4As in Yr4 - how unusual?

(242 Posts)
SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 15-Mar-13 07:15:28

I went to parents' evening yesterday. We've recently moved our 8yo son because we knew he was bright and felt he was underperforming and our decision appears to have been vindicated! After predicting a 3a for him by the end of the year after their initial assessments, they have now assessed him as 4a for maths, and 4b for English, and reckon he will improve to 4a by the end of the year if he continues to focus and improve as he is doing.

Obviously this is good! grin I was just wondering how good. Are they the kind of levels you would expect the top children in a yr4 class to be achieving? Or is it more exceptional than that. I'm vaguely considering scholarships but don't want to push him if he is just averagely outstanding, if such a thing exists!

mrz Fri 15-Mar-13 07:33:50

Level 4 remains the "expected" level for the end of Key Stage 2 but with increased pressure on schools to ensure that children achieve level 5 or even level 6 in Y6 level 4 and level 5 in y4 is becoming much more common.

MirandaWest Fri 15-Mar-13 07:37:28

My DS is in year 4 and is pretty bright but not exceptional at all. He is at 4c/4b level according to his teacher at the moment. His school has quite a few high achievers - I'd say he was definitely in the top part of the class but not at the very top.

So I'd say definitely achieving well but not exceptional. Although I do tend to play down what both DC do (am obviously very proud of them both)

ds is in year 1 and has a couple of 2a's so i would hope he would have level 4's 3 years on from now.

they're expected to leave year one with an average of 1bs and year 2 with 2b's so i would have thought 4's in year 4 was normal for an able child. best to ignore 'averages'.

SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 15-Mar-13 07:52:55

Thanks! So is it a question of the levels being 'dumbed down' or are children simply being pushed harder?

swallowedAfly, it's not quite that simple. 4a is officially the expected achievement at the end of year 6! see here

lljkk Fri 15-Mar-13 08:01:30

I think that puts him on course for 6c at end of y6, which is probably exceptional regardless of what you read on MN. But recall kids aren't robots and he might plateau in ability before then.

ChasingSquirrels Fri 15-Mar-13 08:17:14

DS is current yr5, I have just looked at his yr4 report and he got a 5b in Maths, if I recall correctly that was based on doing the yr6 SAT papers.
He is going to do the yr6 level 6 SAT paper after the year 6's have done it to see what they need to work on with him next year.
He is an able mathematician, in context he is slightly ahead of his most able yr6 peers in a mixed yr5/6 class.

His English levels were;
Speaking & listening: 4
Reading: 4a
Writing: 4c (which I personally think was overstated, and at parents evening this week they said 4c again - given his progress one of them is wrong, I think the former).

He is a very bright boy, but what % he would be in his age group I have no idea.

Level 4's in yr4 is clearly above average fir the age, what you do with that is another question!

I would say definitely well above average, but a 4A in Y4 doesn't differentiate between the very able and the super-able.

chickensaladagain Fri 15-Mar-13 08:21:07

The top group in my dd's primary are getting level 4s in year 4 so yes bright but not exceptional

You must be really pleased he is doing so well in his new class smile

Level3at6months Fri 15-Mar-13 08:22:46

Above average, but not so exceptional that you'd want to get carried away by how clever he might be yet.

Level3at6months Fri 15-Mar-13 08:24:09

Sorry, that sounds a really miserable reply. Well done to him, and hope he keeps the interest up.

but that's the average. exceeding the average is hardly a massive big deal. the average includes ALL children - those with literacy based learning difficulties, those who attend school once a week due to illness/disability etc, those who will potentially come out of school without any qualifications. an average necessarily means some will do much better some will do much worse.

if you have an able child and are an involved parent you'd want to be sorely disappointed with 4a at the end of year 6 because it would likely mean the school had done bugger all with your child.

my son touching on level 2's in year 1 - once his writing (fine motor skills and ability to concentrate instead of rush to get his ideas out basically) is improved those will be secure. is he a rocket scientist? no, of course not. he just had 4 years of one on one interaction with an educated parent and no learning disabilities or barriers in his way.

of course he's going to be doing better than children who haven't had 4 years at home with a qualified teacher before going to school! that average includes the children of parents without literacy skills themselves and children who've been through hell and back during their early developmental years, children for whom english is not their first language or the language spoken at home etc.

i'd be worried if he wasn't well above average.

just ensure the school are still extending and pushing your child rather than going well they're ok we can stick them in the corner and ignore them. you want to look at how much progress is being made each year rather than obsess too much about how they compare to others.

SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 15-Mar-13 08:58:33

OK, thanks all. Clearly he's good, but he's not necessarily spectacularly so. The main thing is to keep him focussed and hope he progresses further. They're talking about putting him in for level 6 SATs so I think they have the measure of him.

sittinginthesun Fri 15-Mar-13 11:13:49

I think you should be proud of him. smile
I have just received levels for my ds1, also year 4. He's a 4a for reading and writing (teacher hoping for 5c by end of year, but thinks it may be but too much of challenge), and 5c for maths.

To me, the most important thing is that the school love him, and he loves school. They've got him sussed, he trusts them, I trust them, and so he's blossoming.

Bakingnovice Fri 15-Mar-13 11:29:12

My ds is in yr 3 and is currently 4b and expected to finish the year at 4a. He's very bright but to be honest I do expect him to stagnate somewhere alOng the line. The most important thing for me at primary level is that he's happy, and making friends as although my ds is bright he does struggle with making new friends. Your dc is obviously very bright.

lljkk Fri 15-Mar-13 11:55:35

I guess it depends how you define exceptional or spectacular.
Level 4a puts him on course for 6c at end of y6.
L6 end of y6 puts him in the top 3% for math & top 0.5% for English.
What words you use to describe top 0.5-3% is subjective, I guess.

redskyatnight Fri 15-Mar-13 12:11:52

I'm amazed at some of these replies.
There is ONE child in DS's Y4 year group (120 children) working at 4a in maths and no one in his class at that level in English.

I would say that 4As in Y4 put him in the top very few percent of the year group.
Do people really have a whole set working at this level?

i don't know redsky. tbh i doubt mn'ers are representative of the population iyswim. maybe we're inclined to brighter kids? confused

i am maybe underestimating ds touching level 2's in year one with more than a term still to go so hopefully secure level 2's by the end of the year - the teacher didn't seem that amazed so i didn't think it was that unusual. it would mean 3's at this point in year 2 so 4's in year doesn't sound that outlandish to me.

i may be a bit out of touch but it may also be my attitude that i don't like to hype things up too much and keep in mind that kids develop at different rates and assuming he may be a bit ahead now due to starting at school ahead but may slow down later.

IS it that unusual? should i think level 2's in year one means something significant?

PatriciaHolm Fri 15-Mar-13 12:31:19

We would have a good group of children at that level yes, but this (as swallowedafly says) is a school in an affluent area, lots of parental support and involvement all the way through, with high expectations from school and parents; children who don't get that support are the exception rather than the rule. DD is on track to get 4Bs by end Y4, and I know she isn't exceptional; there will be 10-15 kids in her year (60) get that I expect, and 3-4 will exceed it. Other schools may have none,, perhaps if they have a more challenging intake or parents who are less supportive.

i'm now worrying that maybe i haven't grasped how well ds is doing grin but would it matter?

i personally cannot truly believe that how a child is performing at 5 or 6 or 7 years of age is really a hugely accurate indicator of their abilities.

thanks pat - my gut feeling is aside from special needs and other barriers all that's really being assessed at this stage in a child's education is parental involvement.

whether you can read/write/learn spellings etc is a test on your parents rather than you. they are pretty mechanical skills in many ways that have either been taught and practiced or not.

PatriciaHolm Fri 15-Mar-13 12:35:19

Here Level 2s in Y1 would be good but again not exceptional. For example, 43% of our Y2s get Level 3+ in maths at end Yr2; so you would imagine most of them would be on Level 2s at the end of Y1. 51% of our Y6s are Level 5+ in maths at end year.

ibizagirl Fri 15-Mar-13 12:38:29

It is unusual but not unheard of. Dd very bright and got 4A for her year 3 sats in English and maths. She got 5A in year 4, 5 and 6 (there was no level 6 then). She went to high school and did her gcse in year 7 and got A* at 11. You might find this happen with your son. Good luck and best wishes.

Chandon Fri 15-Mar-13 12:42:27

I think it is pretty amazing, for what it's worth.

So go for those scholarships etc.

blimey takes more than that for a scholarship.

you need to be ace at music and/or sports on top of academic ability from what i've read and been told.

rabbitstew Fri 15-Mar-13 12:56:31

Last time I looked, SATs tests were not intelligence tests. So far as I'm concerned, his results are outstanding if at the school he is attending, that is outstanding. It is that school which is teaching him what he needs to know in order to tick the right boxes to satisfy particular levels, after all - and his parents.
As for scholarships, you can have academic scholarships for pure brilliance in entrance exams, music scholarships if you enter your child for one specifically, or sports scholarships if your child is a brilliant sportsman. They do not expect children to be hogging all 3 types of scholarship for themselves - that would be greedy!

and you think this would qualify as 'pure brilliance' material?

