Do you feel that the new curriculum is having an impact?

(32 Posts)
SpoonintheBin Tue 21-Jun-16 13:01:44

Ds2 is G&T in maths but this year has been the only year (y4) that he has not made as much progress as we would have expected (not against school criteria but against his own normal progress). He is fine but in previous years he was generally well supported and encouraged by teachers. The last year he has felt generally not motivated or challenged. I am wondering if it's just because his teacher isn't very good at teaching maths, or teaching G&T children, or could it be because of changes to the curriculum? Any similar experiences elsewhere?

Vrijeme Tue 21-Jun-16 14:00:12

I've noticed the slow down this year too for Ds1 (year 9). No subject seems to be really stretching any more. When I ask the subject teacher concerned they always say that you can't compare last year's attainment levels with this year's.
However, I am just not seeing the progress in the sense that the work he can do today is noticeably better than what he could do last year.

MFL (foreign languages) is perhaps the one exception where the curriculum changes seem to mean that verb tables are finally being introduced. So, now my two DC can put sentences together.

sparepantsandtoothbrush Sat 25-Jun-16 07:36:29

DS is in y6. He's definitely not learnt anything new at school this year in maths. He was a L7 in old levels at the end of year 5 but y6 has been about sats and mastery so going over things he could do in year 3 or 4. I'm hoping secondary school will get his enthusiasm back

Vrijeme Sat 25-Jun-16 16:11:45

I hoped the same, sparepantsandtoothbrush, and this is what subsequently happened:
year 7 - now in ks3 so it is possible to do things associated with level 7 in school. L8 is theoretically feasible, but practically not in mainstream education.
year 8 - L7 year for the top set, but maybe some l8 things can be done (though not in mainstream lessons, but possibly after school clubs etc)
Year 9 - finishing L7 and making a start on L8. The quicker you pick up, the faster you'll learn but there's only so much material in L8. Maybe a generous teacher will teach and extremely able class early GCSE stuff, but then again the teacher is more likely to focus on those who aren't able to race ahead.
End of Year 9, the teacher tells you that GCSE will be too easy, as will some of A level, but that's just the way the system is.
So, year 7 - could be better than year 6
Year 8 - probably boring
Year 9 - definitely boring
Years 10 & 11 - expected to be very easy, but then English isn't easy so put your energy into that
years 12 & 13 - maye offer challenge sometimes.

Iamnotminterested Sat 25-Jun-16 21:33:34

No levels anymore.
Moving on...

Vrijeme Sun 26-Jun-16 06:33:08

My dcs' school continues to use levels. However it's not about levels, it's about being challenged and learning new things

JustRichmal Mon 27-Jun-16 08:35:03

I have noticed the amount of homework has gone down quite a bit, but I'm finding that OK. There is not the stress of knowing dd will have left 4 lots of homework until last thing Sunday evening and it gives her a lot more time to do her own learning. She is in years 8 and things may change next year when they start 3 year GCSE courses. But it does seem they are just taking the KS3 stuff more slowly so they have something to left to teach in the 3 years of GCSE.

Vrijeme Mon 27-Jun-16 08:40:34

You have three years of GCSE, not just years 9 and 10?

JustRichmal Mon 27-Jun-16 22:25:51

Do you mean 10 and 11?

I think lots of schools are going over to KS3 in years 7 and 8. Then GCSE in years 9, 10 an 11.

ReallyTired Sat 02-Jul-16 09:31:46

Dd is in year 2. I like the new curriculum although the assessments have been a fiasco. She got 115 for both maths and reading. What is a little frustrating is that we have no idea how far she is a above average as the teachers did not use harder tests. Next year she will have TA support for maths for two hours a week.

I like the new curriculum because it concentrates on mastering the basics. Dd is being stretched sideways rather than racing through.

irvineoneohone Sat 02-Jul-16 12:05:13

Wow! That's fantastic, ReallyTired.
Well done to your dd. flowers

MrR2200 Sat 16-Jul-16 08:07:53

ReallyTired, surely the scaled score gives you the information you need for comparison purposes? 115 is on a scale from 80 to 120. 100 isn't an average score because the scores are designed to allow governments to compare year to year but it still gives you a very clear guide.

Spooninthebin, it could be an issue with the teaching if the teacher isn't used to differentiating under the new curriculum. It's true that evidence suggests that while keeping all children together is hugely beneficial to the vast majority of learners, it can have a negative effect on the absolute highest. However, there's absolutely no reason why this needs to be the case based on the curriculum. Some of my high achievers took a while to adjust to the new curriculum because they're used to acceleration over depth -- and, because they were in the crossover between curricula, sometimes had already covered what was being taught. However, they're actually a lot more challenged and much better mathematicians now.

