Calling teachers to level for me a piece of writing.

(56 Posts)
worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 20:58:32

Very worried about dd at school and found this piece of writing she has recently completed independently at home. It's parents' evening soon and would like some sort of idea where she is before seeing them.

Thanks in advance.

The Dark Shadow
My parents say I’m delusional, they say I’m imagining it but I saw it. It’s coming for me and it won’t give up….
1 day earlier
Chapter 1
Today’s test day
I don’t want to go to school today, I might say I’m sick but I doubt my parents will beleive me, they don’t trust me on anything now I’ve started telling them about the legends of the dark shadow. There’s a legend about a shadow who lives in the dark and pounces at you when you’re most vulnerable, they say I’m silly. I might as well go to school, it’s not like anything news going to happen.
Chapter 2
Our first test was maths, I wouldn’t say it was easy nor impossible. I was on a struggling question when in the corner of my eye I say a blur of darkness at the end of the room. At first I thought I was dreaming until I saw it again in the corridor peering at me. I don’t know whats happening, I think it’s got something to do with me feeling weird all week. I think I’m in danger! My parents won’t believe me, the only person that might is my bff Ashley, of course I’ll need evidence, I’ll ask her at lunch.

Chapter 3
My name’s Maddy, I’m a girl, I eat and drink, I have all the senses. What’s so special about me? Tell me because I can’t think of anything. Hang on a second where am I? I’m really scared now, it’s really dark in here wherever I am. I’m really panicking now…
AAH! OMG! Something really weird just happened, I shot light out of my hand. I’m getting out of here.

Chapter 4
I did some research and apparantly light weakens the shadow but not even the light of the whole world would destroy it, you would need the light of the universe plus the stars and some bonus light but even then there would be a hint of it left.
Chapter 5
I’m on my way to tell Ashley. Here she is, I said
“Hey Ashley, I need to tell you something”
I explained to her, she didn’t believe me. I’m gonna walk away AAAh!
“Help” It was the dark shadow but this time he was approaching me. Ashley screamed. I panicked. No, I couldn’t have I did it again, I shot light out of my hands again.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 20:59:13

Should add - what do I need to focus on to help her improve?

CognitiveOverload Thu 25-Apr-13 21:02:18

What are you asking exactly?

Smartiepants79 Thu 25-Apr-13 21:04:39

How old is she?

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:04:46

Is is possible to give it a NC level? Her school is in a mess it seems and we've been told to virtually ignore any previous assessments done. Also she has had about 20 teachers since the start of the year.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:05:14

She is Y4 - 9.

CognitiveOverload Thu 25-Apr-13 21:07:54

Looks amazing for 9.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:08:24

She was given a level today for writing at school which means she has only made one sublevel in two years and is on the same one she was a year ago. She still hasn't hit her target for writing which was set for her in Sept 2011 for July 2012.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:13:03

The teacher we are seeing for parents' evening has only been with the class part time for the last two weeks and the last supply they had has lost assessment data and sats she did with them and conveniently hadn't shared this information with anyone including the children before leaving.

CognitiveOverload Thu 25-Apr-13 21:13:50

Maybe her school work is not the same standard as this?

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:16:08

Maybe, I don't know. I haven't seen any of it this year as this is the first parents' evening we are having due to no teacher. I also work full time so don't to up to the school at all. She did this work off her own back and she isn't a keen writer so it's all I've got to go on at the moment.

CognitiveOverload Thu 25-Apr-13 21:19:02

Its a possibility. ..maybe she is less motivated by school assignments as she obviously has a vivid imagination and likes to be creative. Something schools aren't known for fostering.

Smartiepants79 Thu 25-Apr-13 21:21:36

I teach year 4 and this seems to be of a high standard. Is this copied exactly as she wrote it?
If it is then I would say it is at least a mid level 4 if not higher.
Excellent vocabulary.
Good use of punctuation.
Use of paragraphs to organise writing.
Lots of variety in sentence beginnings, structure etc.
See if you can look at this
What levels are they expecting from her?

It is a good level 4 I think, secure 4b, possible a 4a. It is punctuated very well, spelling is very good, and she is using some good techniques to 'grab attention'.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:23:23

Her school has been severely criticized by Ofsted for their lack of moderation and inaccuracies in levelling hence being told previous data from other years not reliable. That along with string of supply teachers and no assessment data yet this year makes it very difficult to know what is going on. Anything related to Ofsted's points has to go to governors rather than the head.

Pozzled Thu 25-Apr-13 21:24:02

Not sure about a level without looking at assessment guidelines. Possibly a 3a? It does depend how she writes in other genres though.

Very good vocabulary for her age, good level of detail and tries to build up suspense to draw the reader in.

