School levels year 4

(15 Posts)
peppajay Tue 15-Nov-16 22:52:21

My son is 8 year 4 and we had his parents evening tonight. He loves school and is doing well in all aspects. All great until she tells me he is working below in all subjects but it doesn't matter at all because he is very bright and loves learning. She said it is all to do with the levels changing, he has always been above average before. Should I be worried WB is the lowest level there is on the form. She álso said at this stage 95% of the class are working below - surely the majority should at least be working towards. Any one on here understand the system a bit more and if working below means he is really struggling. It just seems a bit contradictory to me that he is bright concientous and hard-working with no learning issues at all but is working at the lowest level possible!!

kilmuir Tue 15-Nov-16 22:58:19

I am on child 4 going through primary school.
I never took much notice of levels etc. He sounds like he is doing well. I wouldn't worry too much if teacher is happy

chamenager Tue 15-Nov-16 23:31:56

I suspect this is a school internal grading system. It probably refers to what they are meant to achieve by the end of the school year. In our school most children currently are at 'beg' as in beginning, in spring most will be at 'dev' as in developing, and by summer most will be at 'emb' as in embedded. Though some may still be at 'dev+' and some may have gone beyond and reached 'mastered'.

It just means that your child has begun to work on the curriculum of their year group. It would be a bit much to expect them to know everything they are meant to be taught this year already!

However, if indeed they did already know most or all of what they will be taught this year, in our school they may very well still get a 'beg' - simply because the teacher has not assessed them on the stuff they will learn later in the year and so cannot/won't give them a 'higher' grade. The difference will only show in summer, when they will have covered the whole curriculum for that year, and some children will still be on 'beginning' whereas others will have sped across to 'mastered'.

I suspect this or similar may be what is happening at your school. It sounds like your child is doing well but it won't really show in his 'levels' until the end of the school year.

bojorojo Wed 16-Nov-16 13:20:32

Where I am a Governor, children are assessed on each topic, not the curriculum for the whole year. You therefore must establish what the school is actually reporting to you. Clearly, as no children have completed the curriculum, they are working towards this, but this is not the same as assessing each topic regularly and reporting progress which is what the teachers must do. Assessment is ongoing and formally recorded twice a term where I am a Governor. Appropriate work is set for those children working below, working towards, working at and above. We are using the Mastery approach to Maths and as Maths Governor, I see work set which extends the children's knowledge and depth of the topic when they are working above. This is a key element of the new curriculum amd they would be reported as Working Above which is then moderated by other staff and external Advisors.

I have just received the Head's report for our next GB meeting and we have substantial numbers of children working at or above across all subjects. Therefore I would respectfully suggest that this teacher does not undertstand assessment because a whole class working below in every subject is poor, and highly unlikely. If your child is bright, he should be working at or above in the topics he has been taught. They should have assessed every topic in every subject by now. I would ask to see his books. What additional, more complex work has he been given to extend his knowledge? If he does not have any, or is working at a lower level then ask the teacher to explain his work to you and what he needs to do to make more progress.

I would also ask the school to explain their methods of assessment to you. What you have been told does not sound right to me, unless the school has no really bright children, of course.

Autumnsky Wed 16-Nov-16 14:11:53

I no longer look at the level now, DS2 is also in Y4,he has got secure at the end of year 3 for all subjects, but I don't know what does this compare to the old level and don't know it's meaning.

golfbuggy Wed 16-Nov-16 14:45:09

DD's school has a similar grading. It relates to the expectations for the end of the year. That's why 95% of the class are currently working below them at this stage in the year - they haven't even covered most of the work yet! You really need to understand if he is genuinely struggling (which sounds not to be the case from teacher's comments) or just progressing nicely. It's also worth asking what she would project him to be at at the end of the year. Do bear in mind that goalposts have changed so a previously "above average" child might now only be a "Meeting expectations" child.

Feenie Wed 16-Nov-16 19:50:19

This is a key element of the new curriculum amd they would be reported as Working Above

Small point, but it's not, it's reported as 'Working in Greater Depth'. I'd also be careful about referring to a mastery curriculum as only applicable to these children - deepening understanding should apply to all children. Greater Depth was at one point going to be called 'Mastery', which is where the confusion arose, I think - all children need to be taught a mastery approach.

I think golfbuggy is spot on about the OP's dc's assessment system.

Bluebird23 Thu 17-Nov-16 00:40:07

DD is in Y4 and the assessment levels in her school are emerging, developing, and secure. Theoretically, a child will start the year on emerging and end the year at secure. Sure there are lots of variances depending on the child.

For the greater depth they use secure + working in greater depth.

bojorojo Thu 17-Nov-16 18:50:20

Descriptions vary. The Mastery refers to Maths and is a form of teaching.

bojorojo Thu 17-Nov-16 19:21:15

That is one theory, but if you read the government reports and advice on primary assessment you will see that children should be assessed after each topic or at the end of a period of teaching. It does not necessarily follow that there is even progression to the end of the year or that topics are incremental term after term.

The reason children are assessed is to ensure they are challenged in their lessons. Therefore if a school has assessed that no child is meeting their age related target (or is secure) after half a term of teaching a topic, then it would suggest there are no bright children in the school. Normally a school will have children who would need to be stretched, because they had been assessed as secure in that topic, and appropriate challenging work will be devised for them. If assessment is not being carried out on each topic, and progress is slow, (which in effect is what is being said) ofsted will be unhappy! Clearly setting work that challenges the secure does not just happen at the end of the year! Hopefully !

Feenie Thu 17-Nov-16 20:53:20

This is a key element of the new curriculum amd they would be reported as Working Above which is then moderated by other staff and external Advisors.

By external advisors, you can only mean end of KS1 or KS2, and the description does not vary - it is Working at Greater Depth.

I know mastery is a form of Maths teaching, Toronto - that's what I.posted to you! My point was that it doesn't only teach depth to the more able, which your post implied smile

Feenie Thu 17-Nov-16 20:55:48

Apologies, bojorojo - my Kindle rechristened you!

Feenie Thu 17-Nov-16 21:00:38

That is one theory, but if you read the government reports and advice on primary assessment you will see that children should be assessed after each topic or at the end of a period of teaching

Actually, they are also big fans of assessment for learning - day to day assessment. There is no.requirement, however, to assess formally or informally until the end of the year. I'd be very surprised if there any documentation which recommends assessing after each topic - what's a topic? confused Or a 'period of learning'? Too subjective.

peppajay Sat 19-Nov-16 08:36:14

Hi thanks everyone for your replies. We had a letter from school yesterday explaining that as it is so early in the year a lot of children are at WB stage as they have only done 10 weeks of the curriculum so far. By the summer most children should be WA- working at and as the cirriculum has changed those who were working above may only be working at. The poor deputy head was bombarded by worried parents the day before yesterday so he had to send a letter and he clarified it well.

Pud2 Sat 19-Nov-16 11:21:55

Yes, that's correct. They are end of year expectations so all children will start the year working below as they haven't started the curriculum. Most children will then meet the expected standard by the end of the year. A few children will be working at a greater depth for their year group and some won't have achieved everything they need to to be at an expected standard.

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