New report suggests adjusting August born's test results.

(230 Posts)
Suzieismyname Fri 10-May-13 05:27:34

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22469216
This will be ignored by Gove, won't it?

I'm an August baby. When in primary school my reports were always mentioning that I was very bright but didn't have great attention levels. Mum said she kept mentioning that I was one of the youngest in the class and they told her it was rubbish, until mum spoke to another girl's parents with a similar birthday and discovered the same reports... However by middle and upper schools we were both amongst the brightest in the year. I often wonder if the challenges we were presented with helped us. It'd be great to have my marks adjusted, I'd definitely have come out top of my year then!!!!!

catinhat Fri 10-May-13 10:56:53

I must be a genius, then!

I was late July and my academic record is unfaulted!

hugoagogo Fri 10-May-13 11:12:31

Why don't they just allocate everyone's grades by when their birthday is and then they wouldn't have to bother with all the teaching, setting exams, marking them- and all that tedious stuff?

What is it they say about statistics?

dd is a may baby and top of her year at school, yes it makes a difference when they are very little, but these things even out.

Should I have my marks at the OU adjusted downwards because I am 20 years older than the average undergraduate?

Meh

Myliferocks Fri 10-May-13 11:18:02

DD2 is an August born who wasn't due until the September. She's not very academic and does struggle a bit but to be honest I think she would still have been like that if she had been born in the September.
Some children just aren't academic no matter what month they were born in.
DS2 is a September child who is doing very well at school but he is also the 5th child in our family.
Who knows whether he is as academic as he is because he is a September born or where he comes in our family. Iyswim

Struckachord Fri 10-May-13 11:19:53

Can I also shed a ray of hope. I was a summer baby and I was put up a year early from what was infants to juniors. Although socially it was difficult, I did not find academically I was struggling at all with people who were a lot older.

PrincessOfChina Fri 10-May-13 11:23:04

I'm interested in this from a personal perspective. DD is Feb born so slap in the middle really, but I'm a July baby and recall no issues whatsoever.

I have good GCSE'S and A Levels, followed by two degrees - all of which were taken at a younger age than my peers. My primary school operated a 1.5 class intake so with the exception of Reception year I was always in a class made up of 50% children from the older year (so up to 20 months older than me). I was one of 12 or so children chosen for this and off the top of my head there were August, July, June, May, March, February and October birthdays. I guess what I'm saying is my birth date had no affect on my academic achievements.

FadedSapphire Fri 10-May-13 11:27:39

To me it seems that children who are young in the year/ summer born should be monitored for any consequence of birth date on performance at primary school.
This I believe is particularly important in KS1.
Extra support should be given to level the playing field with older children if necessary. At no point should they be led to believe they are not able just because they are young.

CockyFox Fri 10-May-13 11:40:16

I don't think this would be a good idea. My DS is 31st August (11:44pm) born so the very youngest in his year. He is in the middle stream ( and yes I do mean stream there are no mixed ability classes in his infant school - not something I agree with either) he is really good at maths already a level three at easter year 2, and average at Reading and writing. I would hate to think of someone looking at his GCSE ( or whatever they will be then) results and thinking they weren't really as good they look.
DD on the other hand is November born and not as bright. I fully expect her to be put in the bottom stream and would hate her to be marked harder due to being that bit older in her year group.

LarvalFormOfOddSock Fri 10-May-13 11:51:19

I think this is a terrible idea. It could never be implemented fairly. Month of birth is only a single factor amongst many in the outcome of test results and attainment.

FWIW I was born end of July, 2 months premature, and I got the best GCSE and A-level results in my school. Each case is individual and education should (in theory) be tailored to each child to bring out the best in them.

But really, are we going to have to adjust results to take into account parents' educational level, standards of nutrition, number of books in the home? These are all strongly correlated with educational achievement.

pukkapine Fri 10-May-13 11:52:31

I think it's hard to make any system with a yearly intake 'fair'. However, as the article says, it's more a case of labelling - if the younger children have their self-esteem dented and their own expectations lowered from the very first few years of school it's a tough journey for them to break away from that.

