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".

Emandlu Sun 10-Feb-13 08:32:28

I have no idea but I'd have thought it was because it doesn't really matter. If your child is doing the best they can do then it is of no importance if that places them at the top or bottom of the class.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 10-Feb-13 08:33:50

What Emandlu said.

stargirl1701 Sun 10-Feb-13 08:34:23

It is irrelevant. It can be useful to compare to the national average.

I don't understand why parents care where there child is within a class.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 08:35:28

Why does it matter where a childnis in relation to the rest of the class? The teacher should be able to tell you wherever you ask what NC level your child is working at- that will give you a good idea of where he is in relation to other children his age. But there will always be those way ahead and way behind- so comparing within a class isn't helpful.

And your child will know what "table" he's on, however they disguise it by calling them Guppies or a prawns or something!

milkmoustache Sun 10-Feb-13 08:35:40

Because it feeds into an atmosphere of competitiveness which is not particularly healthy.

karatekimmi Sun 10-Feb-13 08:38:54

As a teacher I am not allowed to put up tests or assessments in order as it can be demoralising (apparently) it doesn't tell you how well you child is doing, just compares with others. As we have 8 different classes it just depends on which class you are in. Ironically the first thing pupils do when they get test results is ask what everyone else got and find out where they sit in the class!!

Lilliana Sun 10-Feb-13 08:41:45

It also depends on the class - in one class they may be near the top but if they were in a different class they would be in the middle. It's not a helpful measure of how well your child is doing. NC levels will give you a much better idea where your child's strengths and weaknesses are.

Startail Sun 10-Feb-13 08:48:10

As kara says your not supposed to as it is demoralising to the lower ability DCs.

The children, of course, are all as competitive as hell and quickly find out anyway.

It's an impossible balancing act, the less able don't want the whole class to know their marks, the most able are spurred on to working by beating their friends.

It's far easier in set secondary where, certainly the top groups, have a healthy rivalry. We had to beat the boys in science and it was an absolute requirement that I came top in biology!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 08:50:41

The reason I would be interested to know is so that I can help my Dc to catch up with others if below average in the class which is where i am guessing they may be. So I feel info is relevant but was interested in knowing whether there were good reasons not to have it which might override my reasons for wanting to know. i agree that comparing with Nc expectations is more relevant as is more representative of population of children but how you are coping day to day in a particular class could also be relevant too?

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 08:55:31

Is he making progress? Is he happy to go to school? Is he engaged and interested?

If so, then it doesn't actually matter where he is in the class- he's doing fine. If not- it also doesn't matter where he is in his class, something needs to be done.

cazzybabs Sun 10-Feb-13 08:58:06

We are told to in our report guidelines - I do top third, middle third and bottom half smile. TBH does it matter where they are in the class? No - what I want to know is what their next steps are and how to get there.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 10-Feb-13 08:59:21

We do get for the end of year exams cohort average (across both the classes) and then you Child's mark. Actually not very useful for variety of reasons.

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Feb-13 09:02:33

I'm going to slightly disagree here with the rest of the posts. I don't think comparing to the class frequently or publicly is a good idea. However, I think comparing to the National Average is a bit pointless. If your child is in a school with good teachers, where most of the kids are above national average, then they should not be hitting the average unless something is wrong. I think sometimes it's an excuse not to deal with problems (in my experience) or to leave issues until a lot later, which is not helpful for the child.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 10-Feb-13 09:03:18

What Emandlu said.

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Feb-13 09:04:17

forgotten, I totally agree with you. A child does not care where they are compared to the national average, but they do feel where they are in the class! You should be able to tell by knowing the kids. Now in Y2 my ds's class don't even hide it, so the top group is A and bottom is E.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:11:49

Comparing to the national average AND looking at the individual child's progress. Comparing to the national average alone is, I agree, pretty meaningless.

Marigold-- that must be very life affirming for the Es...... sad

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 09:16:15

My Dc tells me (I have not asked) that their friends are better than my Dc is at school and that my Dc is not good at anything. It clearly troubles them so guess would like to know if I can help.

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 09:24:49

The reports of a child in my family did not compare each time to the national average, so it was an enormous shock to the family that he did not achieve enough GCSEs to stay on for A level.

The reports would show 'green' to indicate he was performing 'as expected'. Or 'to target'.

Similarly, comparison to the national average is often not appropriate for children who can reasonably be expected to do better, or for good reason are likely to achieve less than that.

Parents are not alwys able to read between the lines, and in the final anlysis, relative achievement is important. What do parents need to know? And how best to express it?

Well nametaken - if his target was the mark at GCSE that he got then his teachers were bang on with the target weren't they? It reflected his ability and he achieved at that level. It's impossible for every child to be A-level material.

I would be furious with any teacher who discusses another child's performance with me in any context whatsoever. I don't need to know about other people's children. I need to know what they think my child is capable of and what my child is achieving. Wanting to know where they are in the class is lazy imo and pointless because children at the top of the ability range need support too.

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 09:35:43

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear- the problem was not that the child didn't achieve good GCSEs, but that the parents were not aware because of the way his achievements had been presented.

MrsHoarder Sun 10-Feb-13 09:37:19

Performance relative to national average is important because it will ultimately affect what they can do at the end of schooling. The problem with comparison against their class is that the teacher will be thinking "he's behind Bobby, but Bobby has his maths teacher mum helping him" and "he's above Katie, but her parents are in the middle of a difficult divorce". How they do against their class really doesn't matter in the long run.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:41:21

"My Dc tells me (I have not asked) that their friends are better than my Dc is at school and that my Dc is not good at anything. It clearly troubles them so guess would like to know if I can help."

