How long should a piece of writing be in Year 5?

(5 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 11-Apr-16 11:06:33

DS2 has a target (Statement) of increasing the length of his written output. He has an ASD and the amount that he writes depends on his level of motivation. Sometimes the layout of worksheets indicates the length of answer expected as there is a box to write in. So it is clear that his description of the stone age ("A lot of stones") was not what the CT was hoping for! But at other times he must write more as he was levelled at 4C (writing) and 4A (reading) in old money at the end of year 4.

But having trawled through the DfE literacy descriptors I can't find any specific information of the amount of text expected. The CT wants to just put a mark on the page as she says that the amount of writing required or the time in which to write varies from day to day and task to task. Trouble is DS2 just writes bigger rather than more words. I can understand that strict word count is meaningless but is there a minimum - e.g. 150 - 200 words or 5/6 paragraphs?

DS2 consistently compares the amount that he writes to that of other DC in the class and says that he has been kept in at break because he has not written enough so the CT must have an 'expectation'.

Minispringroll Mon 11-Apr-16 20:47:18

That depends on the individual child...and also on the piece of writing done. For assessment pieces at this point in the year, I'd look for 3/4 to 1 page of A4. It's simply to be able to tick as many boxes a possible. This isn't always the case when there's only one paragraph written (esp. since some children still seem to assume that one paragraph = three sentences).

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 12-Apr-16 12:26:20

Thank you. That is useful. I go into the classroom to view his books every Friday at pick up. I'd say that there are usually 1 or 2 occasions during a year when he is clearly engaged as he uses finger spaces and his writing is neater and more legible but even then he has never written a whole page in a single lesson.

He is only really engaged the first time a topic is introduced but as soon as the CT repeats or revises information he thinks she has exhausted her knowledge and switches off. He used to reward himself by drawing but now has a token reward system to reward remaining on task. Unfortunately, he is now learning how to look as though he is on task whilst being off task! So he will work exceptionally slowly - the equivalent of doing 'pins' - without actually stopping.

Academically, he is of 'superior' academic ability but as long as he is within the average for his age his CT seem happy to let him amuse himself so long as he is not too distracting to others.

I'm thinking of secondary placement. He does maths extension at school and 11+ tuition. He has far less issues with concentration and attention in these lessons and it has boosted his confidence as he is often the only DC to answer a particular question. If there were no issue with written output I would obviously be thinking grammar or selective independent if he didn't score high enough for the grammar. But there is. He gets loads of 11+ homework that he does not do - if he can't pass without hours of revision I don't think he would enjoy the pace of learning required - and it is hard to grasp how significant this would be in a selective school when the CT is unwilling to give meaningful feedback of how much is expected.

Minispringroll Tue 12-Apr-16 20:48:55

It does depend on the child and the writing required. Some children are able to cram a lot of features into a comparatively short piece. The one page I was talking about wasn't necessarily written in a single lesson. If I want quality writing, I'd rather they take a bit more time over it.
That said, I've got a Year 4 class this year and with some of them, I'm impressed if they manage four sentences in a lesson. It's not something I am used to, to be honest (have always taught UKS2 previously). They'll get there,...eventually.
What does his class teacher say about his writing? Is he meeting the requirements for writing in Year 5?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 13-Apr-16 12:24:37

It is difficult to tell. Sometimes he can produce work that is above average. Poetry is fantastic for him because he loves to play with language - he described wolves as having "fear in their fur" whereas other DC wrote "fleas in their fur" and thought DS2 had made a mistake. Otherwise he has real difficulties with writing having a beginning, middle and end, assumption of shared knowledge etc. His writing can be a little 'idiosyncratic'. Apparently, the best thing about the Romans is 'cats because cats are cool and always land on their feet.' That's before we get to motivation and boredom with repetition. Some of his work is well below average and what is expected.

His provision was non-existent last year (his first year in a new school). Class TAs only work during english and maths lessons (not present each afternoon) and he had the same level of access as any other DC. The school said he was above average and didn't need any support, that provision in his statement was an exaggeration of what was needed and was actually detrimental.

However the LA conducted more EP assessment (WISC, WIATT) and then issued an amended statement as they had additionally found statistically significant discrepancy suggestive of SpLD.

Also his workbooks show little written output, the SENCO told Autism Outreach that he can only stay on task for 5 minutes, he is kept in, he is being taught touch typing and the CT wants him to type more in class etc. It was the same in his previous school - he started school on SA+ due to SALT involvement and he still has termly visits from SALT and OT.

So the CT levels him above average on the basis of a couple of exceptional pieces of work when he is motivated. For his KS2 SATS he will be in a separate room, with a scribe. I feel like it is a lottery as far as SATS go and he could get anything from a level 2 (in literacy without poetry) to a level 5/6 (in maths science). Autism outreach want to know asap which secondary school we want him to attend in order to do transition.

He is not due to sit 11+ until September. Autism Outreach and other parents have suggested that we look elsewhere than the catchment secondary which is an outstanding academy but with a bad reputation for SEN and ASD in particular and has been criticised for 'failing' more able pupils. The more fast paced and challenging the work is, the less problems with motivation and boredom.

I wish I could just ask his teacher whether he would be able to cope with the demands of selective but the school have only known him for a comparatively short time and don't seem to have a good understanding. They initially thought I was deluded claimed that his previous school had exaggerated his maths ability and that he was actually below average (based on his classwork). However when he had assessment he did far better than expected and he now has extension lessons for DC targeted for level 6.

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