Y3 help?

(120 Posts)
ihearttc Fri 15-Feb-13 19:07:31

Sorry didn't quite now how to word this!

Just wondered if any teachers could help if possible? DS1 is in Y3 at a Junior School (this is relevant I think). When they did their SATS last year he got 3's across all the subjects. It wasn't written what levels on report but teacher said he was 3B in Maths and 3C in literacy.

When they assessed them at the start of Y3 he was apparently 3C in Maths and 2A in literacy...fair enough to be expected after holidays I suppose despite the fact that he did reading and maths in the holidays. They have now been assessed again and he is now a 2A in Maths and a 2C in Literacy. He is a little boy that takes everything to heart and is so upset and I don't quite know what to do to help him.

I totally understand about different teachers and with it being different schools (they are linked though) then obviously there will be variations but is it really normal for him to both fail to improve and in my opinion fall quite drastically in that period of time?

He isn't fond of writing I will say that but Im a bit stuck as to why this has happened? He is "free reading" if you can call it that...school books are a bit short on the ground (well the ones he enjoys!) so he is reading some Michael Morpugo ones (Billy the Kid etc), David Walliams and he has just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What sort of level is a 2C?

It honestly doesn't matter to me what level he is on...just want to make that clear but Im surprised that he has "fallen" this much and he is bothered by it and I want to help him.

Oh and if anyone can point me in the direction of some more books he might enjoy that would be great!

mrz Fri 15-Feb-13 21:40:10

I would be inclined to think he wasn't secure at the level reported but showing some aspects. As I said I'd be more concerned that his levels have dropped since he started his new school and would want to discuss this with his teacher.

teacherwith2kids Fri 15-Feb-13 21:43:15

I agree with your ppint, mrz, that the 'dip' if it occurs is due to the child being insecure at that level or not being at that level in the first place.

Having been on both sides of that particular divide, I would say that opposing political pressures operate on infant / first and junior schools, and when this pressure is extreme on particular schools, this might on occasion result in an optimistic assessment on one hand and pessimistic assessment on the other....

ihearttc Fri 15-Feb-13 21:52:46

Thank you so much mrz thats really helpful...We have parents evening immediately after half term so will ask questions then.

If his classwork is of a higher level would that mean less cause for concern...Im just wondering if he just did badly on the day.

I very much doubt he was a level 3 last year tbh but I am also struggling to understand how he could have dropped that much since being at that school.

Once again thanks so much.

Taffeta Fri 15-Feb-13 21:59:03

FWIW op my DS dropped to a 2a in Nov and last week got a 4. (No sublevel given). Teacher assessment prob therefore more meaningful than test result.

PastSellByDate Sat 16-Feb-13 01:54:48

Hi ihearttc

I think I'll answer your last query first. Why would a y2 teacher assess higher than he actually was? The system seems to be that each year a teacher is required to demonstrate 2 sub-levels improvement on the previous year. Now each school plays this system differently:

TYPE A (let's call them honest schools): They assess through a mixture of standardised tests and teacher assessment continuously throughout the year and report progress as verifiably achieved.

TYPE B (let's call them inflating schools): They are in a catchment where parental pressure/ expectations is that their DC will be brighter than average - so the pressure is to tell parents Johnny is NC Level 3 and end KS1.

TYPE C (let's call them sliding scale schools): They have a system where each year the child progresses the expected 2 sub-levels (at least) by having the next teacher along lower the NC LEVEL score from the end of the previous year. For example, DD1 finished Y3 working to a 3a (so effectively 3b) - but started Y4 working to a 3c (with the usual she's 'lost a bit of learning' over the summer months but we'll soon catch her up banter at our first parents' evening in October). Miraculously she finished Y4 having improved 3 sub-levels (one full NC Level improvement because she'd basically been moved back 1.5 sub-levels at the start and swiftly achieved those again).

I've found that the Campaign for Real Education's documents on what should be covered & mastered in a given year is a brilliant reality check. You have to bear in mind that this is gold standard stuff and your school most likely isn't working to this - but basically this does help to clarify what should be taught when. Link here: www.cre.org.uk/primary_contents.html

HTH

jalapeno Sat 16-Feb-13 08:53:39

Ah we've had this at parents evening this week. DS ended yr 2 on level 3 in every subject (no sublevels given), only found out this week it was 3b in reading and writing and he is still a 3b in both hmm Ours is a primary school so not likely about inflation last year.

Teacher says he has progressed ok and not to worry as he is doing better than expected still. I accepted this in the room and went home and now it is niggling at me- at what point do I start asking questions about what they plan to do to help progress- or what we can do at home? THere are behaviour issues so I don't know whether I should even worry about this whilst that is going on or whether both things are linked?