Anecdotally I think I would have benefitted from realising my 'average-ness' at primary was actually me doing well for being a summer-born. Suddenly at GCSE's I was one of the top performing of the year and it came as a surprise to everyone, including me! Comparative to my siblings and peers who were autumn born I had already been labelled as less academic. On the other hand being summer born has benefitted my very able son - he's the youngest boy in the year but the highest achiever - I think if he was older in his year the gap would be even wider between him and his peers and that poses problems too. However, socially he clearly still is the youngest boy. As for my DD's, they are winter born but premmies and clearly not as naturally able as their brother, I think being amongst the eldest in their class will benefit them hugely. That's the problem, no system can truly account for all the idiosycracies of individuals and there will always be winners and losers.

Kendodd Fri 10-May-13 11:54:07

I have read that if the age children start school is delayed until seven, as in some countries, this disadvantage suffered my summer born children disappears I guess because even the youngest in the class is old enough to cope by then. I'll try to find a link.

The government could save a whole heap of money, by just delaying school starting age, and solve this problem in one go. They could turn R and Y1 into 'pre-school' loose the academic focus and have explorative play instead. Oh and the money saved would come from the fact pre-school teachers are cheap and school teachers are expensive.

BTW I have both a September born and an end of August child (plus a Feb one).

Blackcathaireverywhere Fri 10-May-13 11:55:48

There is 7.9% points between boys and girls too. So can my sons have their grades adjusted too please?

As a poster on the first page said there are so many variables in acheivement it would be madness to focus on 'summer-born' as one factor. Isn't maternal education supposed to have the largest influence?

Kendodd Fri 10-May-13 12:06:56

Here we go, found the link, www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15490760

It says-

Early years specialist Dr David Whitebread, from the University of Cambridge, says one possible solution would be to increase the age at which children start school.

Children in the UK start school much earlier than most of their European counterparts. Dr Whitebread says research has shown that the later children start formal education, the less marked the month effect is.

"In countries where they start a year older than the UK, the month effect is less marked and in countries where they start as late as seven, it completely washes out."

If children are kept playing in kindergarten until the age of six or seven, they are better equipped to cope with formal education, he adds.

Sorry, posted on the wrong tread first blush

TheSmallPrint Fri 10-May-13 12:08:09

As a summer born (July baby) I never struggled and I think, as someone said up thread, if you haven't caught up by 18 then at what age do you expect to?? I can understand there may be more of a difference in Primary, hence adjustments for 11+ but even at 10 I think most children have levelled out and it then comes down to other factors.

TenthMuse Fri 10-May-13 12:20:29

As a teacher I agree with lottieandmia that a large part of the problem stems from the labelling of summer born children as 'less able' very early on, something that often becomes self-perpetuating as they go further up the school.

I used to teach in Year 1 and we were (ridiculously) expected to set targets for their KS1 and KS2 SATs based on the scores they came up with from Reception. Of course the September and October born children tended to come up with better scores (since many of the Foundation Stage profile targets are based on maturity/independence/social skills) and were consequently predicted better SATs grades. These children are then labelled 'more able' and many of their less mature summer counterparts 'less able'. I remember teaching an August-born Year 5 child who really came into her own in my class. Her previous teachers were genuinely shocked at her achievements because she was 'only average' and had 'always struggled' in previous years.

Think schools need to look closely at themselves and the systems they have in place to support the younger children in a cohort. Most schools I've worked in tend to identify children born after April as 'vulnerable' in official documentation (for Ofsted, of course!) but then do very little to rectify the problem - rarely is there any actual support. Then you still have a large number of schools who have a split intake, so the autumn/winter born children have more time to settle at school, with smaller classes and a lower staff:pupil ratio, while the summer born children have to play catch-up in a larger class from day one.