That is about his self esteem- and even potentially bullying. Your really need to talk to the teacher ungently. Is he making progress? What year is he in, and what sort of level is he working at?

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:43:16

Nametakenagain- surely they knew what his actual grade targets were?

Chandon Sun 10-Feb-13 09:47:16

Teachers are deliberately vague, but kids know that "foxes" is the higher level in spelling, and that in maths, "pears" is better than "apples".

I find it annoying that they differentiate by ability, yet refuse to tell parents in which set their kids are.

IMO, either do away with the sets and teach all kids at the same level (with extension work for the ones who are quick), or do the blimming levels but be open and upfront about it to the parents.

Why al this cloak and dagger thing? Doing one thing (separating on ability) and pretend another (all kids are the same, all equal, all doing fine and we do not compare them, ladida).

It somehow seems hypocritical to me, and allowed the school to hide quite how badly my DS was doing until he was a full 2 years behind, and we found out fecking caterpillars was actually a group with mainly Y1s, when DS was in Y3.

no hard feelings, you see blush

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 09:48:33

Chandon- weren't his NC levels a clue?

Chandon Sun 10-Feb-13 09:51:21

Only found out at end of Y2 (SATs), that was the first clue. Quite late really, having had lots of parent evenings in Y1 and Y2 assuring us everything was "fine".

TotallyBS Sun 10-Feb-13 09:59:43

The kids at my DS's indy openly discuss their test/exam scores with each other so I don't need to ask his teacher where he stands.

Its a competitive school with competitive parents and children so the above behavior doesn't solicit exaggerated rolling of the eyes like it does in this thread grin

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 10:00:40

Thanks Seeker. I am going to take your advice and speak to teacher. Chandon - I know that our school have graded tables but like you, no info is given out on them. The mums who do reading at school try to find out which ones their Dc are on by stealth while there. Surely that is a silly situation?

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 10:04:50

I also wonder if it can be right that the kids have an idea if they are not as good as some of the others but parents cannot be told if this is accurate so as to support them if this is troubling them.

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Feb-13 10:05:13

My DDs school love doing this. It's a high achieving state primary with top Ofsted....when my older DD was struggling in year 3, her teacher showed me her written work and that of a classmate who was performing much better.

I was shocked! The same thing happened last week with my younger DD who is 4. SHe is struggling to learn the alphabet by sight and the teacher showed me the letters she knows and those that classmate knows.

It pissed me off really. Both girls are bright....my struggling writer is now in year 4 on level 4a...she just had a rocky start in a new school. And DD2 will get there...she's simply young and likes digging n the sand more than letters!

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Feb-13 10:06:29

INterestingly, our school do not seat kids by ability....the tables are mixed and changed every term.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 10-Feb-13 10:07:26

I teach in a challenging state school, and my students know exactly where they are in the class too. Sometimes I even project the spreadsheet I record all their assessment data on shock. Not with all my groups, but for some of them.

I don't tell parents though, because I do it as a motivator for the students. Parents get the official target grade (based on levels of progress), current attainment, projected attainment. Either as a NC level or a GCSE/A level grade, as appropriate.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:08:47

We were told at secondary level- your exam result followed by year average. But this was a grammar school.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:10:55

Mrs mushroom- that is awful! Really unprofessional. How would you feel if your daughters work was being shown to the brighter child's parent? I think I would actually make a complaint.

TomArchersSausage Sun 10-Feb-13 10:12:42

Agree with Chandon.

Anyway, once they get to secondary school all coyness about what set your dc is in flies out of the window.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 10:16:43

Of course children compare. They do all sorts of things you don't want the adults around them doing!

Hulababy Sun 10-Feb-13 10:24:19

DD goes to an independent prep school and we are not told her position within the class and never have been.
I work in a state infants and we never tell parents where a child is in relation to the rest of the class.

Yes, children compare - but that is different to what a teacher will tell. But not all children are competitive - some are yes, but definitely not all. And this is nothing to do with ability either - there are many children who are working at the top end who are not in the slightest bit competitive.

I really don't see any reason to tell parents what position in class a child is. Besides it will vary subject to subject, and sometimes even week to week. Some classes can also be very skewed - so may be very high ability heavy, or have a lower ability cohort - even classes within multi entry intake varies int his way. We have a three form entry and it has worked out that one class seems to be working at a higher ability than the other two, but then the other two have ended up with more children with learning difficulties, so the average is skewed as a result.

It is far more beneficial to know how well your child is doing in comparision to national averages and national expectations for your child's year group (and lower down their actual age).

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Feb-13 10:26:05

scarlettsMummmy I don't suppose there'd be a need to show the work of a less able child to the parents of an able one....but still. It's not nice...I feel it was because I have not been very forward in pushing them academically...a lot of the children have tutors from age 6 and they turn up aged 4 already reading or at least knowing some phonics.

I just let mine play and read to them before they were old enough to attend school! When I told the teacher this, she said "well Im sure they've had a lovely time.." in a sort of disparaging "but you'll have to knuckle down now" way.

harryhausen Sun 10-Feb-13 10:28:49

I'm only concerned with how my dcs are doing against a national average. Their position in a class could give a warped sense of actual progress surely (depending on academic dynamic in the class surely?).

I think teachers don't indulge because

A) It gives a distorted idea of progress


B) Breeds competition amongst parents and some parents will brag/talk. Not a nice environment.

