Does this sound like the school cheated??

(20 Posts)
thefruitmonster Sun 16-Jun-13 06:37:39

It goes something like this;
At the beginning of term my DC was doing homework (quite usual) and it was a comprehension and story plan about a Magic Adventure. Fine. Then the next weekend there was homework again. This was a story planner and subsequent story writing using said plan. I thought this was slightly odd to have two such similar stimuli. I put it down to perhaps being unimaginative and possibly linked to the ORT Magic Key books. However the following week there were then two more homeworks all about it....Wednesday was a character description activity, Thursday was a story plan using Wednesday's characters and then on Friday they were using these two bits of homework to work on individual story writing at school...these again were all magic adventure stories. At this point i was beginning to wonder why the school would do this. Learning about story writing..yes. But repeatedly working on Magic Adventures [yawn!!].
I knew SATs week started on the Monday so i just waited and said nothing to DC. However the following week, on writing day, I asked DC what they had written about. To which DC replied...we had to write a magic adventure story. Hmmm.
I have had a lot of years experience with KS1 and have never known such a 'coincidence' to occur. I understand that if no one in the school is moderating then it is very easy, despite being wrong, to open the teacher pack early.
Do any of you out there know if they actually wrote Magic stuff in their literacy writing this year? Has anyone had a similar experience? If the school have 'coached' or 'cheated' should i do anything about it??
Oh and to add to the intrigue, when i went to check if i was going mad, the homework had gone from its usual place.
Advice please oh wise ones....
TIA

IsotopeMe Sun 16-Jun-13 06:40:06

How intriguing!

No advice, but from what you have Sid it does sound like a massive coincidence!

RudolphLovesoftplay Sun 16-Jun-13 06:46:00

That sounds very fishy to me. I am sure a teacher will be along soon who can say exactly what was in the papers.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 07:02:09

I am surprised you aren't aware that in KS1 schools can choose between the 2007 or 2009 writing tasks so obviously know the content and are allowed to teach the writing type prior to the task as long as it isn't in the week before they administer the test when you have lots of experience in KS1.

^"Children should not have had the writing type taught or modelled for
them within the previous week, although they will have been taught
it as part of the KS1 literacy strategy. They should not have a written
model in front of them as they work (for example, in their books or
as part of a display)."^

Obviously if they were taught this writing type on the Friday and did the task on Monday (without a gap of a week) they are breaking the rules).

Izpie Sun 16-Jun-13 07:05:44

KS1 SATs are based on teacher assessment not tests. The children do have to sit an old test, no new ones have been written since 2009, and there are no rules about them remaining sealed like with KS2 SATs. As well as the child's performance in the 'test' the teacher will take into account all recent work in maths, reading and writing when assessing the child's level. So whilst the amount of input and support your child got prior to the written assessment is IMO unusual and would probably be frowned upon it isn't cheating.

hesterton Sun 16-Jun-13 07:09:41

Surely they are creating a rod for their own back though; artificially high KS1 results will lead to near impossible KS2 targets.

They aren't going to have the papers in advance for those pupils when they hit the Yr 6 exams.

So they will be slammed for low value added betweek KS1 & KS2.

hesterton Sun 16-Jun-13 07:11:02

Ooops 'between'

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 07:12:30

The task levels aren't reported hesterton

But the levels progressed between KS1 and KS2 are I think

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 07:17:57

At the end of KS1 (Y2) teacher assessment levels are reported based on evidence of work children have produced over the whole year. The tests and tasks are used as additional evidence but are not reported so have no effect on value added between KS1 and KS2.

thefruitmonster Sun 16-Jun-13 07:23:01

Ah! Have been out of the classroom with my own DC for the last few years so wasn't up to speed with using old ones. That is helpful.
As for the one week gap the.original work was done on a Friday and then the writing on another Friday. So it seems from your advice that they may not have 'cheated' per se BUT negates the point IMO.
Still intrigued to find out if others have experience of this though.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 07:32:59

I think most schools will have taught children the general magical adventure type writing prior to the actual writing task if they are using the 2007 papers.
You might be interested to know that the 2009 task allows children to use reference books during the task to find information

"For the longer task, children should not base their writing on a particular book, but should decide for themselves what they are going to write. They should not have a written model in front of them as they work (for example, in their books or as part of a display). (pg 12: point 2, 2009 Teacher’s Handbook). They may use information texts (or ICT sources where appropriate) in the course of their writing to check specific facts."

So what is used to calculate progress between KS1 and KS2 then? If it's not the TA levels in KS1?

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 07:52:37

Teacher Assessment based on all the work the child does over a full year NOT the tests/tasks

Ah ok thanks

Feenie Sun 16-Jun-13 11:58:36

As mrz says, it's the lack of a gap between teaching the skills and carrying out this particular task which is questionable here, not the fact that the skills were taught.

Why would you assess children on something they hadn't been taught? confused

Greythorne Sun 16-Jun-13 12:08:32

feenie

But surely it would be more beneficial to teach the children a wide range of story telling devices, rather than repetitively coaching them on one (magical adventures)? Surely what the OP describes is classic 'teaching to the test' rather than good teaching?

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 12:13:23

The actual SAT writing task isn't specifically about a magical adventure Greythorne and children have to write 2 pieces (different types of writing) for the task, But it does sound as if the teacher has been OTT in her preparation

Feenie Sun 16-Jun-13 13:14:01

Some of the things taught are generic story skills - e.g. story settings. But I agree with mrz, sounds OTT.

DeWe Sun 16-Jun-13 17:37:10

Coincidences do happen though.
My chemistry teacher jokingly predicted a couple of questions on the GCSE paper for the year above. They were both close enough to the real thing for him to be very concerned and refused to do it for our year.
He'd done this for years with never any problem, just managed to get two near misses at the same time.

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