"almost all level 7s" in year 8 - is that normal? worrying me about my own child

(53 Posts)
schoolquestion Sun 21-Aug-11 07:37:42

Friend's DS and my DS were both borderline when it came to the 11+. Friend's DS passed (just) and is at grammar, my DS failed (just) and is at local high school. We have been very happy with the high school and, I thought, with DS's progress. However, friend told me last week that her DS had achieved level 7s in almost all his subjects. My DS got 6c for English and Maths, then 5s for everything else (mix of5as, bs, & cs). As children that performed similarly at primary, I am worried that DS is slipping behind - how normal is it for children to get all level 7s in year 8? Friend's DS is not in top set for anything, so presumably the brighter grammar kids are getting even higher grades? It's not so much that I'm competitive with the other child (re-reading my post it sounds like it) but it's more that I'm worried that DS isn't making as good progress as we thought. He is at the top of top set for most of his subjects, and yet there is a huge gap between his levels and those of a child in bottom sets at grammar.

AurraSing Sun 21-Aug-11 07:52:15

Have you actually seen the report card? grin
I don't know much about the mc grades but a quick google said that level 7 is beyond expectations of a 14 year old.
Does the school think your ds is doing well?

AurraSing Sun 21-Aug-11 07:54:33

NC not mc, my fingers are getting fatter by the day.

schoolquestion Sun 21-Aug-11 07:57:15

no, I haven't seen the actual report card....
DS's school is really pleased with his progress and at parents eve were telling us he is towards the top of top set. So of course we were delighted that he's doing so well. Just felt a bit deflated to hear of another child that used to be of similar level apparently doing so much better, and beginning to wonder whether we'd let DS down by not re-trying him for grammar.

QTPie Sun 21-Aug-11 09:14:58

If he is happy and doing well where he is, then moving him may do no favours. Speak to his teachers? Speak to your son? How does he feel?

If he is at a good school and is happy and well achieving there, there may be little benefit (and possibly a lot of harm) to moving him. A/A* should be very achievable. Maybe better to consider a move for 6th form (where things get a lot tighter and differences really can be made/felt).

See what your son and his teachers say?


Caged Sun 21-Aug-11 09:20:53

My dd got one 7, mostly 6's and 4 in both mfl's at the end of year 7 she's at a grammar.

MrsRobertDuvall Sun 21-Aug-11 09:22:27

Ds has just finished yr 7 at an average boys comp and got level 7 for maths, but 5s and the odd 6 for all other subjects.

I wouldn't worry too much...they are expected to be level 7 by end of yr 9. And you can't get higher than an A*. Ds's best friend is at hugely selective grammar, and I have no idea what levels he is on, nor do I care. It's something his mum and I do not discuss.

LynetteScavo Sun 21-Aug-11 09:34:18

My DS, at the end of year 7 got 7's in Maths and Science, and 6 in English, and 4's in everything else. Just shows how English and Maths are pushed at primary level, compared to other subjects. He's at a comprehensive.

I am so glad we were able to opt out of the grammar system.
OP, if it's bothering you that much, then is there anyway you could get him into the grammar school at some point? Surely people must move out of the area occasionally.

LynetteScavo Sun 21-Aug-11 09:41:03

Oh, and no one's going to come on and post about their DC who got all 4's and 5's at the end of year 8. smile

Although I might about DS2 in a few years. I will still be very proud of him. smile

MrsRobertDuvall Sun 21-Aug-11 09:44:33

Dd has scraped level 6 in maths and science at the end of yr 9.
We are not foreseeing a career in astrophysics.

seeker Sun 21-Aug-11 09:49:12

I'm happy to post my dd's year 8 levels as a mid ability pupil at a high achieving grammar school when I get home on Tuesday if it would help. A mixture of 5s and 6s, a couple of 7s, and 4s for MFLs I think.

Grammar schools children I think generally make faster progress in the early years- then high achieving high school pupils catch up as GCSEs loom.

MrsRobertDuvall Sun 21-Aug-11 10:27:43

however she did get level 7 in Spanish and French.
everyone is good at different things.

kat2504 Sun 21-Aug-11 10:35:16

I suspect she is not telling the truth. Or the teachers in that school are vastly overawarding the levels in order to boost their figures. There are no national tests in year 8 to prove that they have actually achieved those results.
A child with those levels in year 8 would be in the top sets!

The average level for end of year 6 is 4
The expected level for end of year 9 is 5/6. More able children would be on 6/7 with the very occasional 8 for gifted pupils in the odd subject.

All 5s and the odd 6 in year 8 is a good result.

hocuspontas Sun 21-Aug-11 10:38:07

What were your ds's levels in year 6? If his English and Maths were high 5s then I think I would be enquiring why he had only progresses 1/2 sub-levels in 2 years. If however he achieved level 4s in year 6 then he is progressing well.