My dsis's 3 dd's are in an international school. She told me once that one particular nasty parent complained to the board of governors because she wanted the names of all the children in the year with ALL their academic results printed clearly so she could compare her child.

Luckily she was told where to gogrin

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 10:37:00

"I'm only concerned with how my dcs are doing against a national average."

And crucially how they are doing against themselves.

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 10:43:38

Seeker- his predictions were a little optimistic, but the real problem was that an external comparator was included too late for parents to even consider A level might not be an option. Then when he fell slightly below his predictions, it came as a huge shock and they had made no alternative arrangements.

It would have been better to have been clearer years earlier so he could have been better supported, and alternatives to A level considered carefully and not seen as 2nd rate.

difficultpickle Sun 10-Feb-13 11:01:54

Ds's old school would never tell you where children were in class. His new school does. I prefer to know but it isn't something I would ever share with other parents.

Scootee Sun 10-Feb-13 11:20:38

I think that the position of a child within their class is of huge relevance. Let's take year 2 - the children in the class have received 2.5 yrs worth of identical education so far. The child at the bottom of the class has a problem IMO. Even if that child is on the national average, there must be a reason why they are behind their entire class. This exact thing happened to my friend's ds. School never, throughout the whole of reception and y1 admitted the child was anything other than "fine", despite my friend challenging because it had become clear he was at or near the bottom of the class. Finally y2 teacher admitted child bottom of class across the board. It may be hard to hear but it allows the parents to get something done to help. In this case, a diagnosis of dyslexia. I cannot stand the attitude of "don't compare" - all very well if your child is doing well but it puts a veil of secrecy over children who desperately need and want extra help. My friend was so frustrated and worried by the lack of info.

forgottenpassword Sun 10-Feb-13 11:36:38

Don't think we can rid the world of bragging parents whether they have the info on where their child is or not. As someone who i think it is likely would not have a reason to brag and would have to listen to others doing it i would put up with the braggers to be in a position to support my Dc as much as i can. It matters not to my dc where my dc is against the national average (although is important info to me). What upsets my dc is my dc's reality ie where my dc rightly or wrongly believes they are in the class. if we were told both where they were against national average and where they are in the class we would have all info needed and would not be distorted.

difficultpickle Sun 10-Feb-13 11:53:54

True. We had plenty of bragging parents at ds's last school. Some of whom would chase me down in the car park after parents' evening to tell me how fabulous their dc was!

socareless Sun 10-Feb-13 11:54:03

I agree forgotten it really is sad. In my DS1's former state school we were not told anything just he is 'fine'. Not having schooled in the UK it was a struggle understanding why there was so much secrecy and why it was frowned upon to want to know how well one's child was doing.

Parents evening was always so uncomfortable for us because teacher would not really say much about academic work but talk about his general behaviour which was very good and we were happy to hear that as well but we were more concerned about academic as that was outside our control in the way behaviour wasn't. We were not really happy that DS1 was a free reader in YR1 and was not made to bring books home. We insisted that he carried on reading

Anyway we moved at end of Y2 to private and I am so relieved that it is not a UK wide issue. First parent's evening teacher told us that he needs help with writing, reading and comprehension and that his direction of travel in class is going up and he is very determined. We were very grateful.

Hulababy Sun 10-Feb-13 11:54:21

"Let's take year 2 - the children in the class have received 2.5 yrs worth of identical education so far. "

Only in a one form intake, with all children arriving on the same date in September of Foundation stage and all children having 100% attendance. Oh, and all children being subject to the same level of support and edcuation outside of school too. Not to mention the stage at which they already were at when they started school.

Hulababy Sun 10-Feb-13 11:56:27

If a child was bottom of the class, ime, the parents would already know there were issues even without telling the parents the child's class position. In all the schools I know of that child would be receiving additional support and intervention and the parents would know that the child was having this support and why.

Unacceptable Sun 10-Feb-13 11:57:07

You can support your child without knowing where they are in relation to others.

Help them to accept that everyone learns different things on different levels and encourage confidence in themselves and their own abilities regardless of how others are doing.

My DD often compares herself to classmates. I always tell her I'm not really interested in anyone else and want to hear her read or she what she can do and lavish her with attention and praise for her efforts.

The teachers can tell you how your DC are doing you really don't need the comparison

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 12:27:36

I'm really sorry, nametqkenagain- I just don't understand your last post. In every case I have ever heard of, kids are given actual predicted GCSE grades. Did that not happen in your child's case?

sicutlilium Sun 10-Feb-13 12:36:10

At my sons' prep school at the end of Y5 -Y8 parents are given, for each subject, their child's exam score, the average score and the quartile their child's score puts them in.

tiggytape Sun 10-Feb-13 12:42:42

Many children are curious to know where they are placed in their class so in secondary school (where the children are the ones who are informed as much as the parents) the test results are common knowledge within about 20 minutes! As are their current and predicted nc levels, the grade they received for their science project, the content of their school reports and whether they got picked for various teams or not! Nothing is secret at all - I can probably tell you the predicted GCSE grades of virtually half the children in DS's class and they're only 11!

