What level should Y4 be for super selective grammar?

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

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

MTSgroupie Sat 23-Mar-13 19:17:15

Assuming that your entrance exam is VR NVR and not National Curriculum based then what SAT level your DC is at now is irrelevant.

Having said that, it can be a useful indicator of your DCs capabilities. If your DC goes to a good primary school and his SATs are only average then that can be a predictor. But if, like in your case, the school isn't great then your DCs SATs is a reflection on the school itself and not your DC.

I suggest that you give your DC a past paper and see how he does. In my DC's case he scored about 70%. He wouldnt have passed his school's exam with that score but it gave an indication as to his potential.

If your selective has a safe pass mark of 90% and, without tutoring, your DC only scores 40% for example, then you have to ask yourself if DC has the potential with tutoring to get close to the safe mark.

heronsfly Sat 23-Mar-13 19:23:50

My dd3 is at a High performing grammar, ( not super selective) she went to a primary school that's in and out of special measures,at the end of year 5 she had either got,or was very close to a level 5 in all subjects.

Rainbowinthesky Sat 23-Mar-13 19:34:14

Hi. Thanks for replies. She has done well in her sats but I don't know if doing well in sats coupled with poor schooling will do it.

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Sat 23-Mar-13 19:42:48

Which County are you in Rainbow?

Rainbowinthesky Sat 23-Mar-13 19:47:30

Rather not say but I do know there were well over 1500 applicants for our nearest one.

Rainbowinthesky Sat 23-Mar-13 19:48:27

I know there will be loads of children in prep schools and good/outstanding schools against her.

LilyBolero Sat 23-Mar-13 19:49:07

Don't know, but if it's any help, dd is middle of Y5, but youngest in year (Aug birthday), she is currently level 5a for reading/writing and 5b for maths. She's pretty bright...

clam Sat 23-Mar-13 19:54:14

When I was last in Year 6 (4 or 5 years ago) I would have said a child would need to be Level 5s by the end of Year 5 in order to stand a chance of the selective comprehensives around here, so maybe a bit higher than that for a super-selective grammar?
So high level 4s by the end of Year 4?

clam Sat 23-Mar-13 19:55:40

Oh, and competition is greater in recent years, as the recession has hit home and children who would previously have gone privately are now competing for state selectives.

Rainbowinthesky Sat 23-Mar-13 19:58:19

Well. She got 4as in the sats but I don't know if this is a lucky day or if it means she is at this level consistently. Also if she is this level it's unlikely work will be differentiated for her anyway.

chickensaladagain Sat 23-Mar-13 20:00:27

at end of yr 4 dd was 5c reading, 4a maths & writing

she was offered a place at a super selective indie with a comfortable pass

Rainbowinthesky Sat 23-Mar-13 20:07:35

How was she tested for 5c? Dd's tests were capped at level 4. Is it worth me asking her to be tested for l5. For reading she was 2 marks off full and for maths missed 4 off total marks.

chickensaladagain Sat 23-Mar-13 20:27:01

combination of teacher assesment & sats paper test

tiggytape Sat 23-Mar-13 20:31:43

Not scientific at all, but a straw poll of children at our school who have managed to not only pass the 11+ but pass it with a score high enough to get an offer suggests level 4a at the end of Year 4 in both literacy and maths is roughly the required standard.

By super selective I am assuming you mean a grammar with no catchment or sibling policy (highest score wins) and one where 1000+ apply. Level 4a is a high level to reach in Year 4 when you consider it exceeds the expected level for a child 2 years older but there are so many chasing so few super selective places that sheer numbers push the required level up and up.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 23-Mar-13 23:14:57

How did they give her a test capped at level 4? AFAIK, there are level 2 papers, then level 3-5 ones (and now level 6 ones). Was it an internally created one?

Rainbowinthesky Sat 23-Mar-13 23:19:29

Dd said that some got l2-3 papers and some got ones that said l3-4 on them. I've looked them up online and it was past y4 papers and mark schemes also only go to l4.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 23-Mar-13 23:27:30

ok, ds's school only used the ones I quoted above.

Anyway, back to your OP, you need to find out what type of entry exam the school you're interested in uses. If it's VR/NVR you can get books to work through and see how she does naturally without any tuition.

