NC levels. Is 1 sub level progress ever OK?

(51 Posts)
seeker Fri 09-Jul-10 17:23:27

I know that 2 sub-levels of progress is what's expected. Are there any circumstances in which it's OK for a normally bright child who hasn't had anything traumatic happen to him and who appears to have had a normal sort of year to only make 1 sub level of progress?

WarrenPeace Fri 09-Jul-10 17:24:09

God i haev had kids go backwards.
that might just be my teaching though blush

MaamRuby Fri 09-Jul-10 17:24:39

I think it can sometimes mean a child had just made it one one sublevel then progressed to just missing the next level, so has very nearly made two levels progress.

primarymum Fri 09-Jul-10 17:49:31

Technically it is two whole levels over 4 years or one whole level over two years ie from 2b in yr 2 to 4b in yr 6 so one sub level one year followed by two the next would be perfectly acceptable!

Feenie Fri 09-Jul-10 18:28:21

Sometimes children, especially those who have been used to making accelerated progress, just aren't ready to progress any further. They aren't little robots, and so sometimes don't make neat little jumps over pockets of time.

It's important, however, that those same children are tracked even more carefully the following year to ensure the same thing doesn't happen, and to find out the reason behind it if it does happen again, so appropriate action can be taken quickly.

seeker Fri 09-Jul-10 19:31:41

So if my ds was 4c and 4c at the end of year 3 for reading and writing, should I be relaxed about him being 4b and 4b at the end of year 4? ? His writing is still a bit "boy-like" but he is reading The Lord of the Rings at home slowly, but with much enjoyment and understanding (I know, I check regularly because I think it's a bonkers book for him to take on at 9 and the minute he shows me he's mot understanding it I'll take it away and give it back when he's at an age where he won't spoil it for himself!

God, I am turning into one of those mothers I dispise!

TheFallenMadonna Fri 09-Jul-10 19:35:19

You are turning into one of those mothers!wink You know that children don't do things on a nice steady gradient; they have fits and starts, the shoot up and plateau off. We measure our DC's height twice a year, 6 months apart, and it is never even. I don;t expect their academic development to be completely even either. It's a long game I reckon...

seeker Fri 09-Jul-10 19:39:02

Hit me with a wet fish. Repeatedly. STOP ME truning into one of THEM!!!!!!!!

Shaz10 Fri 09-Jul-10 19:40:39

Despite the government's best efforts, children do not progress in a straight line.

schroeder Fri 09-Jul-10 19:55:18

This hits a nerve with me though. My ds was achieving a 4 in year 3 and now at the end of year 6 has got 4s in everything except reading in which he got a 5.

Now I am feeling pretty cross that his class teachers haven't spoken to me about his lack of progress. I know he is not underachieving, but I'm thinking that he's missed out on more help that he could have been given just because he's quietly able, polite and shy.

A nasty vision of the future for my ds. And a worry for my (younger)dd as she progresses up the school.
sad

seeker Sun 11-Jul-10 12:35:37

Part of the issue for me is that I am a governor at the school, and part of our school plan is a relentless drive to raise standards. So I'm looking at this from two places at once "Why hasn't this bit of our school plan worked in thie case?" with my governor hat on and "Oh No - ds is destined for a life of academic failure and shelf-stacking" with my paranoid parent hat on!

Needaname Sun 11-Jul-10 20:24:10

4b at the end of y4 is very good although there is usually greater disparity between the writing and reading levels. He has obviously taken great strides further down the school. Y3 - Y4 is difficult for big jumps in writing because if a child is good at spelling in Y3 it counts for more than it does in Y4. If he goes up two sub-levles per year for the next two years he will be 5a by the end of school and that's the highest he can possibly be. If he only makes the expected progess of one level he will still be well above average.

Don't forget that a lot of writing marking can be quite subjective too and teachers have a vested interest in making sure they hit targets or they don't send children up at a level that's hard for the next teacher to do anything with. Pressure from above can certainly alter the results!

Feenie Sun 11-Jul-10 21:18:42

"Y4 is difficult for big jumps in writing because if a child is good at spelling in Y3 it counts for more than it does in Y4"

How so?