Ds has just finished Y7 at a local, well regarded, huge comprehensive. He has achieved a 6b in maths, 5c in english and a mixture of 5s and 4s for everything else. He is working at the bottom of the top set (but I feel he should not have been put in the top set as he was not of that standard at primary school) and will move to middle set for Y8.
And I am proud of him smile

Meant to add - your ds is doing very well and I fear your friend may not be telling the truth or else the grammar school is inflating the results?
In ds set there was one boy who is on the G&T register and is considered 'off the scale' in terms of mathematical and scientific ability. He achieved 7s in all subjects.

twinklytroll Sun 21-Aug-11 10:46:50

I don't think she is necessarily not telling the truth, I teach pupils in a comp with similar results at the end of year 8. It is, however,unusual. I agree with hocus that you need to look at progress. Students often plateau in year 8 as well and then make more progress in year 9.

twinklytroll Sun 21-Aug-11 10:48:09

I do think that at a grammar they may expect to see these high levels so may be more likely to award them , whereas at a comp the marking may be more conservative.

Oops, sorry, I thought op's ds was Y7, not 8. Sorry.

LynetteScavo Sun 21-Aug-11 11:04:37

OP, does the grammar school set a lot more homework than your DS's school?

I know our local grammar school sets a huge amount, and I've heard of year 7's and 8's doing two hours a night.

DS, on the other hand, DS apparently gets absolutely NONE (although the school claim work it set, and he does hand it in hmm).

Just a thought that the grammar school children are being pushed a lot more. Is this your concern?

seeker Sun 21-Aug-11 11:55:31

My grammar school dd actually gets less homework than her high school friends. Her school's line is that they get huge amounts of work done in school, so less homework's necessary.

MrsWembley Sun 21-Aug-11 12:12:45

I taught English before I became a SAHM and my last yr8 was a mixed set, average ability lot. The highest mark I gave was a 6c, but that was just the once and generally they had 5s. The year before that I had one girl who was outstanding and I gave her a 7 for one project. I shouldn't worry at allsmile.

MrsWembley Sun 21-Aug-11 12:17:13

Sorry, I wasn't clear, the 6c was for one piece of work. End of year marks have only been 4s & 5s in my classes. I would love to teach a class of 6s & 7s occasionallyenvy.

roentgenium Sun 21-Aug-11 13:00:31

sounds like your friends ds is flying and thriving in the grammar environment (maybe he'd have done the same at the comp though - who knows?). Remember all dc develop at different speeds at different times, so her ds could just have been due a surge in academic development at that age, or it's possible that higher general ability levels at the grammar has spurred him on to greater achievements. Just because he is doing well there though doesn't necessarily mean your ds would be the same - some children do better being towards the top of the pack and give up if they are at the bottom and struggling. It's not very useful to compare schools based on just one child at each however similar they may have seemed at the outset.

MrsOzz Sun 21-Aug-11 13:13:32

I remember doing my sats in yr 9 when we were given these sort of levels. I went to an ordinary comprehensive school and they offered for extra lunch time classes for the top set, if they wanted to learn how to do the level 8 questions for Maths (I did go... although it was social suicide!).

So what I am saying is if your son has just had normal lessons, then he will only have been taught methods up to the level 6 questions. He has learnt these methods and shown he can do it in his tests. However, if he was never taught to go 'beyond expectations' as most comp high school don't have the staff nor time, he won't have possibly been able to answer those type of questions.

The boy at the grammar school on the other hand...

littlebluespring Sun 21-Aug-11 13:43:57

DS is at a grammar and in year 8. He doesn't have all sevens. He is in set three (out of 5) for Maths and got a level seven, so I don't see anything implausible in what your friend is saying.

I don't think it matters though. Children can make huge improvements one year and hardly any the next. What matters is GCSE results.

twinklytroll Sun 21-Aug-11 14:14:55

I would hope that most comps set and have staff who are able and willing to guide students according to their need. We are a comp and have students in year 8 working at a level 8 in maths.

bruffin Sun 21-Aug-11 17:08:06

"DS had achieved level 7s in almost all his subjects."

That's not all of his subjects though is it.

