Ds the only y3 child with Y2s and his y1 brother).

In the end we tested Ds for dyslexia, and all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. But I am still confused why the school never quite told me how badly Ds was doing, and also refused to test him for dyslexia ( a cost thing?). it has made me suspicious of state schools, sadly ( and I am state educated myself).

Anyway, maybe that is not normal in most state schools. I still think schools are unnecessarily cloak and dagger about where kids are compared to their peers, when it would be a useful indication.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 07:48:18

BS, I am aware that you seem to have a Pavlovian response to seeing my name that switches off your brain, but you really have surpassed yourself this time! What did I say that you interpreted as a mention of my ds? I'd love to know!

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 08:06:47

I suppose I don't see why you would need to know where your child is in relation to other children, when you can know where he is in relation to his own targets. But that only works if parents know to ask about NC levels at every parents evening. And if the school tracks progress properly.

I've also never known a child who didn't know what table they were on, and what it meant! But there is an argument for telling a parent whether a child is top,middle or lower third of the class, I suppose.

Cat98 Mon 11-Feb-13 08:51:57

My ds is only in reception. At his last parents evening, we were told that it is a 'bright' class but that our ds was 'ahead of the rest, however there are 1 or 2 who are snapping at his heels'!
Now at the time I did wonder 'should they have told us that?' As I could quite easily have gone to other parents and said that he is top of the class - I obviously didn't! I guess it is quite useful for us to know that they have recognised his abilities and also that there are others close to him so we know he will have a reasonably able group to work with - but should they not have said that, then?

Adversecamber Mon 11-Feb-13 09:01:16

Life is competitive which is why it is so hard all the time.

DS is at secondary school now and they were all told where their ranked position in a French test taken last week. There is a big change from primary school, the touchy feeliness has gone.

DeWe Mon 11-Feb-13 09:49:10

I think the problem with parents comparing in class is very much that classes are different, but parents don't necessarily realise this, nor are happy to hear if their class is below average.

When dd1 was in infant school, I would go in and help, and sometimes I was given a maths group to work on. I worked on it with the top two tables in her form, sometimes I then was asked to go to the other class, and only the top table would be doing that work-and often struggled with it too.

At the time I didn't really think about it, assumed that it was just the teacher's different working patterns. But when they went to juniors (double the size) they were setted in maths. From dd1's old form, all the top table and a couple of the second table were in the top set. From the other form there was one from the top table who was during the year moved up into the top set.

Now I know that there was a parent from the other form, who when she discovered that her ds wasn't in the top set (which took a bit because she assumed they were, had an awkward conversation where this was very clear) stormed in because her ds had been on the top table in infants, therefore should be in the top set now.

tiggytape Mon 11-Feb-13 09:59:02

Cat98 - assuming they didn't tell you who the other children were or whip out examples of their work to demonstate how they weren't quite at the same level as your son, then that is fine.
It gives you a clear idea of where he stands - he is doing very well in a bright class and, whilst he will probably continue to be in the top few, he might not always be the top one. Why would you not want to know that?

If they had said that the national expected level is X and your son is Z, you might have expected that he is so far ahead of 'normal' that he should be doing extra work / special work. You may have worried that he is so far ahead of 'normal' that he might get overlooked assuming (wrongly) that the class is of national average ability.

The teacher told you how bright the other children were so that you can be reassured that there are other children who are nearly at the same stage as he is. She told you he is the top one but might not always be so you can make sure his confidence doesn't become to wrapped up with always being 'top' and that he can accept being at the same level as others. She also made sure youu have a good idea that he is advanced.
All of that is much more useful than knowing DS is level Z, national average is level X and national expected is level Y.