At primary it is too much the other way and can be detrimental. Vague assurances that all is fine is not enough for most parents yet is all many get until the Year 2 SATS are complete (we certainly did. And then again all through Year 4 and 5 when in fact things had slipped but were still above average so still deemed 'fine')

Whilst an excel spreadsheet detailing every other class member would welcomed by some, I am not advocating that either but a child's confidence is so often affected by their relative ability to their peers, it is useful for parents to know to roughly where their child sits and whether they are slipping back at certain times.
They can also counter false boasting (child thinks he must be bottom of the class because all other 29 say they are top!) or unnecessary worrying (child thinks he is way behind because all the others boast they have a reading age of 14!). The parents that go into help generally know the definitions of the ability groups which other parents aren't formally told - which adds fuel to the paranoia and parents worry unnecessarily because they feel they are being kept in the dark. Teachers vastly underestimate the lengths other parents go to in order to find out the information they want and the amount of speculation and discussion that goes on. It is not good for anyone.

I think cold, hard stats would help - such as they offer in private schools: a child's level in each subject is given alongside national expectation in each subject for that age and class average or median level. That way parents can see that it is a high achieving class so they need not worry or can see that their child is on track and reassure them that everyone else is boasting lying about their levels. Most parents just want to know the bare outline of how things stand and not feel fobbed off.

basildonbond Sun 10-Feb-13 12:42:55

In ds2's end of year report for each subject we got told his exam/assessment scores, the average score for his class (top set of partially selective comp so expected to be reasonably high) and the average score across the year. We also got told whether or not they'd met their targets for the end of the year.

MerryMarigold Sun 10-Feb-13 14:10:27

seeker, making progress is one thing. Making the progress as fast as others are is another. You can be making progress, but the gap getting wider and wider. Again, I don't think progress is hugely helpful unless you know how quickly the progress SHOULD be happening. It would have to be a very naff school or a massive special need for NO progress.

Mominatrix Sun 10-Feb-13 14:22:33

In my son's pre-prep, I had always known what position my elder son held in the class. It was very helpful as it allowed us to gauge which schools to target for prep-school entrance. It would have completely unhelpful to compare to the national average as the vast majority of the class was at or above the national average The prep-school scene in London is fiercely competitive and if one's child is not in the top quarter, it really does not make sense to look into the most competitive preps.

At his prep, they only give an indication of average, below or above average in the class.

Schmedz Sun 10-Feb-13 15:21:18

Teachers don't discuss other children's results with parents because they are NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS! <takes deep breath> I would be furious if any teacher discussed how much better/worse my child was than someone else's in test performances and as a teacher myself I completely respect the individual child's right to privacy..if they want to share their results with their peers that is their choic, but I refuse to make that choice for them.

Schmedz Sun 10-Feb-13 15:25:16

Take it a term/year at a time and every time you think about the fact that you could have a holiday/get a car/improve your home or actually move to a big enough house etc... with all the money you would save on school fees if they went to a state school, just remember what you are buying and why you chose private in the first place. And if along the way you are not happy with the choice, change it!

Schmedz Sun 10-Feb-13 15:26:55

Oops...somehow posted the last one in the wrong thread! Supposed to be in another one to do with paying private school fees for the next 12 years!

Chandon Sun 10-Feb-13 18:39:43

Schmedz, I would never ask for Johny's grades, or Matilda's grades or any individual kids' grades.

However, if the teacher had told me that he scored 15 out of 100 for litacy, and most kids were in the 50-80 bracket, that would have really helped.

Do you see what I mean?

brandis Sun 10-Feb-13 19:50:23

I would agree with Chandon. DS's school's KS1 results look great so it is safe to assume that pretty much all children in his class are above the national average. That's the reason why a more concrete indication is required. I am able and willing to help him so if, for example, his handwriting looks noticeable less neat that of many others I don't see why I should settle for "he is doing fine" rather than getting him to do some extra practice at home.

In our case, DS is bilingual so I sense the expectations of him at school maybe a bit lower. FWIW, I don't think this should be the case - so knowing how native English children are doing (without calling any names, obviously) would be very helpful.

Schmedz Sun 10-Feb-13 20:02:15

I don't believe you can help your child develop any better skills by knowing how his or her performance relates to others in their cohort (or even nationally). If they are scoring low in literacy there are obviously specific issues which need addressing to improve, regardless of whether this is average/above or below for the class. Children develop at different rates, so no amount of worrying about how they compare to others is going to change their ability to learn at that stage in their development. Knowing what needs attention and development at ANY ability level is what is important and is a practical step you can take to help develop the skills they need.
If a teacher refuses to identify any weaknesses which need support, that is a different matter!

Schmedz Sun 10-Feb-13 20:03:49

And PS Chandon, you are obviously a lot more restrained than some of the parents with whom I deal who want to know EXACTLY how Johnny or Matilda are performing!

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 20:07:52

Seeker - he was not given predicted gcse grades until mid gcse, which I imagine is usual. Until then, the reports (which showed him achieving what the teachers expected) gave the impression to his parents he was doing well, and they assumed A levels and University were the natural progression.

I am not suggesting rank in class is useful but I think his case is an example of parents needing a bit of context on his expected grades a lot earlier.

bamboostalks Sun 10-Feb-13 20:13:35

It truly never fails to amaze me how interested folk are in the progress and achievements of other children which is essentially what this is about.

BelindaCarlisle Sun 10-Feb-13 20:14:53

I'll tell you why OP.
Son was g and t at primary. Top of class. Went to secondary grammar. Us lower middle.

That alone shows how pointless it is.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 10-Feb-13 20:35:06

It's not usual at all to only be given a target mid GCSE. Targets in core subjects at least are based on KS2 results, so will be fixed from that point on. Projected grades maybe, but if I were given just a comment on whether my child was working above, at or below target, I would be asking what the target was. I do realise that I am clued in to education. However, I am surprised that schools get away with giving inadequate information.

nametakenagain Sun 10-Feb-13 21:19:46

Tfm- I think your response to questioning the target is the right one, but you can see why many a parent might simply think " oh that looks complicated, I'm not sure I fully understand, but it looks okay, if he's on target".