Surely allowing for a lower pass mark in exams for summer-born children is only reinforcing the assumption that younger children won't achieve as well, rather than actively trying to identify reasons for this and attempting to solve the problem?

gazzalw Fri 10-May-13 12:24:38

On a related topic, I'm sure I read somewhere that there are more Autumn born children at Oxbridge than those born in Winter/Spring/Summer

Kendodd Fri 10-May-13 12:26:47

Tbh there are so many variables that can affect school performance that this makes little sense. Home life, parental input etc have far more impact than the month you were born in.

Yes, you can say that about many, many factors, but that's not a reason to just shrug your shoulders and not do anything about this (or any other) factor.

Although age adjusting exam results may not be the best way.

TheChimpParadox Fri 10-May-13 12:29:30

Thin edge of the wedge - where are you going to draw the line in adjusting academic results to make allowances for the child - will children who come from a background with no parental input or support at home have this allowance ? Will children who have to change schools often - for whatever reasons - have this allowance ? Will we make allowances for gender ?

Schools should recognise that children born later in the year and are starting school may need to catch up emotionally and intellectually with some of their piers and make allowance in their teaching style and expectations in the first few years of schooling but when it comes down to GCSE's and A levels then I think it is wrong to start making adjustments as it will yet be a another dumbing down of what grades mean.

Each child is different so I can;t really see who this will be fair .

Have a August child myself and was a July baby- so not being bitter.

duchesse Fri 10-May-13 12:29:37

I always find it fascinating that in DD2's year at her very selective school she is the youngest by nearly 2 months (she's a 27th July birthday). Most of her friends have autumn birthdays, and the vast majority of the girls in her year are born before February. This is despite the fact that some aspects of the entrance exam are age-adjusted.

losingtrust Fri 10-May-13 12:33:47

If they scrapped KS1 targets that determine the future targets this would be sufficient for me. Mother of two summer borns whose expectations were set too low after KS1 results. How surprised the school were when he did well at KS2 when by that stage he had exceeded many kids but left to feel he was stupid in the meantime. Early streaming is the problem.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 10-May-13 12:40:17

Low expectations after KS1 SATS works with Sep borns too<sigh>

Utterly shocked at how low expectations can be.

TenthMuse Fri 10-May-13 12:42:03

Should add that I have a July birthday, a BA, MA and PGCE, so I realise that the summer birthday issue isn't insurmountable - certainly, other factors are more important. Still, it's interesting to note that the intake of my very selective grammar school was highly skewed towards autumn and winter birthdays in both my own and my brother's year. I was the youngest in my class by two months.

TenthMuse Fri 10-May-13 12:48:14

Losingtrust am totally with you on that. Many teachers (at least the more enlightened ones!) loathe these targets too. And there's no joined-up thinking whatsoever - I went on an Early Years course where they explicitly told us musn't use the Foundation Stage scores for target-setting as they weren't designed to be indicators of raw academic ability. Yet the very next week there I was in the Head's office having to do exactly that because 'Ofsted likes it' - my protests fell on deaf ears, sadly ( sigh ).

losingtrust Fri 10-May-13 12:50:55

Agree some Sept born not mature enough at 7. Who ever came up with these expectations at such a young age. Ridiculous. A child who is ahead at 7 gets extra support to hit higher levels and then at secondary they struggle. I was a winter born who was way above expectations at 7 but became just above average after 11. With the current system I would have failed in not getting all As but I lacked the key ingredient and that is a strong work ethic. In secondary that produces better results.

LittleMissMedium Fri 10-May-13 13:47:30

This is actually something I've wondered about a lot. I'm a very late July baby and whilst I got good GCSEs, A Levels and a degree, I did notice that it was the older kids that were in the top sets at school.

My particularly intelligent friends are Sept - Feb babies.

My best friend and I were in the same year at school. She's almost an entire year older than me, and wickedly intelligent. A year is a long time when you're growing up and developing.

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