He has gone from 3c to 3b in maths so that's good smile

Acinonyx Sat 16-Feb-13 10:12:09

It's been an interesting experience seeing dd's sats over the last year. She finished yr 2 with 3s across the board. Re-assessed at new juniors yr 3 with 2 all sats knocked back - two of them back from 3b to 2a. This term - just 4 months later, she is back up to 3b, 3a, 3a. So a whole nc level, apparently in just 3 months. hmm I think not. I think perhaps her original sats were not unrealistic.

So I am a lot less naive about sat levels now. What's the betting that dd falls back again starting yr 4 hmm. Really surprising, given that she always seems to progress so much more over the summer than during term time.....

SunflowersSmile Sat 16-Feb-13 12:25:18

Do things relax a bit teaching wise in year 3 at schools?
A bit phew no SATs for a while and thumb twiddling?
Sorry to go off track.... but do wonder what others think.

prettydaisies Sat 16-Feb-13 12:40:12

Sublevels don't actually exist - they have been 'made up' by teachers to help track progress within a level.
If a child leaves Year 2 as a 3B say, then expectation is that they will be a 4B at the end of Year 4. It is quite possible to go 1/2 a year without changing sublevels, but still be making progress.

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 15:35:32

I think there is a lot of consolidation work in Y3 to ensure children are actually secure at the level rather than just hanging off the edge

Feenie Sat 16-Feb-13 15:41:46

Sublevels don't actually exist - they have been 'made up' by teachers to help track progress within a level.

I do know what you mean - but I wouldn't level grin this accusation at teachers - the marks in the Y2 tests, for example, have always been sublevelled within level 2. That's not teachers.

lljkk Sat 16-Feb-13 15:58:17

Don't KS2 SATs have meaningful sublevels?

I must admit for DS1 (now in yr8) the whole thing seems nebulously meaningless. He has no KS2 SAT results, was never given CATs. So I have no idea how they set his targets and I imagine there's a large error margin in his attainment assessments, too (2 minutes appraisal on each bit of work, I should think).

I do read this a lot on MN. About dip from y2 to y3, that is.

I seem to have the only child on MN who had a "transition boost" from y2 to y3. Gawd knows why. Yr2 NQT was too cautious in her assessments?

gabsid Sat 16-Feb-13 15:58:55

My DS is young in his year and immature for his age and has also started Junior school this year. His levels suggest that he has not progressed since last summer but I found the new school is quite a different place in comparisson the the Infant school.

Now he suddenly has to be and work more independently, the assessments appear more grown up, he moves classes for maths, does quiet reading, is meant to be responsible for doing his homework, and from what I see he is expected to do his own research and write more complex stuff and in maths he seems to move to bigger numbers and is expected to just get on with it.

I feel my DS is not quite ready for such a 'grown up' environment and he struggles to be independent but is slowly getting his head around it. I feel my DS has a lot to deal with this year and hopefully things will soon improve.

iseenodust Sat 16-Feb-13 16:09:05

To answer your book question;
Tom Gates' Genius Ideas
How to train your dragon series
Goosebumps series
Lemony Snickett

Feenie Sat 16-Feb-13 16:14:29

Don't KS2 SATs have meaningful sublevels?

Nope. Just 3s, 4s or 5s.

iseenodust Sat 16-Feb-13 16:17:46

Feenie So when DS gets a 4c that is solely a subjective teacher's 'score' and could vary between schools? (Not yr6/official SATS.)

prettydaisies Sat 16-Feb-13 16:57:08

If he's been assessed as a result of a test, then it's likely that the marks needed for a level 4 have been divided into thirds - bottom third 4c, middle third 4b and top third 4a.
Teacher assessment, then who knows? There are lots of suggestions on the web. They may use APP grids. I would suggest there are some elements of level 4, but not very secure yet.
Sorry about KS1 level 2 - I'd forgotten that, but still there are no official guidelines for a 2C as opposed to a 2B.

jalapeno Sat 16-Feb-13 17:10:37

Feenie this sublevel thing is terribly confusing...so if DS was assessed as a 3b at the end of yr2 was that meaningful? Or is a 3 then and a 3 now ok? Of course he may have been a 3 for some time in year 2...so when do I worry about lack of progress?

toomuchicecream Sat 16-Feb-13 17:10:42

Back to the original question, it could be that the level the teacher has given the class is based on 1 piece of writing rather than a range, as it should be. If it was a level given for a single piece of writing, it could be that your DS just didn't perform on that one piece for some reason. I've been marking writing this weekend and have several children who've performed less well than normal. One child obviously got so excited by her idea she forgot to put in punctuation (when it is in the other writing in her book). Another got so caught up in his own idea he forgot that his writing should relate to the given subject. And that's without allowing for children not feeling well, being distracted by something that happened at home/on the playground etc etc etc. So it's perfectly possible for a child to produce one piece of writing that's below their normal standard, and that's why levels should be based on a range of writing produced over a period of time not one piece of work.

ihearttc Sat 16-Feb-13 17:30:12

Thank you toomuchicecream...and everyone else as well!