She needs to work on punctuation- she is using commas often when it should be full stops. She is doing fine for year 4 though IMO. What level does the teacher say she is?

ReluctantlyBeingYoniMassaged Thu 25-Apr-13 21:24:11

She needs to avoid comma splicing.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:25:40

I don't know what level to expect from her. Overall her school has done dreadfully nationally - think bottom few percent for value added nationally.
I am not great at punctuation but thought she used far too many commas instead of full stops.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:26:44

Cross posts about the commas! How can I help her with this? Buy some books from WHSmiths?

Pozzled Thu 25-Apr-13 21:27:41

Yes, she's comma splicing- that keeps her at level 3 even though her vocab etc is level 4.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:28:11

It is copied exactly as she wrote it. I don't know how she writes in other genres apart from she doesn't like writing lots and will write the minimum hence my using this opportunity to post a longer piece.

ReluctantlyBeingYoniMassaged Thu 25-Apr-13 21:29:03

Have you looked at the bbc bite size website? There are some excellent punctuation games on there.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:30:32

Thanks, reluctantly. I have used this site a bit for maths. Tbh I haven't really done anything with her at home for English apart from reading together.

Pozzled Thu 25-Apr-13 21:35:05

Try asking her to read through the work- can she tell where the full stops need to go? If not, she will need some work on sentence construction- what a clause is, how to join clauses.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:35:58

I have asked her to recheck and she thinks the commas are correct.

Pozzled Thu 25-Apr-13 21:45:20

Hmm, have to go back to basics then. If someone in my class was doing this, I'd ask them to stop using commas for a while until I'd retaught them. I'd start by showing them how to find the subject and verb in a sentence in order to identify the clauses. Then we'd look at ways of joining clauses, by using conjunctions, full stops or exclamation marks. I tend to teach my class specific ways of using commas (e.g. when you start a sentence with a conjunction, you use a comma to separate the clauses). I think children who are taught to use a comma when you take a pause often get it wrong.

ReluctantlyBeingYoniMassaged Thu 25-Apr-13 21:45:42

She could have a teacher that thinks they are correct too! I teach secondary English and one of my colleagues comma splices. Shocking. Commas are for a list or to mark clauses, not to separate full sentences.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:50:32

Thanks. I will use the bbc website at home and get her some study books at the weekend.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:54:04

I had asked her about her use of commas on the piece she got back today and she said their were no corrections of her punctuation at all. Do you think it is cheeky to ask to see this piece when I meet with the teacher to see if it shows the same types of errors?

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:54:22

"there" not "their"

Pozzled Thu 25-Apr-13 21:56:14

I would ask to look at her literacy book, yes. If she is making those errors and not being picked up on it, it will be even harder to correct later on.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 21:57:16

Yes, much better idea to look at the book as a whole rather than one piece. I will still make a start at the weekend though.

ReluctantlyBeingYoniMassaged Thu 25-Apr-13 22:01:02

It could be that that particular piece of work wasn't being assessed for punctuation.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Thu 25-Apr-13 22:02:16

She did say other children had punctuation marked.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Fri 26-Apr-13 18:49:32

Ok. Bought punctuation book today and going to go back to basics.

Pozzled Fri 26-Apr-13 19:43:43

Good luck! Once she gets that sorted, she should quickly move through the levels as she's so confident at other aspects of writing. Let us know how you get on at parents' evening as well- I'll be interested to see what they're assessing her at.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Fri 26-Apr-13 22:05:29

Will do. Thanks again. Tried some of the questions with her and she does have to learn the basics about commas.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Sat 27-Apr-13 10:50:52

Is it worth teaching her semi colons at the same time as I think some of the sentences where she has used a comma could use instead a semi colon. However, it would look odd with so many. Do I just focus on commas and don't mention semis? confused

donnie Sat 27-Apr-13 15:36:31

It is way higher than a 3A. It has sophisticated lexical choices - eg 'delusional', 'apparently' as well as a very impressive range of sentences structures and punctuation choices. It is without doubt at the high end of level 5 if not into level 6 (I haven't taught ks2 for a while).

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Sat 27-Apr-13 16:57:15

Really donnie? She got 3c in writing at end of y2 and is still only 3b coming to end of y4. Her most recent teacher lasted two weeks and not sure if coming back as they have yet again someone else.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Sat 27-Apr-13 16:58:30

Donnie, isn't her basic use if commas completely wrong? Surely that's the basics.

bigTillyMint Sat 27-Apr-13 18:03:35

I'd say easily a secure level 4 (4b) or maybe high 4, but would need to see the original. It is a mature piece of writing with a definite style and good use of vocabulary.

It sounds like the school is in crisis. Are you happy to ride the storm in the hopes that it improves or are you thinking about moving her?