Perhaps this is uncommon, and most schools are much clearer with parents about their children's potential and achievements. I'm not in a position to comment.

tiggytape Sun 10-Feb-13 22:08:39

Even if they can do nothing about it immediately, parents do appreciate reassurance and context about what is O.K - look at virtually any thread on MN and you'll see this is true.

So if your child fails the Yr1 literacy test, for example, yet you aren't told the precise score, the cut-off mark for a pass or how many other children also failed you could easily become very anxious about it.
That's just one example but it is a new area where schools were given leniency about how to report the results to parents.
Some did a pass/fail and nothing more.
Some did a pass/fail plus score and explained how close the child was to the cut-off score.
Some schools did reassure parents further and give scores and cut-offs and also let parents know that a small (or sometimes larger) percentage of the class has failed. Reassurance was given that this was going to be addressed. It was explained that some children who generally had good grasp of phonics had failed because the teacher has to take the first answer given or some children could not cope with the concept of 'made-up' words and tried to over rationalise things to form a proper word instead......

As a parent, you don't want to know that Johnny totally bombed his literacy test or that Matilda got full marks but some sort of context eg 'your son failed by 2 marks, but only on made-up words, and so did half the class' is actually helpful. Not helpful in terms of immediately rectifying reasons for failing but helpful in reassuring parents that this is not completely abnormal and cause for great alarm.

Dromedary Sun 10-Feb-13 22:27:35

In my DC's state primary school her teacher told me that she was a long way ahead of the rest of the class (comparison).
In my other DC's private school the school report tells you where they come in the class in each exam, and overall. I was also told by the art teacher that DC was doing well in art, and she demonstrated this by showing me drawings by several members of the class, and pointing out how my DC's drawing was better than theirs. This was useful, as I am not artistic and didn't get what she was talking about.
In my nephew's grammar school they put up class results in order of achievement in the form room, in order to spur them on.

So it's possible to find comparisons being made in all sectors! To be honest, I think it is useful for parents to know this. For example, my DC is not strong at maths (natonally speaking). If she were doing well compared with the other children in her class, then I would be concerned about the school. As she is doing relatively badly in comparison with others, this tells me that at least part of the problem lies with her.

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 22:36:46

"I'll tell you why OP.
Son was g and t at primary. Top of class. Went to secondary grammar. Us lower middle.

That alone shows how pointless it is."

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 22:42:13

Sorry- posted too soon.

If you know what you dc's NC scores are, and hat the national average is, you know that p, even if he is G&T qt primary, once he gets to a selective secondary,he's going to be in a different cohort, so probably not top of the true any more. Whit is that pointless?

tiggytape Sun 10-Feb-13 22:58:58

G&T is actually another area where schools are choosing (or not) to tell parents about ability relative to classmates because many schools define G&T as the top % of a class not of a national expected level. It isn't such an issue as it once was but many schools do still have formal G&T provision and identify pupils as such.
Some choose to share this with parents. Some have a deliberate policy of not telling parents because it is subject to change and they fear parents will get difficult worried if their child is initially identified one year but not another or not identified at all.

Some decisions on sharing relative ability is definitely linked to fear of how parents will react rather than how helpful it would be for them to know - G&T labels are usually based on class positions and again the Year 1 screening test results are much more useful if taken in context that you know only 65% of the class passed.

sashh Mon 11-Feb-13 02:15:46

I think that the position of a child within their class is of huge relevance. Let's take year 2 - the children in the class have received 2.5 yrs worth of identical education so far. The child at the bottom of the class has a problem IMO.

Not necessarily. What if that is the only bright child in a class of geniuses?

Also what makes you think their education is identical? Teachers should and do differentiate work.

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.

Dromedary Mon 11-Feb-13 12:00:16

I was talking about primary school targets - eg this term DC needs to concentrate on remembering to use full stops at the end of sentences.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 11-Feb-13 12:03:06

Ah, those targets. We have them in secondary too. And yes, we're allowed to write those ourselves grin

Your DC will have a target level as well though. The written targets are how to get there.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 12:07:55

Oh, sorry, that sort of target! I'm so sorry, I didn't understqnd.

He will have NC ones as well. Ask at the next parents evening.

Floggingmolly Mon 11-Feb-13 12:18:33

Why is it so important to you that your children are doing well in relation to other children? Not placing children in order of achievement within the class is not done largely because of this competitive nonsense.
Encourage your child to be the best he can be, not just as good as Billy on the same table, who may have other talents.
That said, fully agree that the kids themselves can work it out in seconds. It's the parents who get over competitive.

teacherwith2kids Mon 11-Feb-13 13:01:06

At my last school, in KS2, we gave a written indication of whether a child was below, in line with, or above national expectations for their age (which was different from their actual target within the school, as we targeted them to progress faster than the national average because the huge majority arrived below national expectations so EVERY child was targeted within school to make significantly more than expected progress), and a verbal indication of whether they were lowe, middle or upper ability within the class. We regarded the first as the more important information, parents regarded the second as the more important...

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 06:34:35

Of course, my attitudes to this presupposes that parents know to ask about NC levels, remembers what their child got last time, and the teacher is actually recording them properly........

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 06:36:41

And in my dd's 6th form, they tell them whenever they write an essay who produced the best one- which they then photocopy and dish out for discussion.