Take a year 4 objective: multiply 2 digits by 1 digits. Accelerating into 3 digits by 1 digit or 2 digits by 2 digits is really just another trick to perform for these highly confident mathematicians.

Whereas these questions link to the same objective as their classmates but at greater depth:

If you know 94 x 8 = 752, how can you use this information to calculate 95 x 8? 47 x 8? 326/8? Explain how you know. How many other facts related to this calculation can you derive in 2 minutes?

36 x 8 = 2448 - what's the misconception? Explain it and find the correct solution. (Peer teaching is great for developing this skill which is the advantage of whole class).

Replace the ? with digits: ?8 x 4 = 15?

3? x ? = ??3 -- how many ways could this be true? Work systematically to prove your answer.

Jim and Tim a dice to generate some random 2 digit number by 1 digit number calculations. Jim says, "if the answer is even, I get a point. If it's odd, you get a point." After 20 goes, who do you predict will have more points? Why? Try it. What do you notice? How can you explain your findings?

You're not looking for progress in new headline content but in developing skills -- conjecturing, generalising, working backwards, drawing on experience to solve problems, hypothesising, working systematically etc. etc. You should see the progress rippling through computing, geography, science etc.

catkind Sat 16-Jul-16 08:17:32

Love the questions MrR, that sort of thing would be perfect for DS but I don't think he's being given it sad For kids who have really mastered the concepts though I think they might still want more.
The yr 2 scaled scores only go up to 115 so ReallyTired's DD has just ceilinged them, that's what she meant. For all we know she might also ceiling year 6 ones.

MrR2200 Sat 16-Jul-16 09:58:22

Beg your pardon, my head's so far in KS2 I forgot KS1's ceiling was different!

Lurkedforever1 Sat 16-Jul-16 14:14:19

MrR while I agree those type of questions sound ideal to add depth to general high achievers, or for dc who class as g&t by way of being in the top 10%, I don't think they are remotely challenging for genuinely g&t y4's.

It might well be the case that with dc who would see this as busy work, who find multiplying digits of any number very simple and mastered it years ago, you might well offer something far more complex when age related nc isn't suitable. But the danger is that not all teachers do, either because they don't understand how the mind of a gifted mathematician works, or because they think the nc doesn't ever allow dc to work ahead.

catkind Sat 16-Jul-16 19:19:57

I missed that that was year 4! I was thinking of DS in year 2. No wonder he complains the maths is too easy sad

irvineoneohone Sat 16-Jul-16 21:03:24

My ds's school definitely says they don't go beyond the year group. So, he hasn't learned anything new at school in maths, and yes even extension work is way too easy. But we can do something about it at home, and he really loves school, so it's ok.
Hope your dc's school isn't like this, Catkind.

catkind Sat 16-Jul-16 22:16:23

Our school are not sticking rigidly to the year group; DS' teacher said she was giving DS some year 3 material for example. But looking at year 3 syllabus there's dismally little in it that DS hasn't just extrapolated from what he's already been taught anyway. Mastery-type stuff as MrR describes would be a whole lot better.
DS isn't a huge amount into doing extra at home, but was quite unhappy for a lot of this year finding the work "too easy" and listening to teacher input on stuff he already knew "boring". He's happier this half term. I don't know if that's because they're pitching things better or just doing less academics altogether.
I'm hoping it was just this year's teacher wasn't so good at it and that year 3 will be better. At least we'll be better able to judge what is going on as they get homework. It's always hard to tell how much is really DS not getting challenged and how much is just him being grumpy!

nilbyname Sat 16-Jul-16 22:23:01

Can someone explain scaled scores for the Y2 SATS?

DS is working at mastery level in both English and maths, he scored a perfect score in all his SAT papers, apart from missing one point in his English paper 1.

He is a clever engaged little thing and he lives school. He is stretched to some degree with enrichment activities. Poetry day with a published author for a select group. Math intra school comps. Extra maths with the HT.

