EYFS teachers: what is your criteria for exceeding in writing?

(72 Posts)
Iamnotminterested Wed 31-Jul-13 10:45:00

The posts about the new EYFS bandings seem to have created a fair bit of confusion, angst and wide differences between schools and LAs as to what constitutes emerging, expected or exceptional writing standards.

What in your view fits the latter? A properly punctuated story? A couple of sentences albeit properly spelt and punctuated?

Genuine question, genuinely interested.

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 11:06:56

not a teacher but my daughter was given exceeding for her writing. She writes poetry unaided and knows different types of poems, realising it does't have to rhyme etc, knows limericks and so on. She writes stories, using speech marks, full stops, sometimes commas, always apostrophes correctly both for ownership and missing letters. She wrote up a science experiment unaided about ice and floating, she also wrote a recipe for making bread unaided (having made it in class). She also wrote a Christmas play unaided.
spelling isn't always correct but she can do most of the non regular words correctly and other words are always completely phonetically plausible and understandable. Handwriting is a bit messy.

simpson England Wed 31-Jul-13 13:10:18

DD writes stories with a beginning, middle and an end and uses capital letters, full stops some exclamation marks and question marks (in the correct place although the question marks are sometimes the wrong way round like a c - wonder if its because she is left handed). She writes basic poetry and also illustrates her stories with drawings and gives the stories a title and writes the blurb on the back.

Her spelling is pretty good although will spell a word phonetically if she does not know it. Her handwriting is very neat (her 7 yr old brother could take some tips!) and she is starting to write cursively (off her own bat, it is not taught till yr2).

However she did not get exceeding because her school expects them to be working at NC level 2C (she is a borderline 1A/2C depending on her mood!!) and also because she does not do any non fiction writing ie reports.

squiby2004 Wed 31-Jul-13 13:37:38

For me to give exceeding:

Can form all letters both upper and lower case correctly.
Can form all numerals correctly
Understands that we write from left to right and start at the top of the page and write down
Beginning to think about how to spell phonetically ( doesn't need to be spelt correctly)
Can share ideas and then write some of them down independently
Capital letters at start of sentence and for names. Full stops used correctly.

But I would also look at other areas in class such sax drawing/painting/colouring in and how that child communicates and describes their work to me during our interactions.

ninah Wed 31-Jul-13 13:42:54

You see I'd have put a child like that down as expected, squeeby, and I wouldn't use anecdotal oral evidence to support the writing element of literacy, more for the communication and language areas.
It just shows how open to interpretation it all is.

ninah Wed 31-Jul-13 13:43:31

sorry, squiby!(just call me emerging)

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 14:00:04

I would agree with ninah - although I am not a teacher I would have said what squiby describes is expected not exceeding. To me exceeding really has to be doing a lot more than that and communicating about work is just that, communication and language. Writing surely is just what is written down.

mrz Wed 31-Jul-13 14:25:32

I haven't used the new profile but with the old profile I expected children to be able to write for different purposes - stories, poems, instructions, reports etc independently using capital letters, full stops and that their work could be read by anyone and that it flows and makes sense. Letters formed correctly, sitting on the lines, left to right top to bottom and about a side of A4 (wide lines) min.

simpson England Wed 31-Jul-13 14:39:20

Lost a big post hmm

Basically saying that I would have thought it is a lot more than what the child has actually written down ie can they read it back to someone.

Also I would have thought that speaking and listening play a big part too, speaking (to be able to re-tell a story in their own words) listening (to have the attention span to listen to a story being read, follow instructions and not get bored halfway through a task).

I would have thought that getting exceeding in one area (as my DD did) is a bit questionable as surely she would have higher level skills in other areas to get her one exceeding? (Although I am talking about reading not writing but I would have thought the same principal applies).

mrz Wed 31-Jul-13 14:47:55

Speaking and listening and reading are separate areas.

However I would expect exceeding in S&L if a child was to obtain it in reading and writing because of language skills needed.

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 15:11:32

Simpson - I meant that the writing score should really just be based on their writing, they can't be made up to exceeding in writing based on what they can verbalise about what they were trying to write, the communicating is a separate category.

Like mrz says though you would definitely expect a child with exceeding in reading or writing to have exceeding in Speaking, Listening and attention and understanding (or at least some of them) because the skills are so linked, doesn't obviously work the other way round.

simpson England Wed 31-Jul-13 16:32:54

Mrz - I know they are different skills (amongst the 17) but yes you put it better than me. For a child to get exceeding in either reading or writing then I would have thought a child would do very well in either the speaking or the listening skills.