DD just finished yr8 got level 7 for maths and music and 6s and 5s for the rest.

schoolquestion Sun 21-Aug-11 18:38:54

wow, so many responses, apologies if I don't reply to them all one-by one, but thank you all, it's left me feeling much better about DS's levels. I do appreciate that children develop at different rates, and that it doesn't mean much really at this stage, but was just worried. DS got 5 for maths and 4s for English/Science in Yr 6. Friend's DS got 5s for maths & science and 4 for English. So I could undertand him getting 7s for maths and science in yr 8, was just surprised about things like history, geography, languages etc.

ime there is a good bit of bullshitting augmenting of grades going on in the private and grammar sector, they have to justify their existence don't they wink Your DS, assuming he was L4 at Y6, is doing absolutely fine and
his levels are likely to be more accurate than the other kid's

schoolquestion Sun 21-Aug-11 20:28:20

LOL MrsShrek!!

cjo1 Sun 21-Aug-11 20:36:05

um I think someone might be fibbing. In my department we awarded one level 7 to a year 8 of 161 pupils. And Ofsted said our marking was exemplary ( not that that means much).

Your son's marks are very good. Average is level 5 at end of year 9 so he is already achieving what he should be. Well done schoolquestion's son. smile

gramercy Mon 22-Aug-11 13:30:08

I have just had a look at ds's report and he got level 7s for English, Maths, History, Geography, but for Science and French Level 6s - as they start from a lower position when they start secondary school. The accompanying explanation of levels stated that no pupil would achieve a level 7 for French unless they were completely exceptional.

We won't mention what levels ds got for Art and PE !!!

schoolquestion Mon 22-Aug-11 21:43:47

Thanks Gramercy - your son is doing really well!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 23-Aug-11 14:22:07

DD is in the top few in her year (cohort of 290) ; she did get mostly 7's at year 8
BUT it is teacher assessment. One of her 6's was for a top subject but the teacher marked the whole class down because they muck about.
I can imagine that a GS will be under pressure to report progress no matter what so the marks may be more optimistic than those from a comp.

kickassangel Tue 23-Aug-11 14:34:05

ok, so those levels will have been assessed internally and say as much about the marking of the school/teacher as it does about the student.

the only thing that would concern me is that if your son is at the top of the top set, i would expect that to be more than level 5/6 borderline. i'd expect a top set to be hitting high 6 to 7 by the end of year 8, IF it's a town comprehensive without any other factors. if, however, the grammar automatically gets all the 'best' students, then the comp.'s results will be skewed.

btw, level 5 at end of year 9 is the target for approx. 80% of the nation's cohort, not an average.

<used to run ks3 english dept for several years btw>

schoolquestion Tue 23-Aug-11 18:48:49

thanks both. We live in a selective area, so high schools are for those who didn't pass the 11+ (mainly, there are some very bright children there who didn't sit the 11+ at all for various reasons) So it's not a comprehensive, as the top c. 1/3 will be at grammar schools, not high schools. If friend's DS was in top sets at the grammar, I wouldn't be concerned at all. It just worried me that if a child who is in lowers set at grammar is getting all 7s, then I would question my DS's progress in top sets at the high school, as teachers say he is doing really well, is at top, but it seems a big gap between his progress and those of child in lower sets at grammar.

qumquat Wed 24-Aug-11 12:12:29

I didn't give a single level 7 to any of my Yr 8s this year, so I'd say he's doing pretty well!

mattellie Wed 24-Aug-11 14:03:05

“My grammar school dd actually gets less homework than her high school friends. Her school's line is that they get huge amounts of work done in school, so less homework's necessary.”

What seeker says. We have 1 at GS and 1 at secondary modern and this is exactly what both schools say. The 1 at secondary modern is given extension work in and out of class to enable them to push on to a higher level.

Also, perfectly possible for a child to be outstanding in one area – our Y8 DC has represented the school in 9 different sports and is county level in at least 2 and got a level 8 for their PE in Y8 (teacher assessment only though!). If high marks are across the board, I would be a little more wary of them as that is more unusual.

schoolquestion Wed 24-Aug-11 18:42:36

the grammar school does seem to give more homework than DS's school from what I can tell. If it had been a 7 in one or maybe 2 subjects, I wouldn't even have posted. It's the "7s in almost everything" ( except English and Spanish) that got me worried.But as someone else said, maybe friend's DS is just flying at grammar school and taken off this year. Very pleased for him to be doing so well, don't get me wrong. It was more the huge gap that seems to be opening up between top set high school and lower sets @ grammar. But I'm repeating myself!! I think a lot of the other posters on here have helped me see my DS is doing ok, that is the main thing. I appreciate all the posts.

Milliways Wed 24-Aug-11 19:39:30

Another voice of reassurance here smile

My DD failed to get into our Grammar. She got level 7's in the 3 year 9 sats, but had a whole mix at end of year 7. She did very well in GCSEs and A levels and is now at Cambridge.