Oh the guilty pride I felt when my dd's was picked....blush

lougle Tue 12-Feb-13 07:15:29

DD2's MS infant school reported 'meeting expectations' 'above expectations' 'below expectations'. However, it's all so subjective.

In year R I was told 'she's a bit above really, but I've placed her in 'meeting expectations' to be on the safe side. She was given 100/117 on the EYFS profile.

In Year 1 after 1 half teem, her teacher said 'I've marked her 'meeting expectations' because she can do it when I manage to get her to sit down and concentrate'

hmm So neither assessment marked her current performance, just what the teacher thought was a good idea to say.

My DD1 goes to special school and we had her annual review last week. We were given CASPA graphs, showing her p-levels plotted against the the national progress curves of children with her classification of learning disability (MLD).We were also given the warning that while she is a 1c in maths currently, she may drop to a p8 next year because the curriculum standard is raising by approximately one whole level in each year group next year and they don't want me to she's plateauing.

That information was really useful.

wordfactory Tue 12-Feb-13 07:54:36

Ever since my DC began sitting exams/tests we were told the year average and the set average to compare against. Its incredibly useful info for all concerned without ranking pupils.

happygardening Tue 12-Feb-13 08:05:14

My DS sits exams twice a year in most subjects he's told in the lesson and we're told on his report/parent teacher meeting either where he came in the class, or the class average. We're also sometimes told his average for prep etc and the class average. As they are also streamed for subjects I suppose it all has to be measured against this as well.
Does it help/matter? It makes you/him feel good when they're doing really so its nice to know and you can go around looking all smug but ultimately I don't think its essential.
The school doesn't do NC levels.

frantic53 Tue 12-Feb-13 08:38:14

I think it is important that parents know how their child is doing compared with their classmates as, like it or not, not every teacher knows what is right for every child and, further, like it or not, not every teacher's style of teaching suits every child. Teachers are human beings with individual personalities, not blimming all-knowing demi-gods!

My DD2 was struggling badly with Maths in years 7 and 8 (private prep school) she was in the top set for every subject and was in the top quarter of the class in each subject except maths, where she was struggling badly and trailing the rest of the class (barring one other child) by quite a long way. She was often in tears at home over it and claimed to not understand most of the lessons that the teacher was, "going too fast".

I went into school and discussed it with the Maths teacher (30 + years experience) who basically told me that she was just plain lazy and needed to, "get her finger out" hmm

Cut to the chase, I made enough of a fuss to get her moved down to set 2 for maths, despite arrogant sod of a teacher claiming that if he couldn't teach her, nobody could! shock Result? She blossomed under the kind and careful guidance of the set 2 teacher, who was actually a middle-aged ex industrial chemist who had arrived at the school only a couple of terms previously having just got her teaching qualification, and was really the school chemistry teacher, just taking lower sets for maths to fill in her timetable. DD's confidence was also bolstered by being one of the more able in her set rather than one of the stragglers.

When it came to the CE exam, DD got 98%, the third highest mark in the whole school, only two children from set one beat her!

GooseyLoosey Tue 12-Feb-13 08:50:34

Ds (Yr 5) gets his results, class average, class position and national average. Dd (Yr 4) gets her results and the national average. I have a much clearer idea about how ds is doing at school and worry more about dd.

I have wondered a lot about whether class positions etc are a good thing. For the children at or near the top, I think it is quite motivating but for the children at or near the bottom, I imagine it is demoralising. No competition is not good but too much is not good either. There is a balance to be struck.

I think children and parents do need an idea of where they are and whether any extra work needs to be done but there is a limit to how much is required.

vess Tue 12-Feb-13 09:31:04

I have to say I'd find it infuriating if a teacher refused to tell me even roughly where my child was in relation to the others. Lets face it - the teacher knows, the other kids know, so why withhold that information from the parent?
I hate the idea of keeping secrets from patents.

Dromedary Tue 12-Feb-13 09:57:36

I think teachers just telling you how the child is doing as against their targets or their expectations for that child is really rubbish. It assumes that the teacher is totally right in their judgement of every child, and also that the school is doing everything required to teach that child. If the child is in fact doing badly (in relation to their age and also in relation to their class mates) the parents may well want to step in to address the situation, eg by teaching the child extra at home, getting a tutor, or if they have concerns about the school, changing schools.
Even if there is nothing to be done to help that child (unlikely) the parents need to know how that child is doing, to make plans for their future education or after school prospects.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 10:16:29

I do find this baffling.
What good is knowing your child is top of the class? That could be a fantastic achievement for your child. Or it could mean that your child is naturally the cleverest in the class, has done sod all and made no progress at all for the past 2 years.

Knowing that your child is currently working at a particular level, which is X number of sub levels higher than he was working at this time last year, and has a target for the end of the year of Y, which is Z number of sub levels higher than where he is now is actually useful.

I can see how top third, middle third and bottom third might be reassuring. But not actually useful.

bowerbird Tue 12-Feb-13 10:28:05

Dromedary I totally agree.