Makes me even more hmm about my DD's report...

simpson England Wed 31-Jul-13 16:34:30

And isn't there are skill for imagination too?? Or is that awareness of the world around them?

simpson England Wed 31-Jul-13 16:36:23

Peri - I don't think the writing score should be based in just what they write actually. It should be linked into how they discuss what they are writing, whether they can read it back, whether they know the meaning of the words they have written.

mrz Wed 31-Jul-13 16:41:04

In the old profile there were certain ELG you couldn't award unless a child had also achieved x,y &z ELGs too. There aren't any such limits on the new profile even though common sense suggests there are connections and each is judged separately

simpson England Wed 31-Jul-13 16:47:54

I know that obviously they are totally different to NC levels but DS (yr3) in order to go up to the next sub level in numeracy has to show skills that are nothing to do with how good he is at actual numeracy (quite rightly so can I add).

I've worked as a teacher, mainly in nursery classes a few years ago. And more recently as a TA in a reception class, and also in pre-schools.
As a general impression it seems from all the above posts that an awful lot is expected of our 4/5 year olds by the end of their reception year.
I did find that there was quite a lot of pressure on the children regarding their literacy development in my recent work in reception.
I'm concerned especially for those whose writing is indeed at an emergent stage - something I think would once have been considered normal for children in nursery and reception classes.

I feel the new push for such early phonics and literacy skills acquistion is at the detriment of a full exploration of learning through play, and the development of other fundamental learning and social skills, which should form a strong foundation for later learning.

I know the OP is specifically about what you would look for to give an 'exceptional' for writing standards, but I hope everyone is remembering the needs of their emergent writers too!

I love to see an interesting and creative bit of emergent writing myself!

missmapp Wed 31-Jul-13 16:56:18

Ds2 was given expected in writing and can do what squiby shared. At my school, children who are given expected will , generally, start yr 1 as a 1c- so would the expected level be individual to the child or a standard 2c or something- because squiby's standard does not make a 2c!!

missmapp Wed 31-Jul-13 16:57:03

Sorry- would the exceeded level be a 2c'. I am not exceeding at all !!

squiby2004 Wed 31-Jul-13 17:28:30

What I posted is a basic list and you have to use professional judgement to accompany it. As an EYFS team you should then moderate because it is subject to interpretation.

Hellocleaveland Wed 31-Jul-13 18:35:44

Following a double moderation of writing ( we went back for more because we really wanted to make sure we were judging correctly!) our 4 form entry Reception only gave one 'exceeding' for writing. It was levelled at a 2c by the moderators. I wanted to give one child in my class 'exceeding' because she can write several, extended sentences in different contexts, spells all key words consistently accurately, spells complex words phonetically, uses a wide and varied vocabulary, accurate punctuation (capital letters, full stops, question marks). I used to teach Year 1 for many years and would have put her at a 1a. The moderators judged her to be a 'high expected'.

ninah Wed 31-Jul-13 18:40:12

That sounds much more in line with what happened at my school, cleaveland. I was externally moderated, also.

intheshed Wed 31-Jul-13 19:28:39

<whispers> but what does it matter now? They will be in Y1 in just over a month and all talk of expected/exceeding will be forgotten. Let it go!

Pozzled Wed 31-Jul-13 19:42:57

It is mad that schools can judge so differently. DD1 was given 'exceeding' for writing. Using my school assessment framework she'd just be a 1b. She can:

Write for a range of different (but simple) purposes e.g writes notes to her friends, signs, a 'to do' list.
Spells mostly phonetically, but some common tricky words and a few more complex ones are correct.
Uses capitals for 'I' and a few names.
Usually uses full stops, but no capital letters for sentences.
Produces 3-4 sentences independently; I haven't seen more than that.
Writing is on the line, most (but not all) letters correctly formed, spacing is good.

She should be firmly in the 'expected' category. On paper, the school has made her out to be some kind of genius- all but two ELGs are 'exceeding'. They seem to be one of the few schools that are judging their Reception children far too leniently.

It concerns me because 1) it seems to indicate that their expectations are set very low and 2) I don't trust their judgements so it's harder for me to see which areas she actually needs support in.

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 19:52:01

but is it wrong for a 1b to be classed as exceeding in reception? I think that is the question. To me if that is the average level at the end of Yr1 then to be achieving that consistently (as it is supposed to be consistent not once isn't it?) is exceeding the EYFS - or should be IMO.

I misread Squiby's post as being that she would award an exceeding if a child 'could communicate what they had tried to write not but hadn't actually written' rather than 'discussed what they had written to show true understanding' so that is why I was seeing them as completely separate skills

and yes one is for something like 'being imaginative' I think.

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