She found things got better from year 8+ when they were set for more subjects so higher sets could progress faster.

schoolquestion Wed 24-Aug-11 23:03:52

thanks Milliways, very reassuring, and well done to your DD indeed - you must be very proud x

LynetteScavo Thu 25-Aug-11 20:20:57

Now, I would be worried if my DS wasn't achieving as highly in English as other subjects....(like the child mentioned in the OP) Children are taught so much Literacy, to make sure they do well in their SATs in Y6, I would presume they should be still achieving higher grades in Y8.

DS has just finished Y7 and his English, Maths and Science are much higher than his Spanish and Art (his weakest subjects) and his Geog' and History aren't quite as good.

Can I expect to see a leveling off in subjects next year?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 25-Aug-11 20:26:37

DD is unusual in that she is (genuinely ) at the top of her year - just finished year 8
the marks were 'widely spread'
but all heading upwards at varying rates from varying start points
and I TRUST the staff to raise if they think she's not hitting it in certain areas
the pastoral system has allowed me to kick off about poor teachers.
I'm happy - everything until GCSE day is flexible anyway
and after a degree, GCSE's are past history
and as an FCCA, nobody fives a stuff about either my degree or the fact that I got 51:52:50 in my finals. I passed so hmmm.

Fine scale points are dust on the horizon in the big scheme of things.

schoolquestion Thu 25-Aug-11 21:15:57

that's as maybe talkingpeace, but surely it's ok for us to want our DCs to be doing as well as they should be (for their own individual ability).

AyUpMiDuck Fri 30-Nov-12 15:44:20

I'm revisiting the subject of school grades because I have just received DS's Year 8 Progress Report and it all seems very smoke and mirrors. Is it just DS's school that sends out a summary of levels with very little explanation? And how do these levels help to predict GCSE grades? Can anyone enlighten me?
I could do with a steer....

btw he has a mix of 4s, 5s and 6s and a 3 for German which he started this term. He is in the top set for the 3 streamed subjects - I am not overly impressed with his marks because he got 5s in year 6. Does this mean he has made hardly any progress in 2 years? I'm really confused.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 17:13:43

My ds in top stream of comp and is now in year. Was level 6 in the main ones maths English science plus geography plus level 5s in etg else except pe and mfl that were both 4s. He got good results. He said some people got 4s and some of his friends got 7s in maths but only 5s in English so very varied. He is still above average and some are struggling to get a 4. I have a friends with kids at same school in same year and we never talk about it. I would just ignore your friend's sons levels as I hate it when parents brag. All I can say is slot if parents were bragging about their kids getting 3s in ks1 and went very quiet at ks2.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 17:14:26

Sorry he is now year 8 the same as yours.

Pyrrah Fri 30-Nov-12 17:17:17

I imagine it's possible... there is a primary school in central London (and not leafy in the slightest) that gets 20% Level 6 in Maths at KS2 and around 90% get Level 5 or above.

I don't think you need to worry though - it's not as if he is behind where he should be at this stage. If the syllabus hasn't been covered then you can't score any higher.

The only sad thing is that with only a few exceptions you only get a chance to be pushed ahead in the private or grammar systems.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 17:25:49

They do get pushed ahead at our school. All those with 7 and above for maths were put into an accelerated group to presumably do gcse early then further maths and start a level work early. My ds did not make it into that group but could still get an A so not overly concerned. I missed group too but still got the A and as many have said kids change and ds may pick up a lot more later this year or next or drop down. Your friends son may platter out.

3b1g Sun 02-Dec-12 15:34:59

DS1 is in the top sets (second set for Maths) at a partially selective comprehensive which is comparable to a grammar school in most respects. He is working at similar levels to your son. I don' think you have anything to worry about.

Theas18 Mon 03-Dec-12 08:13:41

Not read all the thread, but all 7s in year 8 (barring MFL which is always lower as they have only a year of that ) is not unusual for grammar kids I think. IIRC excluding PE (where is very average LOL) DD2 got pretty much all 7s of various sorts at the end of yr 8 with a teacher assessed level 8 in music. This isn't unusual and she doesn't feel its any great deal. They all hope for level 8's in maths/english at the end of KS3 and lots get them.

HOWEVER do ask if they are being assessed at the higher level at your DS school if they have the potential. It should not be, but could be, that they don't expect 7s/8s and so aren't being offered the paper that go so high in exams.

Got to wonder though if grammars are extending long term progress or just achieving full potential earlier. THat is a phillosophical thought for 8.12 on Monday!

Startail Mon 03-Dec-12 08:55:47

I DD endeared Y9 with L7 for maths and 6s for everything else that matters (she's no linguist and has given up MFL).

She's easily a L7 scientist, but dyslexic and didn't finish the very writing heavy exam.

I suspect she'll do OK at GCSE, but not amazingly.

I'm not terribly worried as I suspect she will do at least as well if not better at A level.

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