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Sat 27-Apr-13 18:09:56

I've typed it exactly as written including paragraphs. Moving her isn't an option as she is happy there with friends and has anxiety problems we are waiting list for professional help for. A move would cause more harm than good overall. I would like her to try for super selective but difficult to know if she has a chance.

bigTillyMint Sat 27-Apr-13 18:12:28

If all her writing is of this calibre, then the teachers should be levelling her as a 4. What is her maths like - surely they can't get the levelling on that wrong as it is a test score with mark boundaries!

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Sat 27-Apr-13 18:27:04

Dd was told she got 4 wrong for her maths sats so 4a in assessment but that teacher left and didn't pass on the marks to the school so they have said they are going by first teacher assessments which for dd are 3a. My point to them was she has never been given class work differentiated past what they give to all pupils on top 3 tables so how would they would know. They also said sats are a one off. Trouble is no one is invested in the class beyond a few days and no one higher up to talk to as they are the root of the problem according to the ofsted.
I haven't seen her writing other than this or a long time so no idea how it compares.

Pozzled Sat 27-Apr-13 20:45:41

donnie This is absolutely NOT a level 5 piece of writing. I honestly would not even level it as a 4. The OP's DD has a lot of potential, but she needs to sort her basic punctuation. Also, the tenses are accurate and the writing is hard to follow in places (ch 4). It is extremely misleading to say that this is a child who may be working towards level 6.

And bigTillymint maths assessments are not just based on a test score- where did you get that idea? They are based on the child's day to day performance in maths and whether they have mastered the wide range of skills on the APP grids.

ReluctantlyBeingYoniMassaged Sun 28-Apr-13 11:12:53

Level 5? No way.

bigTillyMint Sun 28-Apr-13 11:20:45

Pozzled, I agree.

But given that the class seem to have had a number of supply teachers and "Her school has been severely criticized by Ofsted for their lack of moderation and inaccuracies in levelling", I thought that at least a test score might give a reasonably reliable idea of her levelhmm

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Sun 28-Apr-13 11:57:06

Thanks for all the responses. Yes, we have been told by the LA and governors as well as Ofsted reports that past levelling cannot be relied upon as the school have incorrectly levelled in the past, not moderated and external moderation enforced upon them has shown their levelling to be inaccurate.
I am working with her on basic use of commas and full stops and I think she is confusing how sentences can be linked together ie by the use of a semi colon. Had she grasped the basics in using commas and full stops I think she would be ready for semi-colons as she is trying to link sentences.
It's a bit of a mess and I can only assume that I am now seeing the result of inconsistent teaching over the years as surely she should have mastered this a long time ago.
I will get her to edit this piece of writing when I feel she is ready to.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Sun 28-Apr-13 11:59:57

I am pretty sure we don't have a day to day maths assessment to go by as the different teachers have been supply and work can't have been set according to where pupils are at as they don't know themselves. We have been told the reason we've had no meeting since the start of the year is because they don't have the information about levels for us and need more time to level.

BalloonSlayer Sun 28-Apr-13 12:06:05

Bugger the levels, that's a great piece of writing, wonderful atmosphere: chilling and scary. I would like to have read more.

clam Sun 28-Apr-13 14:58:14

balloonslayer - that's just what teachers have been saying for years! But Ofsted/the government insist that children's writing has to tick certain boxes in order to "count" as a child having made progress. It's very frustrating.

bella65 Mon 29-Apr-13 14:48:48

I teach secondary English and honestly thought this was the work of a year 7 or 8 child until I read your other posts.


Chapter 4
I did some research and apparantly light weakens the shadow but not even the light of the whole world would destroy it, you would need the light of the universe plus the stars and some bonus light but even then there would be a hint of it left.

is actually way above an average year 4 level. Yes, she can't use full stops and uses commas instead most of the time. She's also a bit iffy with apostrophes for omission, and confused knew/ new- but she does know how to punctuate dialogue which many older children don't.

As diary entries or personal writing it's good- but she needs to avoid using things like OMG which would not be acceptable unless in a diary or quoting 'text speak' etc.

I still think the maturity of the concepts is way above a yr 4 pupil though.

bella65 Mon 29-Apr-13 14:53:21

p.s.- I really wouldn't worry about semi colons now- I find many 15/16 yr olds struggle with those. They are a very subtle use of punctuation which most adults don't have a clue how to use! Get the basics right first- commas and full stops.

worriedaboutddpleasehelp Mon 29-Apr-13 15:43:26

Thanks. That's useful to know about the semi colons. We've already done some work on full stops and commas and I'll get her to edit this piece when she is ready.

dollywashers Tue 30-Apr-13 10:48:26

I would say 4b too.

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