What level should Y4 be for super selective grammar?

(66 Posts)
Rainbowinthesky Sat 23-Mar-13 18:00:00

Hi
DD is in a school which has historically and still is doing badly for progress and value added. Her year group have been hit particularly hard over the years and there is no quick fix on the horizon.
I would like her to try for a super selective grammar though. I cannot go by the levels I have been given in the past from the school because it has been found that previous levels for the children were inaccurate and untrustworthy.
She has recently completed Y4 sats.
What level should she be getting if she stands any chance of a super selective?

MrsShrek3 Sun 24-Mar-13 10:04:27

yr4 ds2 is 4a's now and hoping to go to a selective/g&t school. I'm open minded tbh. The top stream at the local academy that ds1 attends is excellent too .

Yellowtip Sun 24-Mar-13 10:15:38

seeker I think you'll probably find there is a pretty strong correlation. I'd expect those working at consistently low SAT standards not to get in. I agree that it may not be a guarantee the other way round (in other words that high scores don't = a place).

seeker Sun 24-Mar-13 10:21:37

Sorry, didn't make myself clear. There are far more kids with brilliant SATs than places at super selectives. So, while low SATs are probably a pretty good indicator of non-suitability, high ones aren't any sort of guarantee.

clam Sun 24-Mar-13 11:04:23

Not even half the numbers of children from our school are getting into the selective comprehensives near us now, compared with 5-10 years ago.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 11:05:08

Yes seeker - that is exactly right. We live in an area where we have super selectives within commuting distance and genuine comps nearby.
The top set of the comps is comprised of children who left primary school on level 5a and level 6.

There are more children who are very clever than there are grammar school places so, whilst all grammar school pupils tend to have Level 5a / 6, not all children on track to get level 5a / 6 will get a place at grammar school (hence the mad amount of tutoring that follows because it is possible to pass the 11+ but still not get a place)

clam Sun 24-Mar-13 11:06:34

Have had a fair few parents though, whose kids are attaining very average or worse levels in years 4 and 5, saying that they're paying for tutoring and having a go nonetheless.

Schmedz Sun 24-Mar-13 11:37:23

I know plenty of children achieving high level 5s and 6s who do not 'pass' the super selective grammar school exam ( for the only GS closest to us).
If your child scores consistently well above 95% in VR and NVR tests they might have a chance to get into a school like that. In reality only the top 2-3% of scores will gain a place.

piggywigwig Sun 24-Mar-13 11:38:46

Like Yellowtip, I'd also be wary of being put off by by a first disastrous paper. Let's give an example: my DD2 had high Level 4 SATS at the end of YR 4. She's got in to an Essex superselective with a very comfortable score with me as a "tutor". Her first practice VR paper was a bit of a disaster, not because she couldn't do the questions but because she had timing issues and her exam technique fell apart under pressure. The pressure of timing on a VR paper is pretty relentless and most children lose marks first time out because they can't complete all 80 questions in a 50 minute paper. I wouldn't be too worried. I'd be a little concerned if after 3 practice papers and some fine-tuning on exam technique and how to do to those question-types that a child finds more challenging, they were still getting about 40%. Not many people do full practice papers in YR4 anyway, it's a "big ask" wink

SATS can be a vague indicator but as many on here have said, high SATS don't necessarily translate into a place at a superselective place. Even being at a good primary won't guarantee a higher chance of success, especially where Maths and English are tested, too. We had a near-disaster in Yr 5 with DD2's teacher who we were told, was an ace teacher. Wasn't quite the "ace" we needed, though - she was more of a club when we needed a diamond wink

Yellowtip Sun 24-Mar-13 11:59:08

Isn't there an error in thinking that high SATs indicate a pupil who is therefore superselective standard? I'm not a primary teacher but although low SATs seem to correlate with not being that standard I'm less sure that high SATs necessarily indicate a child with the reasoning skills that the top selectives are looking for.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 12:09:41

It depends on how they test their pupils.
In London each grammar schoole xam is different: some 11+ exams consist of VR and NVR tests, some do Maths and VR, some do English and Maths, some do English and VR

Yellowtip Sun 24-Mar-13 14:15:09

Which superselectives select on English and Maths only? Just curious. And are both of those tests multiple choice?

clam Sun 24-Mar-13 15:00:45

Possibly not, yellowtip, but the to the Gov't they're the be-all-and-end-all.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 16:00:19

Wilsons (boys' grammar) in the Croydon area test just Maths and English only and are superselective (no catchment area).
No not multiple choice - a mix of essay writing, comprehension tests and short answer and long answer (very long by all accounts!) maths questions.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 16:03:55

It looks like the Sutton / Croydon grammars may change again this year though to a 2 stage selection process with a knock out round early in the year and more in depth testing later on.
But last year and in previous years Wilsons was Maths and English, Sutton Grammar was Maths, English with some verbal reasoning and the others were a mix.
Only Tiffins as far as I know was ever purely multiple choice.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 16:16:21

Wallington (also a boys' grammar and super selective in the same area) do sit multiple choice exams in Maths, English comp and VR.
They have an essay on top of that so it is not 100% multiple choice. The VR paper is weighted so it counts for less than the other things (Maths is 40%, English is 40% and VR is 20%).