CURIOUSMIND Fri 15-Mar-13 14:00:16

I found this: www.devon.gov.uk/fostering-national-curriculum-levels.pdf , thought it explained nicely.

binkybonk Fri 15-Mar-13 14:11:00

As a primary teacher can I just say... Step away from the levels. What a royal crock of shit they are.
I teach out of the country now (thank god) but still in a UK curriculum school. Most children at this school achieve L3 in English and maths at the end of Y2. (FYI the 'expectation' nationally is for them to reach L4 at the end of Y6, it is not a level per year, although similar to the introduction of A* etc, L5 is the new L4) Parents here are OBSESSED with levels and think it is an indicator of intelligence, which of course it was intended to be... But it's not now, they've become corrupted and prepped for for years now not just that awful term in Y6. Poor kidlets, jumping through hoops instead of learning how to learn and to develop their own knowledge and interests. confusedconfusedconfused
Anyway, little rant over.
Your DS is doing really well at school- well done him grin what a superstar, he deserves serious high fives for that grin
put him in for the scholarships if you think he'd have a lovely time at the other schools. You know him better than any level wink

cassgate Fri 15-Mar-13 14:16:03

DD year 4 is at 4bs across the board. This was before half term and her teacher predicted 4a/5c by end of year 4. The teacher said they would be looking at level 5 stuff after easter. There is a small group of about 5 children (including dd) in the class all around this level. Teacher said that dd is one of those who should go on to get level 6s at end of year 6.

Amphitrite Fri 15-Mar-13 14:19:05

My DD3, now in Y6 was level 4a for reading and writing and 4b for maths at the end of year 4. She is high level 5 now and expected to get L6 in English and possibly Maths in her KS2 SATS. I would say she is in the top 20% of her year group. I think at Y4 it is really early to tell but what do you mean by 'push him'. Surely, whatever his eventual achievement you would be encouraging to work hard and do his best? Genius is 90% perspiration after all! Setting up a good work ethic and an enthusiasm for learning in Y4 is a far greater predictor for ultimate academic success than any amount of so-called 'ability'.

Farewelltoarms Fri 15-Mar-13 14:47:34

Blimey my son's clearly a right loser in comparison to all these others...
And there was me thinking he was doing quite well.
Note to self: step away from threads asking questions about sats levels or relative brilliance.
a) OP in such cases might be being a wee bit disingenuous
b) all those replying will firmly tell OP that actually L6 in yr1 is completely normal and actually distinctly average.

In terms of where to go from here, I would encourage reading a wide range of books, including some children's classics if he's up for that. This will increase his vocabulary which will boost his writing and provide a good foundation for secondary selection tests in Y6 if that's the route you choose to take.

In Y4 and Y5, DS2 enjoyed reading books like the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, the Ingo series, The Hobbit, The Mouse and His Child, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Water Babies, Tarka the Otter and Swallows & Amazons.

Oh, and The Neverending Story and The Last Unicorn.

ByTheWay1 Fri 15-Mar-13 15:07:44

I saw a quote recently on facebook shock that sums it up nicely....

"Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child."

much nicer to think of learning like that than by comparing to others or to "levels" all the time.

My girls have developed in their own particular way at their own particular times, they have at times raced ahead of their peers, at other times they have plodded along the way - but with our support, encouragement and praise for good effort, they are able to shine at different times in different subjects/hobbies.

caffeinated Fri 15-Mar-13 15:07:54

Here those that are secure level2 at end of year 1 are those who generally will get level 3 end of year 2. At our school that's 50% across the board so not really special at all.

ooh never thought of reading the neverending story - we love the film and the series.

mind you ds has just turned 6 and is still loving having the faraway tree read to him.

i'm not saying the OPs child is average at all btw - don't think anyone was. i was merely pointing out that the expected levels etc are about averages and include everyone therefore if you have an able child getting good support at home of course they should be doing better than average.

rabbitstew Fri 15-Mar-13 15:35:29

swallowedAfly - I wouldn't use SATs results to assess ANY kind of brilliance. There is a huge difference between brilliance and doing well or even incredibly well in SATs... You just have to look at what is being looked for to get particular levels in SATs and it has nothing to do with brilliance...

SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 15-Mar-13 15:54:25

I hope I'm not being disengenuous. I know these are just figures plucked out of the blue, but I'm genuinely interested as to whether these levels show genuine potential or are just averagely good. I know that children develop at different potentials with different plateaus and peaks, I was just hoping for a guideline, which I think I now have. He is somewhere between 'just above average' and 'just below Einstein'! If we were to contemplate scholarships, 'pure briliance' would be all we would have to go on as sports and music are a wash-out!