Needaname Sun 11-Jul-10 21:59:56

I understand that the marks awarded for spelling in Y3 count for a larger proportion of the overall marks than in year 4.

Feenie Sun 11-Jul-10 22:10:06

But fgs, we are not back to levelling children from a snapshot test over 45 minutes, are we?

What happened to careful, considered balanced teacher assessment from a variety of sources, giving a day to day picture of where the children are?

Levelling judgements purely from optional SATs are from the bad old days <shudder>

Needaname Sun 11-Jul-10 22:19:23

Teehee Feenie. Your innocence touches me. Or maybe it's just my HT who prefers a snapshot rather than trust the teachers' assessment. But with the relentless drive to improve standards in OP's school I would think that their HT is taking the tests as the hard evidence. It would be interesting to know though OP?

One sub-level is still prefectly fine though in your case OP.

Feenie Sun 11-Jul-10 22:23:13

Using the tests as hard evidence can only take place once a year - are you seriously telling me that your school only assesses children once annually? Where is your tracking? And I think it is just your HT, yes. Or do they over-rule the LEA when it comes to Y2 assessment, then?

Feenie Sun 11-Jul-10 22:39:36

And, in a relentless drive to improve standards, a single test is the bare minimum any school could do for assessment, and is nowhere near enough to inform anyone of anything.

mumtoabeautifulbabyboy Mon 12-Jul-10 18:30:45

Feenie,
I am also a primary school teacher, we use APP and Teacher Asst throughout the year to track progress as well as a whole range of AfL strategies on a day to day basis.

However the level we tend to report to parents is the Otional SAT one. Obviously if the child usually performs bettr/worse than that then we inform parents of this but I am assuming from the OP that the optional SAT level is the one they have been given.

OP, your child has made excellent progress through their time in the school and is still progressing well. Children do need time to consolidate their learning and so do not always make the 2 sub levels per year every year.

singersgirl Mon 12-Jul-10 18:36:25

In any case, at some schools (even if Feenie says this is not supposed to happen and doesn't happen at hers) children are 'pegged' at a minimum teacher assessment to demonstrate good value-add. So, for example, 3c in Year 2, 3a in Year 3, 4b in Year 4, 5c in Year 5 to arrive at 5a in Year 6. They may want to slow your son's apparent rate of progress down, otherwise he'll present as having made less than satisfactory progress for their figures when OFSTED comes a-callin'.

Feenie Mon 12-Jul-10 18:39:15

How strange - to track children so carefully throughout the year within school,only yo report a one-off snapshot to parents which isn't even statutory?

singersgirl Mon 12-Jul-10 18:43:16

Well, I suppose the teacher assessment means that the children are definitely working at at least that level and they may also have test results that show a higher level, if you see what I mean.

Feenie Mon 12-Jul-10 19:03:51

Not really....

seeker Mon 12-Jul-10 19:25:21

singersgirl - I don't think they do that at our school In any case, they would be a bit bonkers to do it in this case, me being one of the governors with oversight of the bit if the school plan related to raising standards standards and all!

Tanga Mon 12-Jul-10 19:29:34

Bottom line, when they do GCSE's that's a snapshot of a couple of hours, isn't it? How they respond to tests is a fairly important thing, even when they are at primary.

singersgirl Mon 12-Jul-10 19:53:06

Ah, yes, it would be a bit bonkers in that case, seeker! To be honest, it sounds as if he's probably just been consolidating his rapid progress earlier.

Needaname Mon 12-Jul-10 19:55:40

seeker - Were you reported the test level or continuous assessment level then?

I don't think you'd know whether or not it was going on even though you're a governor. It's an unspoken policy I'm afraid.

Feenie Mon 12-Jul-10 20:01:01

But not as important as the work that they do from day to day.

It isn't at all in line with end of KS1 assessment - which must be collated using lots of different kinds of evidence to give a fuller picture, not just a one-sided view. It's more evolved than giving a small child a narrow test, and gives much more information aout their attainment. See Building a Picture of What Children Can Do.

Year 6 also requires the reporting of teacher assessment, which has 50% weighting against the tests. So teacher assessment remains very important throughout the whole of a child's primary education, along with some testing. But it isn't the be all and end all, and nor should it be.