Dromedary Tue 12-Feb-13 10:35:28

It's not all about just knowing whether your child is working hard, and meeting the expectations (for that child) of their teacher.
Knowing what they are achieving in comparison with others, and what the school or teacher is achieving in comparison with others, is very useful information.
If the child is 1) not working hard, 2) nonetheless top half of the class, that tells me that they have untapped potential and if they are pushed to work harder, could eg get into grammar school.
If the child is 1) working hard, 2) middle of the class, that tells me that they will probably be going to the local comp.
I've given reasons above for why it is useful to have comparisons with the class rather than just national achievement levels. Eg if your child is well ahead of the class, you may wish to move them to a school where there will be a similar level peer group for them to work with. If your child is doing badly nationally but is doing well in their class, there may be a problem with the teaching in that class.

vess Tue 12-Feb-13 10:40:59

I don't necessarily want to know. It's the fact that the teacher may refuse to tell me that I object to. It should not be up to them to deside what information about my child's learning is useful to me. I should be given all the information I want, and without going out of my way to ask for it. Keeping secrets alienates parents and creates an unhealthy atmosphere.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 10:47:52

But surely my example with the XYand Z levels would tell you more than where the child is in the class? A child destined for grammar school, or the top sets of a comprehensive would need to be aiming at solid level 5s or even possibly 6 in year 6. And if that is the target set, and progress is being properly monitored, the. It doesn't matter what anyone else is achieving.

wordfactory Tue 12-Feb-13 10:48:27

Seeker- if you know how your child is doing in context, you're able to judge if they're working hard enough, if they need help etc you can also tell if they're in the right sets. Being told year and set averages also helps contextualise achievemenyt. 70 percent in a test means bugger all if you don't know how everyone else did.

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Feb-13 10:59:30

Isn't that assuming that all the children are on a level playing field, wordfactory? All children have different levels of ability, so doing better than Johnny but less well than Billy has to be put in some sort of context.
Some kids don't have the innate ability to be top of any class no matter how much effort they make, while some clever children may well pass out their peers but could probably do even better if encouraged, bearing in mind their peers may be considerably less bright. One size definitely does not fit all.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 12-Feb-13 11:10:00

Firstly, I would say that I think the move away from a specific section of a school report which says 'position in class' is quite logical and a good thing. Average mark of class though might be useful.

But the thing is it really doesn't matter what schools do - I bet we all recognize the 'I got 53 in Physics, but it was a really hard one and nobody got higher than 55' or 'I got full marks in German but so did loads of other people'? It's going to happen anyway!

and I'm going to carry on reading upside down at parents' evening

wordfactory Tue 12-Feb-13 11:58:50

Flogging - that's why you need both year and set average. My DD for example finds maths her hardest subject. Telling me she got x percent is hopeless. Telling me how she did in comparision to her set average is much more instructive and allows me (well DD herself now she's older) to moniter her progress.

brandis Tue 12-Feb-13 12:07:10

This is all still so confusing - targets, national average.

I did not go to school in the UK and in my native country children are given grades for every single piece of work they produce, starting from Year 2 (aged 8 - we start school at 7). Children can't know each others' marks for written work - because the their work books are handed out individually - but teachers sometimes say the grades aloud when distributing them. And if a pupil is called to talk on a topic in history, etc. then the whole class will obviously hear and see how s/he performed and what grade he got.

Nobody made a great deal of that and generally we knew who is a strong student, who is in the middle and who is among the weaker ones.

I don't ever remember it being an issue in terms of affecting self-esteem - if anything, it would make bright kids proud and weaker ones - strive to do better.

5 was the top mark, 2 was basically 'fail', each subject was graded separately on a daily basis. So it was pefectly clear for everyone - parents, children, teachers - how well the child is doing. Is s/he is getting 5s - well done, if 3s - here are the areas that need work.

State school, one teacher (no TAs as a rule), 25-30 kids.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 12:17:23

I think in private schools which don't use NC levels, you may have a point- there's no benchmark to work from. And the robustness of being told you're bottom of the class is what some people pay for!(joke)

But in a state school where there are benchmarks then I genuinely can't see why it would help you to know class positions.

Dromedary Tue 12-Feb-13 12:24:18

Seeker - why don't you address the points I've made a couple of times then?
1) where your child is doing badly (based on NC level). The parent is told they are doing badly on that basis, but not that half the children in the class are doing similarly badly. If the parent were told that, they might realise that there was a problem with the teaching of that individual teacher, rather than that their child is struggling due to innate lack of ability for instance. They could make use of that information, for instance by changing schools or hiring a tutor for the year.
2) where you are told that your child is doing well (based on NC level). But you are not told that they are in fact miles ahead of the rest of the class. If you were given that information, you might decide to move them to a school where they would be able to work with children at a similar ability level, which would probably be better for them both academically and socially.

What is your answer?

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 12:30:43

Well, if a child is doing badly- ie not making progress based on NC levels- then you would go into school, talk to the teacher, ask what they were going to do about it, and act accordingly. If you weren't happy with the response, then you might move schools, get a tutor, whatever. Ditto if a child is doing well- making lots of progress. Although, I'm not sure why you would move a child that's doing well and is happy. My point is that it's what happening to your child that's important.

pickledsiblings Tue 12-Feb-13 12:32:46

Seeker, it's got to be both to be truly meaningful. Your DS could be top of the class but making slower progress than the rest of the class. Compare that with a DC who is bottom of the class and making slower progress than the rest of the class. Both students are the same in relative terms, their needs are the same (ie they both need to make more progress) but the school's resources may be deployed differently in each case. I think parents should be aware of this.

pickledsiblings Tue 12-Feb-13 12:37:07

'Your DC is doing very well and making steady progress' = high achieving DC
'Your DC is struggling but making steady progress' = low achieving child

pickledsiblings Tue 12-Feb-13 12:47:52

Possible scenario to go with my previous 2 posts: We have a teacher that is excellent at teaching to the middle, soon your high achieving child will be in the middle just like the rest of them and because of the extra resources we've deployed, Mrsx, your low achieving DC will be around about the middle too.