Her levels sound good (you would probably hope for mid-to-high level 4 in yr 5 for a 'normal' selective so for a superselective she sounds more or less on track)

clam Sun 24-Mar-13 00:44:14

The non-statutory tests that are only available internally to schools are capped at Level 4 (and there are two papers, higher (L3-4) and lower (L 2-3), with some overlapping content.
It could be that schools give an official past paper (available online - try googling St Joseph's Pickering to download) in order to level higher.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 24-Mar-13 08:12:58

Thanks, clam, I think our school always did the 3-5 ones but since they only started telling levels in yr4 onwards (obviously 2 as well) I can't be sure.

MrsPatrickDempsey Sun 24-Mar-13 08:14:17

My DD in yr 6 has just gained a place comfortably at a super selective grammar in Essex. She was a combination of mid to high 4s at the end of yr 4 and 5s in English at the end or yr 5.

Yellowtip Sun 24-Mar-13 09:54:21

I'm not sure you're correct about sheer numbers of applications pushing up the standard tiggytape. This is the same argument used for the better universities too but the evidence suggest that the ability levels of those getting offers at all these sought after institutions is the same as it has been for years, simply that more who are likely to fall below that standard are applying, for economic or social reasons or whatever.

I'd be very wary about being put off by a disastrous first practice paper as well.

Agree with MrsPatrickDempsey that a combination of mid to high 4s, plus 5s, at the end of Y5 should be enough to be in with a reasonable chance.

clam Sun 24-Mar-13 09:55:22

Actually, I should say that the Year 4 non-stat tests are capped at Level 4. Can't remember about the Year 5 ones <<getting old>>

Yellowtip Sun 24-Mar-13 09:57:29

Maybe high 4s plus 5s at the end of Y5.

seeker Sun 24-Mar-13 09:58:50

But bear in mind that there is not necessarily a correlation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SWandStressed Tue 26-Mar-13 14:57:12

If it is true that 30-40 in one primary school were at level 6 for maths when most primary schools don't get any at that level, it goes to illustrate my point that levels are not a mark of ability but rather a measure of what curriculum is offered at the school. Unless of course LilyBolero's DS was amongst a cohort of unsually bright children where a significant chunk of them (is that 2 form, 60 kids; 3 form, 90; or 4 form 120 - whatever!) are of the ability for super-selectives (statistically unlikely although anything of course is possible) - when normally its the top 2 to 3% that are of that ability.

DS2 was getting level 4s at the end of Y4 and level 5s at the end of Y5 and went on to score very high in his secondary selection test. A wide vocabulary and a flair for VR also help in these tests, as does good exam technique.

Now I'm wondering if I live in the same part of the world as clam; most of our local 'comprehensives' are partially selective, which means you either have to have a sibling there, score higher than nearly everyone else on the test, or live within less than half a km from the school.

LilyBolero Tue 26-Mar-13 19:44:36

SWandstressed - no, 30-40 in ds1's comprehensive, with 200 in the year!

babytrasher Tue 26-Mar-13 20:52:55

Although KS2 L6 SAT papers have not previously been available, KS3 have always been there at Levels 3-5, 4-6, 5-7 & 6-8.

They cover exactly the same material, but the KS2 are written in a much more infantile way which brighter children often find off-putting. No problem at all in giving KS2 kids the KS3 papers in order to get a fuller picture of their progress.

tiffinboys Tue 02-Apr-13 01:04:47

It depends on the entrance tests. If it is just NVR/VR or also English/Maths.

Level 5 by the end of year 5 is a good indicator of selective ability. But children still have to learn VR/NVR tecniques and practice/familiarize with the test question types. Both English/Maths papers were almost Level 6 in the recent tests that DC appeared for. Practice Independent Schools sample papers as much as possible in the run-up to the entrance tests.

steppemum Tue 02-Apr-13 01:16:35

This is very interesting, because I think the link to SATs levels is not a clear one at all.

We have super selective Grammar that ds is going to apply to.

He is Y5 and is now on level 4a for most things, not sure he will reach level 5 by the end of the year. He is in good state school, but his class is an absolute mess, with some serious behaviour issues, and I am not convinced he is getting pushed to his potential at all.

BUT, the entrance exam is 2 VR papers. I have been tutoring him, but he can actually do the papers with no help. He has never needed any explanation of technique or help. He just 'gets' the questions and totally has the knack of doing VR questions. He doesn't even have to think that hard, he just whizzes through them.