Most GCSEs have coursework attached to them, which can be likened to teacher assessment.

The few schools who only report a test result will use their wealth of teacher assessment alongside their test data to track underperformance, plan interventions, plan next steps in learning, etc. So why hide it from parents?

I understand that it isn't statutory to report any test data at all until Y6, and that teacher assessment must be reported in Y2 and Y6 - but if you are going to report anything at all to parents in the other years, why choose something that is such a small part of their learning and the tracking done at school?

Tanga Mon 12-Jul-10 20:04:24

In what way is coursework like teacher assessment?

Feenie Mon 12-Jul-10 20:07:56

In that it doesn't take place under exam conditions, and the marking is moderated.

Needaname Mon 12-Jul-10 20:17:25

I understand that it isn't statutory to report any test data at all until Y6, and that teacher assessment must be reported in Y2 and Y6 - but if you are going to report anything at all to parents in the other years, why choose something that is such a small part of their learning and the tracking done at school?

I agree Feenie but certainly in my school the test scores carry more weight so a lot of teaching to the test still happens sadly. You'll stuggle to find many teachers who think a one-off test score is accurate and most will prefer continuous assessment.

Feenie Mon 12-Jul-10 20:22:06

Of course it isn't accurate! I'm sorry it's still like that in your school - it's hard to justify after the changes in KS1 assessment years ago.

seeker Tue 13-Jul-10 09:43:39

I'm going to talk to his teacher this afternoon - I'll let you know what she says!

Feenie Tue 13-Jul-10 20:40:40

What did she say, seeker?

seeker Tue 13-Jul-10 22:35:24

She said that he did a near perfect test - and on the strength of the test and his class work she considered giving him 4As. But she doesn't think that it would be good for him to go into year 5 on a 4A - it would be too easy for him to coast and for his teacher to let him coast. She reckoned that a 4b means that he has something to aim for. So she marked hard and came up with a 4b. Not sure I understand - or am convinced. Need to think about it further.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Jul-10 22:38:33

So much for objective testing...

choccyp1g Tue 13-Jul-10 22:48:11

This sounds a bit like the conversation I had with DS teacher. She said, well 4a is the most they can get in year 4, but in year 5, we are allowed to mark them higher, so he'll be expected to get a 5 next year.

But he is already capable of a 5, so if she thinks we'll be pleased with a 5c in a year's time she is making a big mistake.

I know the scores are only a snapshot, opinion, teachers assessment etc. but if the school wilfully lies about them, then what is the bl**dy point?

seeker Wed 14-Jul-10 05:48:43

She wasn't actually lying about it - she just said she marked the very able ones harder because she expected more of them. She also said that they aren't allowed to set year 4s sthe "next test up" becuae the content could be inappropriate for their age group.

primarymum Wed 14-Jul-10 07:25:52

Innapropriate content! We're talking Optional SATs papers here, not Playboy! The Yr 5 Optional Reading Sats is all about dragonflies and carnivals, neither particularly racey topics I wouldn't have thought! She is talking rubbishgrin

Feenie Wed 14-Jul-10 09:14:01

And why isn't she using teacher assessment anyway, seeker? What about the level of work which she sets him and his next steps - is she going to cap those at a 4b/4a too?

4a is the most they can get in the Y4 test, but is not the most they can get in a teacher assessment, or the most their work should be set at. Ridiculous.

seeker Wed 14-Jul-10 10:15:59

You know, this is such an eye-opener for me! If I, a middle aged, educated, articulate person with no worries about confronting authority figures can find this so hard, what the hell chance of most of the parents at the school have of finding out what's going on with thie children?

drivinmecrazy Wed 14-Jul-10 10:27:04

My DD1 is yr4. Her maths group was told after easter hols that they had achieved level 4B and would not be able to progress any further this year angry. This has seemed to happen every year at easter, she achieves a certain level then spends a term coasting.
I have given up caring about how they assess her. She now goes to a tutor for 11plus work and is able to work to her ability and loves it. Just a shame have to spend £20 a week to get her the attention she deserves.
Schools attitude is she will achieve level 5 in yr6 so why worryhmm
Really did not appreciate becoming a parent would mean we have to fight so hard to get the education our children deserve

singersgirl Wed 14-Jul-10 10:56:51

I know this happens at our school, but officially it doesn't. I've been told (off the record) by a teacher that they're not allowed to assess at level 4 in Y3 any more, for example, because of the value add. I told DH at the start of this year what levels DS2 would get on his report at the end of the year, and lo, it has come to pass.

