Can a average child get top grades?

(77 Posts)
mam29 Sun 03-Mar-13 08:49:41

Just intrigued is all the good grades purly down to grade inflation?

Also on mumsnet here see huge amount of parents talk about

level 5 ad 6 sats like its the norm

The amount that do 11+ and have tutors.

does the tutoring turn everage student into a clever one therefore getting child into selective school?

At primary will the kids in bottom/middle sets ever reach to the top?

Is it involved parents, good school or effort that raises kids i suspect all 3.

fourseasonsinaday Wed 06-Mar-13 10:41:41

Yellowtip - I totally agree with you. That's why I feel the comment comes from the media is unfair to say that bright children don’t get into grammar schools because the less bright ones are being prepared too much. It very much devalues and demoralises those who gained places through hard work and dedication at that point of their life. Besides children (and even we adults) in general develop at different rate and according to life experiences and opportunities available. A child won a GS place will be praised as being BRIGHT, BRAINY, CLEVER and so on. How often do people honour a GS child for being diligent, dedicated, focus or ambitious imo these are innate ability too. From what I see in my dc’s school in general the children who got into GS seemed to be the diligent ones whether they are naturally more brainier or not.

Yellowtip Tue 05-Mar-13 13:57:29

fourseasons there's no reason why a bright but lazy child deserves a grammar school place less than an industrious less bright one. Innate ability should be valued too and there's every chance that the lazy 11 year old might become more engaged and less lazy in a grammar school environment.

fourseasonsinaday Tue 05-Mar-13 12:34:37

I don’t come from the UK. In our culture we believe that children are like gemstones. Regardless of the nature quality of a piece of gemstone it needs good caring polish to shine. A good quality gemstones will not shine without good polish but an average gemstone can shine brilliantly with skilful polish.
I also agree in the UK effort and hard work are not most valued even it comes children. If an average child prepared to work hard consistently as a result s/he won a gs place then why s/he doesn’t deserve it more than the nature bright lazy child. Who are not keeping up with gs standard the lazy one got in by nature talent or the average one got in because of consistent hard work?

slipshodsibyl Tue 05-Mar-13 09:43:38

Vietnammark,I am interested to read your response to Paddlinglikehell, please.

wheresthebeach Tue 05-Mar-13 09:42:29

I think kids develop at different stages - and all these stats about how kids all develop at the same rate and their grades can be predicted is a bit absurd.

My DSD school overrode the system because it had her predicted at C's and B's. They put in A's. She got 2 A's and a B.

My DSS was level 3 in year 6 for maths and science. Just got a B in Maths GCSE's, doing triple science - currently all A's predicted but we'll see how the exams go. He's planning to do Physics as one of his A levels 'cos its easy...

Glad I didn't understand the education system when he was in year 6 or I would have been worried sick!

Vietnammark Tue 05-Mar-13 05:06:28

Paddlinglikehell: as my post was slightly off topic, my response is quite long and as you are the only one that seems interested I will pm you rather that posting on this thread.

BrigitBigKnickers Tue 05-Mar-13 00:18:00

My DD was fairly average at primary school. Mainly 4as and one 5c in SATs.

She coasted through year 7 and 8 and didn't really set the world on fire and the school she was at didn't really push her.

Found the work ethic in year 9 but still struggled to catch up with her previous attitude. She then moved schools

Year 10 and 11 she worked like a Trojan and was predicted mostly Bs for GCSEs.

Attained 8 As, a B and a C. grin

Now almost half way through her A levels she is predicted a minimum of 3 As and a B.

I agree with the poster above who said that effort is just as important if not more so than cleverness.

In moments of despair DD used to moan about so called "Clever" children who didn't have to do any work for high grades and quite a few of them got lower grades than she did.

MerryCouthyMows Mon 04-Mar-13 23:31:56

Effort isn't undermined on any thread about selective schools that I've been on - and if it was, I would challenge that.

MerryCouthyMows Mon 04-Mar-13 23:31:01

Aunt evil - that is also true about DC's with low abilities. My DD has severe issues with Maths. She has had hours of help every week since starting Y7. She is working her socks off trying to understand Maths, and to do the work set.

She works FAR FAR harder than DS1, and FAR harder than DS2 - yet she is working her socks off in the hope of achieving a G grade at GCSE (she's in Y10). It isn't even definite that she WILL achieve a G.

It really seems unfair that she puts in double the effort DS2 does, and probably triple the effort DS1 does, yet she might not achieve a grade at all. But that is the limit of her natural ability in Maths.

MerryCouthyMows Mon 04-Mar-13 23:27:29

Aunt evil - my 'average' DS2 was distinctly NOT average when he started Reception. He has multiple disabilities, SN's and Global Development Delay.