Dromedary Tue 12-Feb-13 12:58:59

I've always been told that a child will do better if they are with similar or slightly higher level peers.

Apparently research shows that mixed ability groups are better for lower ability children (who learn from the high ability ones) and worse for high ability children.

If a teacher is poor, and many children in the class are doing badly, it is very unlikely that if you discuss your child's poor level with said teacher they will tell you not to worry about your child's ability to learn, as in fact they are doing ok in relation to the class, and the problem is to do with the teacher's bad teaching. You will be fobbed off, but you won't know it, because you won't know that many other children are also doing badly.

It's really about transparency. And I don't really believe that telling parents say once or twice a year where their child is in the class (or say which quartile they are in) will result in loads of boasting between parents at the school gate. It's not about one upmanship, it's about knowing how your child is doing and whether you need to be doing more to support them.

NorhamGardens Tue 12-Feb-13 13:09:07

Replying to a PP re: private schools having a reason to give form position/class average etc where they don't work to NC levels etc...Well the elephant in the room, IME, is that they generally have higher academic expectations.

Those private schools I know aim to get the majority way beyond the equivalent NC expected level and consider this to be an unambitious target for anyone with average intellect and beyond (with similarly high ambitions for those with below average intellect). Small class sizes etc mean they generally deliver on this promise - if they didn't parents would generally vote with their feet (although I know parental choice isn't just about having high academic expectations).

I get so cross when I hear one of mine is 'doing fine, doing great and on track to achieve the expected level'. Especially true when a lower KS1 level has them pegged as a low or middle ability child. If they go on to do as expected I am supposed to be over the moon - what if I think or even worse know for sure that expectations should be higher as they can do more?

Sorry anecdotal I know but I get fed up with reading these sort of comments on FB: '95% in Maths and 78% in English and they want more! Expectations are off the scale at our school! They're on John's case and have recognised his potential!". And then I come down to our school and get at our school 'don't worry he's doing great - bang on target for national expectations'.

campergirls Tue 12-Feb-13 13:25:44

Do you really know people who put comments like that on Fb NorhamGardens? shock I've never heard anyone be so boastful in rl (or on Gb for that matter)

NorhamGardens Tue 12-Feb-13 13:30:56

Oh yes, tip of the iceberg stuff and everyone wades in to praise...I'm just jealous really smile That's before they start on all their other accomplishments.
If I am really honest I am not sure they mean to boast, many are super proud of their DCs and want to share. I just can't help but compare sometimes and as someone put it so well on MN 'comparison is the thief of joy'.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 13:31:55

Not getting into a private good/state bad argument - but I can't see why you thinking private schools are at a higher level than state ones is relevant to the discussion!

Anyway, I'll say again- I'm not talking about teachers who say "oh, he's doing very well" of "in line with national average" or something wafflly like that. I'm talking about the scenario where you know what level they were at 6 months ago, you know what level they are at now and you know what level they are expected to be in 6 months time. If you're happy with the rate of progress, then fine. If not, talk to the school.

Dromedary Tue 12-Feb-13 13:51:41

Norhamgardens. I agree, I would not trust a teacher's expectations of a child's progress to be gospel as to what they should be achieving. Expectations may very well be too low. Maybe they are occasionally too high for the child. And they won't take into account extra help that you might like to give the child. Some teachers are happy for the children to coast along for a year. When my DC1 started school my idea was that she was going to a highly rated school and I would just let them get on with it. I very soon learned that if I took that approach she would sink - I was told by the totally newly qualified teacher that I shouldn't expect my DC to learn the 100 basic words or whatever that they're expected to learn in R (because she was too Thick, though the T word was unspoken). My daugter, within about a term, was coming home with the idea in her head that she was stupid. She is not Thick, and with some help from me plus a decent Y1 teacher shot up to the top of the class in Y1. I now try to keep a close eye on how my DCs are doing, and to encourage them to stretch themselves, though sometimes it is frankly too much for me, especially as the oldest one is now doing stuff I don't understand (in science, not my best subject).
Research shows, as has been well publicised, that at primary level a child's progress is mainly related to how much parental support they get. So give parents more respect and let us have all the relevant information about our child.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 13:56:09

If you find a teacher happy to let a child coast for a year, I will show you a teacher who will fail her OFStED assessment. They are judged on the progress their pupils make.

NorhamGardens Tue 12-Feb-13 14:09:45

Dromedary I agree. Those amazing readers in early years classes - well if you've read Outliers it gives you some idea - more often than not they're the ones who have had the most exposure to books, to reading and yes even to basic phonics before Reception in some cases.

Thing is Seeker who is to say your average or low achiever in Y2 can do way more than what would be considered expected progress? There's no real incentive to push a early attainer on to the top of the class - generally the child won't be thought to have the requisite ability, they are low ability in NC terms. As long as the expected progress box has been ticked it's job done.

NorhamGardens Tue 12-Feb-13 14:11:18

Sorry I mean push a low early attainer to the top of the class above.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 14:27:37

How would knowing class position make a difference to that?

TheFallenMadonna Tue 12-Feb-13 17:11:04

There is every incentive to push a child to exceed their Target, especially if their target is low, and especially in Core subjects. Essentially, we are judged on % reaching certain levels (not just national expected average by the way), and on levels of progress for individual pupils. If any teacher is teaching to the middle in the days of the transition matrix, then they're going to be in bother come their performance management review.

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