But what do the scaled scores mean?!

catkind Sat 16-Jul-16 23:20:25

Well done your DS nilbyname! And sounds like school have founds some real opportunities to stretch him.
The scaled scores are just mapped from the actual scores to give something more comparable from test to test and year to year. They go from 85 to 115, with 100 being a pass. There have been a few threads on the Primary Education board - this link was my favourite, as it also links to some stats showing the spread of actual scaled scores.
komodomath.com/blog/keystage-1-SAT-test-results
It shows quite a lot of kids do get the top scores, so not really a good test for the most able.
Our school haven't handed out scaled scores, I've asked for DS's out of nosiness so will see there...

nilbyname Sat 16-Jul-16 23:30:05

Thank you!

I do think the SATS were a limited horizon for him, but thankfully his teacher also agreed!

Schools are legally obliged to show you the test papers and scores if you ask for them!

MrR2200 Sun 17-Jul-16 17:47:35

Lurkedforever, these are examples of an early progression; what the teacher gets from this is an understanding of how your DS works -- indeed, just your comment that he might consider this "busy work" tells me he has a lot to work on. Like any magic trick, the answer in itself is boring; the route he chooses to take to the answer is what's fascinating. For the missing numbers questions, does he use trial and error? Does he follow a system? Does he create an algorithm? How precisely does he express this algorithm? Can he hypothesise clearly and indeed mathematically? Can he recreate his algorithm on Scratch? Can he adapt it for different variables? What if we coupled this with his learning about time -- can he adapt his algorithm for minutes and hours (which is still a natural extension of Y4 objectives but will require him to identify and accommodate different number bases into his calculations)? Can he create a game on Scratch using his algorithm? It's possible to go deeper and deeper but we're still in Y4's objectives.

For ultra-high achieving children, the point is to develop "meadow thinking" (using existing knowledge to innovate and theorise from the abstract) as opposed to simply "mountain thinking" (ticking off the next challenge that someone has laid down). Ushering him onto next year's work seems like a good idea because next year has more mountains but ultimately your ds won't apply his intelligence nearly as effectively in the world unless he becomes an effective meadow thinker as well.

catkind Sun 17-Jul-16 18:33:32

Sounds fab MrR. And confirms my idea that DS current teacher hasn't a clue how to teach to mastery.

irvineoneohone Sun 17-Jul-16 18:39:15

MrR2200, problem is, there aren't many teachers who think like you do and give challenging work to able children.
If the class are doing 2 digit x 1 digit, they give able children 2dx 2d or 3d x 1d or what ever. But able children know how X works already, so just adding extra digit is not extension for them at all.

By the way lurked doesn't have ds in primary , I believe.

Lurkedforever1 Sun 17-Jul-16 21:40:18

Thankyou irvine. Dd at secondary, and rather frighteningly going back as y8!

MrR busy work is a tongue in cheek way that has been used by several of us on this board to describe repetitive and unchallenging work that is sometimes handed out to gifted dc and described as differentiation or extension.

I'm not sure you understand what I was trying to say. I don't think there is anything wrong with a teacher offering that to even the most gifted dc to ascertain how they think, and then providing work that is genuinely challenging, whether that be more of the same or something more complex. My problem is that some teachers just then offer more of the same. Quite often because when someone like my dd comes along, and has to follow what to her is a roundabout route to show her workings for what you've asked, blanking out the mental algebraic equation which would strike her as natural and obvious to use trial and error. Some teachers will correctly see that a dc like mine at y4 age is just thinking how to explain something that strikes them as obvious, others will incorrectly see it as thinking about the mathematical side.

I don't think it's fair to say that a child who would consider that type of extension on a regular basis as 'busy work' must therefore have a lot to learn. Mine has always been able to do what you describe as meadow thinking, I can't remember her ever not doing. That's what makes her a gifted mathematician, rather than just typical top set. She's never needed to practice simple concepts in various guises to understand them, she's already figured out a more complex application. And the difficulty is that when you think like that, it's impossible to stay within age related nc at primary level, because it just can't be made complex enough, regardless of how much you try.

The difficulty with saying you want to see how the child thinks is that it presumes the teacher is capable of following that thought process. Which unless they are also mathematically able they won't always be able to. Which then makes it very easy for mediocre or inexperienced teachers to think the dc doesn't understand and needs more of the same.

It also presumes that the dc has the language and maturity to explain it, when more often than not they don't. It's a bit like asking a toddler to explain how they've walked across the room to decide if they are ready to run, despite the fact they have ran round the garden all day before entering the room.

I don't mean it to sound as though I'm criticising you, or saying that with genuinely gifted dc you wouldn't offer appropriate work, or that I suspect you commit any of the flaws I mention. I'm just pointing out how open to flaws the system of presuming all dc can be taught within age related nc is.

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