18 months ago, he was still around 3 years behind his peers. Yet now he is 'average' academically. It has taken me finding a way that he actually learns (which was far more 'hands on' than his school had been doing), and then he slowly but surely began to catch up with the bottom of his year group on Maths, and then begin to overtake some of them. He now sits slap bang in the middle of the ability range for his class and year group in Maths.

My DS1, on the other hand, has always been advanced with his Maths skills. By his 2nd birthday, he could count to 100+, do simple addition and subtraction, and was beginning to grasp the basic concept of multiplication by knowing that 'two groups of two' meant that there were four of something.

So while I have been able to try to overcome DS2's difficulties with a different teaching method, he has been in the middle of his year group since September. So that is where I feel his 'natural ability level' is.

DS1 on the other hand, has always been almost abnormal when it comes to his abilities in Maths, and I am loath to try to push him any further, because he has already finished most if the curriculum for up to GCSE level by the end of Primary, just through working through worksheets in class. I'm concerned at how bored he will be by Y9! So if anything, I am pushing him far less than my 'average' child, out of necessity!

MerryCouthyMows Mon 04-Mar-13 23:17:08

I think that in some cases, an 'average' child can have their marks brought up by intensive tutoring, this learning things outside of school that a genuinely CLEVER child may not have yet had the opportunity to learn.

A naturally clever child can get good marks in a test, not necessarily perfect marks, but good marks, without any extra tutoring. For an 'average' child to gain the same marks, they may have had to have 2 hours or more a week tuition for 3/4 years to do so.

In my case, I have a 'clever' child that is working on lvl 8 maths in Y6, without any tuition, just extension worksheets given to him in school. My 'average' child is at level 3a in Maths in Y4.

As I can't afford tuition for either of them, it becomes apparent that DS1's lvl 8 work is purely on natural talent and DS2's lvl 3a work is the limit of his current natural talent.

If DS2 was intensively tutored, I'm sure he could maybe reach a lvl 5 in Y6 - but that would be WITH tuition, whereas DS1's lvl 8 is without IYSWIM.

I'm sure that with both of them it has helped to have a lot of parental involvement - but it cannot change their innate natural level of ability.

Amphitrite Mon 04-Mar-13 23:12:02

Mam, my DD1 is Y11, doing GCSEs this summer. She is in the top 5% of her year, expected to get A* in nearly all subjects including maths. She got L2 for maths in KS1 SATs and was never in the top maths group through primary. She is bright, but also she works hard and consistently and she cares about doing her best. Personally, what I have always lived by as a parenting rule and it seems to be paying off with my DC is that I always praise effort, not achievement. So I will never tell them how clever they are to have got a good mark, but how hardworking they are. Natural ability shows itself at different stages, not always as early as people think, but habits of perseverance and resilience are there for life.

Dromedary Mon 04-Mar-13 23:00:36

You can get quite a long way through effort, but I think there comes a stage where you also need natural ability. You probably won't get a first class degree from a good university (by which I mean you are doing a seriously challenging course) unless you have ability and a real interest in the subject, rather than just being prepared to put the hours in.
If you want to do well at music, but don't have natural musical flair, you will probably reach grade 8, but you will never have people queuing to get into your concerts.
And so on.

mam29 Mon 04-Mar-13 22:49:04

Thanks paddling like hell. thankfully she enjoys it just seems she has steep hill to climb and im standing on sidelines cheering her on but at times can be tiring.

Ideally like to chill eater hols but think need to do a bit with her as want to improve her confidence.

As its such small school theres only 2groups in year 2cohort.

I keep telling myself trust them they agree with me trying to help and theres no shame being at the bottom.
Thankfully shes no longer in tears comparing herself to others like old school and seems bit more mature since xmas.

Im hoping that shes not pigeon holed in year 3 as dident get the level 3. Im not sure she will get as much help in year 3 i guess when they feel jobs done they will phase out assistance.

I havent wanted to bombard the school with too many questions.
new teacher only been there since jan so shes still getting to know them. she says shes very sensible,kind, helpful and tried he best and shows no lack of confidence in class.

I dont think I will know really until next year.

shes exited about all the extra curricular stuff she can do in juniors.

makes gym/brownies seem so much simpler just working way through the badges in own time.

rabbitstew Mon 04-Mar-13 22:46:51

musicalfamily - I'm 100% certain the IQ score you were given was an unhelpful load of old rubbish. If it had been a proper test, you wouldn't just have been given a number like that, but would have had a lengthy report summarising the findings in quite a lot of detail.
Besides which, in any event, a global IQ score is meaningless in people who have a very spiky IQ profile - eg very high verbal IQ versus far lower performance IQ, or vice versa. Then there's the issue of memory and processing speeds, which are generally extremely important in terms of academic performance in a school environment, despite the fact you can have problems with these but still have a high IQ, or get quite good scores in these, but overal not have a brilliantly high IQ. Your memory and processing speeds are, of course, tested in a proper IQ test done by a psychologist. An overall IQ score is of no genuine use to anyone, even if it is "accurate." The devil is in the detail. Also, entrance exams for grammar schools include intelligence-type tests. It may be possible to practice them to get better at them, but then you wouldn't come out as appearing to have an IQ of below 100, would you? So the fact you managed to get into a grammar school however many years ago indicates that you don't have an IQ of below 100.