I don't actually believe the levels reported of him - I think he's higher in at least a couple of areas. He is doing work at a higher level too.

choccyp1g Wed 14-Jul-10 13:49:56

Singersgirl, at least your DS is doing the higher level work. My DS (and several others in his group) just complete the easy stuff, then sit there chatting. It mortifies me to think he and his mates are allowed to distract other children because the teachers won't give the top group harder work. (ot simply force them to sit in silence)
From comparing notes with a few other mums, the range of grades in his maths class (which is the top half of the two form year) goes from his 4a (5 really!) down to 2b. So it ranges from an average 7yo to an average 11yo. I do have some sympathy for the teachers, but I get fed up of hearing about different work for different tables, as in my experience, for maths it just isn't happening.

choccyp1g Wed 14-Jul-10 13:50:48

Singersgirl, at least your DS is doing the higher level work. My DS (and several others in his group) just complete the easy stuff, then sit there chatting. It mortifies me to think he and his mates are allowed to distract other children because the teachers won't give the top group harder work. (ot simply force them to sit in silence)
From comparing notes with a few other mums, the range of grades in his maths class (which is the top half of the two form year) goes from his 4a (5 really!) down to 2b. So it ranges from an average 7yo to an average 11yo. I do have some sympathy for the teachers, but I get fed up of hearing about different work for different tables, as in my experience, for maths it just isn't happening.

choccyp1g Wed 14-Jul-10 13:51:20

Sorry for double post.

primarymum Wed 14-Jul-10 16:23:46

That range is nothing really, my yr 5's go from a 6b to a 2c in maths and from a 5A to a 1A in reading and I only have 11 of them! So sorry, but you need to go and have a discussion with the class teacher about what will be done to ensure your child achieves their full potential THIS YEAR and if you are not happy with the answer you get, talk to the Head.

seeker Wed 14-Jul-10 16:51:27

My ds's year 4 class has P scales to 4A - I really take my hat off to teachers - even though I complain about them!

choccyp1g Wed 14-Jul-10 22:41:15

primarymum.. Yes the range is not that amazing, but it does mean the teachers need to provide differing work for them. Obviously you are doing that in your class, but our school seems not do it for numeracy.
It is generally a good school, and I am happy with it on the whole, but I think they feel that for maths, "setting" across the year is enough differentiation.
Since receiving DS annual report, I have used the feedback form to make a formal response, and should get a reply in the next couple of days. But last year I had the same sort of conversation and was assured that maths work would be set appropriately. It hasn't been.
Funnily enough, I suspect some children would have the same issues with literacy work. (DS is in top group, but nowhere near as able as some of the others). However, with literacy, the able ones will tend to write more and better of their own accord, whereas with maths, (working off a lot of worksheets) the tendency is to do the sums and then stop. I wish they'd provide more open-ended stuff in maths. At home, DS will just work things out for himself, but in school the temptation to chat is too much for a bunch of 9yos.

primarymum Thu 15-Jul-10 07:27:11

We are condidering setting across Key Stage 2 for maths ( not as bad as it sounds, we only have 2 mixed age classes and 53 children between them which we will be able to split into 3 classes for maths-the Head will teach one.)I will take a Top set of 23 so that means my range should shrink to those children working from a 3B to a 6B. However I will still have 4 differentiated groups in this set, all will need work appropriate to their needs ( and my two level 6 children will need extension and enrichment work on top of that!). Setting across a year or even more is no excuse for not differentiating further, ALL children need to have work set which stretches them, not some mythical "average child" So keep plugging away at your DS teacher, she/he needs to get it right!

seeker Thu 15-Jul-10 08:04:43

We have setting from year 4 - which has worked well. But there's a new Head starting in September who doesn't like setting, so we will see what happens then!

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