It has been tweaked a lot over the years in the London area - reasoning has been phased out more and more (except at Tiffins) and schools are seem to be making English comprehension a much bigger part of the testing process. This is why people in London (who witness the multiple tutor madness that such diverse testing lead to) think it is odd that Kent might move over to Maths and English tests as a way to solve the problem of intensive coaching. People in London employ English tutors with separate maths and reasoning tutors so the whole thing gets ever more competitve.

SWandStressed Mon 25-Mar-13 09:06:22

The other thing to bear in mind is that not all schools will give DCs the curriculum to reach say 4a in certainly Maths and possibly Literacy by the end of Year 4.

These levels are a measure of attainment not ability. Of course, it will not be possible to attain these sorts of level by end of Year 4 if there is no "potential super selective" ability. But there might nonetheless be that ability even though only 4b or 4c is being reached. Likewise, Level 5s by end of year 5 and so on.

Another example: MNers sometimes talk about reaching Level 6 at end of year 6. Very few schools (none in my area, I believe) provide the curriculum or teaching to get to that level in primary. It doesn't mean that the children are less able, only that they have not been pushed stretched as much.

Schmedz Mon 25-Mar-13 22:08:09

Possibly a child is not able to show they are capable of level 6 in maths as some of the assessment tasks are 'capped' but in English there should conceivably be no 'cap' as the levels describe different aspects of the writing. A friend of mine has a child in a school which overall does not get great SATS result but is working at high level 5/level 6 in year 6...she has the same teacher as children achieving much lower levels. Obviously they provide the opportunity for her to take tests at this level and properly differentiate the work in the classroom for a wide range of abilities.
Is that really that unusual for a primary school?

SWandStressed Tue 26-Mar-13 09:06:19

You might be right, would be interested in seeing teachers here comment on that point.

FWIW I am a parent governor of primary, and see regular HT reports, which never report any levels above 5 for KS2. Now it might be that in all my years as governor (coming on for 7 - a total of 400+ Year 6's) no child in this "oustanding" primary was off that ability of course....

But as I say, as a lay person, I see your point that in English there should be no "cap" in the same way as there would naturally be one for Maths.

Yellowtip Tue 26-Mar-13 09:14:55

At DD4's tiny local primary (four year groups taught together by a single teacher in one class etc), five pupils out of six were given a L6 practice paper yesterday with the top scorer getting 22/24, so presumably a L6? (one or two of the others weren't far behind).

teacherwith2kids Tue 26-Mar-13 09:42:38

L6 papers were reintroduced for the first time last year (and Yellow, if they did the 'sample' paper issued before the final tests last year, the eventual 2012 paper was significantly harder. As far as I remember, over half of DS's year group passed the 'trial' L6 paper whereas 15% passed the real one).

Before that, children could be recorded as L6 based on teacher assessment but as there was no formal 'SATs paper' for them to take it was IME rare.

seeker Tue 26-Mar-13 09:42:40

SW- until last year, there was no level 6 paper available, so you wouldn't have seen any level 6s in the HT's report. That didn't mean there weren't children working at level 6 in the class, though.

LilyBolero Tue 26-Mar-13 12:57:52

In ds1's maths set, top set in a comprehensive, most of the kids acheived L6 in the 2012 SATs. So, in his school, probably 30-40 L6s.

seeker Tue 26-Mar-13 13:09:19

Out of interest, how do you know they all got level 6?!

LilyBolero Tue 26-Mar-13 14:00:35

Because the teacher told me that was one of the main assessment points they used for setting, and that this was the number in that set who had L6. Ds1 missed out on L6 by a few points (4 marks I think), so to begin with he was set 2, till he was moved up after a few weeks.

Yellowtip Tue 26-Mar-13 14:07:36

I think it was last year's real paper teacher, though that's just from DD. What is the pass mark, do you know? She said something about them being due a calculator paper too, so I assume there are two papers to do? Are they evenly weighted? I'm quite curious now.

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