The level was definitely on one piece of writing as far as I know...so its good to know that it should be assessed over a range of writing and thats possibly something else to bring up with school at parents evening.

I know he's not particularly talented in the writing department...if anything he concentrates a great deal on punctuation,spelling, grammar etc rather than the content and as I said before doesn't have a huge amount of imagination but I honestly don't think he has dropped that much overall. Yes obviously he has on this piece for whatever reason but I really don't want him to worry too much about it.

Thank you for the book suggestions as well...we've raided the library today and got Lemony Snickett funnily enough before I saw the reply. He has tried How to train your dragon before and didn't like it but its definitely worth another try. He absolutely loves non fiction books and will read them for ages-he finds them much more interesting than fiction ones which perhaps isn't helping the literacy aspect. The task apparently that was levelled at 2C was to write some sort of short story.

I know at the end of the day these levels don't really matter but its a huge amount of pressure on them if they are told...some children are obviously not bothered by it but DS is so am just going to try to help him as best I can.

Feenie Sat 16-Feb-13 19:10:50

Feenie this sublevel thing is terribly confusing...so if DS was assessed as a 3b at the end of yr2 was that meaningful? Or is a 3 then and a 3 now ok? Of course he may have been a 3 for some time in year 2...so when do I worry about lack of progress?

Depends what they used to assess him - school use APP grids and moderation to get some kind of consistency and work very hard to show progress. But historically the levels were supposed to be used as a best fit, as a previous poster has said.

jalapeno Sun 17-Feb-13 08:07:07

Thanks Feenie, I don't know what an APP grid is so will just trust them for a bit longer and do a bit more with him at home.

mrz Sun 17-Feb-13 16:33:57

APP stands for Assessing Pupils Progress and is a method used by some schools to do just that.

jodieworld Tue 19-Feb-13 09:27:16

Hi
Am a teacher and have taught Year 3 so wanted to share a few things that I hope will take off the worry.
Firstly someone said if you are a 2B at end of Year 2 you should be a 4B at end of Year 4. This is not the case. If you are 2B at end of Year 2 you should be a 4B at end of YEAR 6. Progress in KS2 is not meant to be as fast as KS1. The subject matter goes into greater depth and concepts take longer to "bed in".
Secondly it is very much normal for Year 3 children to look as if they have slid backwards from Year 2 tests, particularly in Writing and Reading. This is partly due to the change it tests. In Year 2 Reading Comprehension for example the teacher just has to ask a couple of questions about the book. In Year 3 they are suddenly dealing with a massive written test with loads of questions about subtle inference and emotional intelligence which is a big jump for some children. You can support him in that by asking inference questions when reading at home, "Why did he do that?" "how would he feel?" "Why was the day special for him" etc
Thirdly Teachers do not make up sublevels they are clearly defined by government standards. Yes teachers will all have slightly different ideas of what a Level 2 "looks like" but the sublevel is assigned based on a points score.
The Year 2 level was not a "true" level 3. They can guess the sublevel based on the points but actually the Year 2 test is not set up to assess at Level 3 and therefore this can only be a guess.
Fourthly it is very much normal for a boy who isn't a massive reader (i.e. most of them at that age) to really go off it for a while when they hit Year 3 and reading is no longer just for fun and decoding words but suddenly they have to not only read the thing but someone is going to ask them very hard questions about what they read when all they wanted to do was pass the "reading" test. This is a huge leap and many boys struggle here.
Lastly Ofsted insist we tell children their levels. They will ask random children what their level is and what their targets are. I hate it. All teachers hate it but this is why they MUST know their level in school.

However the other children do not need to know their level. This is the only complaint I would be having at this point with the school. Go and tell the headteacher you disagree with the children's levels being read out to everyone. Each child has the right to have dips and struggle a bit but none of them should have it paraded. As others have said he may be suffering with the move of school and so highlighting him as lower levels than others is not going to help the situation. Levels wise please do not worry at this point. Give him Year 3 to settle then tackle it in Year 4. Spend time at home doing bits of work that are fun but educational. Take him to the zoo, chat about animals, mess around, then write about it when he has a fun exciting memory to write down. Etc. But do not worry about the piece of paper coming home. Teachers are great (I have to say that) but the person in the best position to help your child who knows him the best is you :-) Enjoy his childhood. If he was way below national expectation I would recommend extra support but at this stage he is doing just fine!

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 10:11:39

However the level reported at the end of KS1 is not from a test jodieworld NOt from a test as you seem to believe

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