Paddlinglikehell Mon 04-Mar-13 22:24:56

Mam. We do sound like we have similar experiences.

Dd spent her first year, year 2 at her new school catching up. She had to work hard at her maths, handwriting and just the intensity of the school day , having been used to flitting from one thing to another every half hour!

It was hard for her and for us to watch, though she loved being there.

However, we are starting to see the results of that now in Year 3, so hold on in there!

mam29 Mon 04-Mar-13 22:05:13

Thanks for interesting discussion.

Polka dot in what way were expectations of twins different?

I take it they same state school and same class?

I have been very honest with new school and when looked around and spoke to head I said my daughters struggling I want to move her.
The head said will asses and if after trem 1 they agree action plan be in place in new year true to their word,

I hoping that just because shes getting extra help they wont consider her slow lane forver as in some ways think shes very bright andsharp just been failed by last schools por disrganised system and teaching.

bit nervous about end of terrm grade I think shes heading right direction. I not convinced she be borderline 2/3though its big leap in small time be happy with 2b as thats expectation and estatic with 2a, would even feel better if got 1 higher than other last years 1b for everything made me think oh god what to help with first.
I do feel scince and maths may come out stronger than reading or writing.

Weird how uk educational system so rigid they must be at this level at this moment intime.
spoke to few parents at old school who told childs year behind or same level in year 4 as at end of year 2.

I hoping if she gets high level 2 then juniors be uch easier and year 3 she be on level playfeild and shes trying to play catchup right now with new peers.

Its also fair to note the school makes a difference.
spoke to 1lady whos son did kumon she said in any other school he might be seen as bright but hos school sats driven, pushy, affluent area and hes had to raise his game to keep up sounded very stressful thats why im not sure the schools with the very high sats results are always the good ones.

Old school sats not so great and ofsted focussed on attaintment worried if she stayed she be under more pressure whereas new village school so chilled out about it all.

My freind who has just 1 child still convinced her daughters gifted and talented as shes on higher reading levels than mine got level 2s end year 1 and predicted level 3s this year yet personality shes a strange emotional child always in tears, arguing, whining and slightly smug and mean as shes been told shes bright and top of class thankfully daughters no longer in that class/school.

wordfactory Mon 04-Mar-13 18:28:07

paddington don't get me wrong, I've seen some DC who were bright buttons from day one, and are still ahead of their peers.

However, as you say there is much fluidity before puberty, if people will only allow it. DC blossom at different points.

I think also that many DC who flourished in the very early years, learned that they found school easy. That they were top without too much effort. But of course witghout that effort it's simply not sustainable.

Paddlinglikehell Mon 04-Mar-13 18:23:39

*vietnammark*. Can I ask where this info. Is from, it all sounds very interesting.

Also, when you say 'if caught early enough' what sort of age would this be? Infants, primary, secondary? Or before?

Paddlinglikehell Mon 04-Mar-13 18:21:28

I think I need to learn to spellcheck!

The boys have gone to the boys school....

Cheeky chappy persona

Paddlinglikehell Mon 04-Mar-13 18:18:12

Word, it is interesting that you feel children who achieve we'll in their early school years may not continue to do so.

Tis seems to be happening in DD's class now. The bus have gone to the bus junior and one of them, the brightest at maths is actually struggling and his mum is worried - having been top consistently through yr 1/2. There is the added issue that the teacher is not so keen on his cheeky choppy persona that has always got him by previously, so this may have a bearing,.

Another child in dd's class has always been top of the girls (and she knows it) she has a Tiger mum, but seems to be struggling too, not only with the work, but also the behaviour side of things. Dd who was very middling is forging ahead.

It goes to show that it is all very fluid through primary and children shouldn't be labeled too soon.

wordfactory Mon 04-Mar-13 14:15:47

yellow I'm certain I would fail the LNAT grin.

I'm not very confident I could get decent GCSEs in certain subjects now, either...DS' physics looks horrible.

musicalfamily Mon 04-Mar-13 14:14:28

PS as an aside, I did think about retaking it just to be sure as it was such a shock it was so low!! But not quite sure how I'd go about it!!! Any recommendations?

musicalfamily Mon 04-Mar-13 14:09:30

It was done as part of a training course and the results were sent to us confidentially at our home address. Not sure who run it tbh, could find out I guess....I am not sure how "official" it was.....

Yellowtip Mon 04-Mar-13 13:43:58

When the LNAT test was first introduced in 2006 or so I took a test paper for 'fun' and failed (quite badly I think). I'm hoping it was down to the couple of glasses of wine that I'd had and the lateness of the hour sad

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