VR is supposed to distinguish between the potential and the level achieved by teaching. We will see come October if that is true!

tiffinboys Tue 02-Apr-13 08:37:18

If you mention region, some one could give you more specific advice. And be careful as some areas are changing tests. I think it was Bucks which had 2 VR tests. I think, they are now changing to CEM style. You will find more info on that type of tests on elevenplusexams.co.uk site. Generally speaking, CEM style VR is more of English test, which needs a very strong vocab and comprehension.

steppemum Tue 02-Apr-13 09:08:52

Glos is changing too.
sept 2014 entry will be VR (test this Oct)
sept 2015 entry will probably be CEM - not yet confirmed

so your year 4 would do CEM in Glos

Rainbowinthesky Tue 02-Apr-13 09:12:19

Hi. We will be trying for wallington girls and nonsuch if that helps.

yotty Tue 02-Apr-13 09:20:43

I agree with tiffinboys. I would use the SATs levels as a general guide only, because it will depend on the type of entrance test. My DS is the opposite. He is at a prep school so didn't do SATs as such but his teacher told us at the end of the Easter term of year 4, that he was functioning at the equivalent of level 5. However, then did some CATs at the beginning of year 5 and did well in the VR, but nothing special in NVR or quantative reasoning. So if he was doing a straight English, maths and VR he may have got into a super selective but if it had included the other reasoning tests he wouldn't have made it. It must all be very frustrating.
On a more positive note if you live in an area where there are super selectives I think there must be a lot of very able children in the top sets of the comprehensives. I have friends who both went to tiffins boys/girls themselves and couldn't face the trauma of the selection process for their bright son. So they just sent him to the local comp and he is doing well.

Rainbowinthesky Tue 02-Apr-13 09:33:18

The only comp we would get into is well below average.

Yellowtip Tue 02-Apr-13 10:28:11

yotty I would think the CATs are reasonably tenuous as an indicator too.

On the list of possible traumas in life, surely the 11+ scores really low? confused. It's the parents who foist their trauma on the kids - the kids left alone would be fine.

AfricanExport Tue 02-Apr-13 11:03:09

Yes --- with 1500 applicants it had to be Wallington Girls. That place is nuts.

My dd was in a prep last year, 4 girls wrote for Wallington Girls, (not DD as she is dyslexic) NONE of them got in. These girls were offered scholarships at Croydon High and Caterham but did not get into Wallington Girls. The one girl was top of her class, classmates got into Whitgift, Trinity, Wilsons, Worth, Caterham, Lingfield, Woldingham, Reigate Grammer and there were around 20 scholarships (18 kids). But no-one got into Wallington Girls.

I think that is probably one of the hardest schools to get into and I would think that you would need to do A LOT of coaching to get it. I think the majority of kids that get into Wallington are seriously tutored to get them there and unless your child is exceptional it is going to be a lot of work.

The tests are Verbal Reasoning and Maths. I would expect, based on what I saw, that you won't get into Wallington girls unless you are on or very close to Level 5 at the end of year 4.

Just my opinion though....

tiffinboys Tue 02-Apr-13 13:33:43

I would not worry too much about SATs level at Yr4. It is not unheard of children going from 3a to 5c or even 5b during Yr5, as they mature and work hard.

Wallington Girls tests are in VR and Maths. Maths is said to be of level 5, from what I have heard from other parents. Also these tests are said to be easier - and that's where the problem lies. Easier the test, many children will score nearly 100% raw marks and would be getting very high standardized scores. There are 110 places for catchment and 100 open.

So although the test may be not so difficult, there is no room for careless or silly mistake. That's where many children fail.

Jobforlife Wed 03-Apr-13 16:19:03

My DS went to a super selective grammar, got level 5's in yr 6 SATs, but was only one of three in his primary school that managed to get a place (out of 90). There were, on paper, lots more kids capable of passing, but for whatever reason, they didn't... apparently the number who miss by one or two marks is enormous. Funnily enough though, his teachers told us he would get in, even though when we sat practice papers he didn't perform that well. The school he went to though had English, Maths and Verbal Reasoning papers.. he didn't get offered a place at the grammar that had verbal/non verbal papers. My DD was at the same levels in SATs but didn't even get close to passing the 11+... She didn't particularly like the school, and tbh, I'm sure it would have been the wrong choice of school for her. Thank goodness she didn't get in or we wouldn't have made the move abroad when we did!

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