Dromedary Mon 11-Feb-13 10:40:36

I think it is a real mistake just to tell parents how a child is doing as against their personal targets (set by the teacher). How is the parent supposed to know that that child is failing, or doing very well for their age? If they are failing, the parent may want to give them extra tuition at home, or to consider a change of school. If they are excelling, the parent may want to consider putting them in for grammar school or a scholarship. I think parents should be told how the child is doing against the national average and in respect of their class cohort.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 11-Feb-13 10:41:56

Targets are not set by teachers. Not in secondary anyway.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 10:45:38

Targets are not set by the teacher. And comparing to other kids isn't helpful-your child might be the only one in the class capable of level 6 in year 6- knowing that he was top of the class wouldn't highlight this - knowing what scores he was getting in year 5 and in the beginning of year 6 would.

Dromedary Mon 11-Feb-13 11:03:44

In my DC's primary school the teacher sets the targets.
There are a number of reasons for wanting to know how the child is doing relative to the rest of the class. For instance, if many children are doing badly, that is likely to mean something different from when only your child is doing badly. And if your child is miles ahead of the rest, they may be better off in a school where they will have a similar ability peer group. I could think of other examples.
I don't know anyone at my DC's school who boasts about how well their child is doing in comparison with others. Parents already get this information from the ability tables system.

Startail Mon 11-Feb-13 11:06:51

At primary it is hugely important to DCs self esteem that they are sitting in the table, they feel they fit on.

They work hard or chatter based on what the children either side of them do.

They like or hate school dependent on whether they feel mrs X understands them and gives them the right spellings.

Children know their abilities, Both DDs have asked me to get them put up a maths group (one at primary, the other at secondary) both were right.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 11:07:47

But targets should be set against the National Curriculum framework. So if the teach is doing something different, she isn't doing what she's supposed to be doing!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 11-Feb-13 11:09:48

BS not back to apologize yet? How interesting.

On the subject of OP: position in class must almost always mean very little - that said
1) if my child was exactly at the national average and doing fine compared with own history but the rest of the class were well above, I think that would be a useful context and worth knowing.
2) I read the lists upside down at Parents' Evening blush. Because I am competitive and I want to know.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:02

The single most useful thing years in the Civil Service taught me was upside down reading......

I find this confusing. We have never been told explicitly where any of our children were in relation to the rest of the class but always knew what standard their work was. Because teachers made it clear how well they were doing. What the hell would knowing how well my child is doing relative to Harry from the next street contribute?

Dromedary Mon 11-Feb-13 11:26:38

The targets may come from the framework for all I know, but in that case the teacher decides which one your child gets, based on their ability.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 11:29:29

Sorry- I'm not making myself clear. There is a statutory framework which dictates what sort of progress a child should make, based on NC levels. So the teacher won't actually have a choice in the targets she sets.

mumsneedwine Mon 11-Feb-13 11:47:05

My kids get their current grade and their predicted grade, but there is also the average grade for the year group as well as the spread of ranges (eg 2C - 7C). This at least gives you an idea of where they are in comparison to their year. Oh, it also let's you know if they are on target, below or above. It is a big spreadsheet, given every term, but no one can complain they don't know. Oh and there are effort marks too !

Dromedary Mon 11-Feb-13 11:53:39

That sounds really useful, mumsneedwine.
Last year at parents evening the teacher showed me a couple of graphs, with lines showing where a child DC's age was supposed to be, and a line showing where she was. He said it showed that she was 2-3 years ahead of where she was supposed to be. I frankly don't understand how a 7 year old can be that far ahead, as they won't have done the stuff they learn in the next 2-3 years yet, so it didn't make a great deal of sense to me. Also, as soon as DC got into the next year group with a new teacher, she was put down into lower ability groups. So I maybe need to give up trying to understand how she is doing!!

TheFallenMadonna Mon 11-Feb-13 11:56:09

Secondary targets are based on KS2 levels. So if they come in with a level 4, they are expected to get a GCSE grade C. In year targets are worked out based on a linear progression to that grade C. Now, the whole thing about linear progress is bollocks debatable, but the point is, teachers don't set targets based on professional judgement.

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