Thanks for the input, one and all!

mrz Fri 15-Mar-13 16:58:42

I'm afraid you need to accept the "above average" but recognise he is
" considerably below Einstein" in ability I'm afraid.

all it tells you is above average and as i've said 'average' is the sum total of non english speakers, children in care, low attenders, children from illiterate homes, children with severe SEN and everyone else.

he's doing well. as he should be for an able child with supportive parents. his grades reflect: no SEN, involved parents and reasonable teaching.

RaisinBoys Fri 15-Mar-13 17:03:56

What did parents talk about before they were routinely notified about levels?

4A/4B is very good at this stage. Your DS is very bright and will achieve very well by the end of his primary school career.

Is he exceptional? Yes! All children, in my humble opinion, are exceptional, if by that you mean special and outstanding.

If he's happy, stimulated, challenged and motivated too, then he's a very lucky boy.

Incidentally secondaries routinely assess very early in Y7. Perhaps they take primary levels with a pinch of salt!

just to make that clearer - if he had those things (english speaker, involved parents, no SEN, reasonable teaching etc) and was only performing at the national average that would likely tell you they weren't doing great. if all those things and performing under average i'd be genuinely concerned and looking for what on earth was the issue re: undiagnosed SEN, unhappy at school, eyesight/hearing whatever type issues.

i would say no he isn't average but it's probably about average for a child with the said things (no SEN, involved parents, reasonable teaching etc).

it means that hopefully your child should have no significant problems or barriers set in stone to achieving good educational outcomes. of course new barriers can arise but there's nothing set in stone from the outset likely to hold them back and they're starting out on a solid footing.

for me what comes next is ensuring the school are stretching and extending and not letting 'cruise control' kick in whilst focusing on less able kids and ensuring ds knows that he has to work hard and keep moving forward because luck of basic ability and being a bit further ahead than others will not carry you anywhere without work, enthusiasm and a desire to do your best. then watch and wait.

absolutely raisin - i was a secondary teacher and the levels primary schools claimed they had attained and the actual levels often bore little in common. all subject teachers did an informal assessment or formal in september because we knew we couldn't take primary school reporting too seriously.

i had kids who actually weren't even a secure level 3 coming in at year 7 with claims from primary that they were level 5.

i preferred cats to get a clue of who was in my class and what kind of support/extension etc that they would need. mine was a literacy based subject in many ways and the 'v' scores were the best indicators i found.

MirandaWest Fri 15-Mar-13 17:11:50

My sister was performing at below average levels until year 5 when she suddenly blossomed. Then later on she studied at Cambridge.

I was precocious - could read chapter books before starting school, very competent at maths etc. Didnt exactly stagnate but wasnt as good at A Levels or degree. We both had same parents and same input but were very different in terms of what we achieved and when at school.

TheSmallPrint Fri 15-Mar-13 17:20:26

It's definitely a good grade for his age. My DS was 4Cs at the end of year 3 but actually dropped in his reading and writing this year due to laziness so it can change (he did go up in maths though). The highest I have heard in his year (Yr 4) is a 5b for reading which I think's pretty amazing for an 8yo.

yeah i had a friend on my postgrad course who'd been held back a year at primary level because they thought she was (in those days terms not mine) sub-normal. she was one of the brightest people i've met, studied at oxford and believed being held back a year was the best thing that ever happened to her as she got some time and some experience of being near the top rather than at the bottom of the class and blossomed from there.

developmental patterns are different from person to person.

I have 32 in my year 4 class. I've got three of them at 4A for Maths (and a 5A!), six at 4A or higher for Writing and seven 4A of higher for Reading.

I also have five working at 1B / 1A / 2C in all subjects. Love differentiating for my class!

pointythings Fri 15-Mar-13 18:28:20

I think SATs do distort things enormously, and I do take levels with a grain of salt. This is also why I refused to do SATs revision at home with DD1 last year, and will be refusing again with DD2 next year.

Your son is bright and doing well, and that's great. And if your DS enjoys school that's even better.

rabbitstew Fri 15-Mar-13 18:33:54

swallowedAfly - I think only about 75% of children reach the "expected level" or above at the end of year 6, don't they? Leaving 25% of children not reaching that level. So, the average is surely just that - the average, not something corrupted by hoardes of neglected children with SEN and unaffected by the upper middle class children in favourable catchment areas with extremely involved parents?!!.... You have a rather unusual view of what average means.

rabbitstew Fri 15-Mar-13 18:39:53

What scope within SATs is there for the unusual thinker to show their unusual abilities??? I would have thought it was fairly limited, wasn't it? Otherwise there wouldn't be so much time spent at primary school making children aware of what their "next steps" are to achieve the next level and what criteria they need to fulfil to reach that next level - eg pop more adjectives/connectives/adverbs/metaphors/ paragraphs, etc, into their writing...? SATs really are tiresomely linear in the way they assess children - no scope whatsoever for doing fair measurements on children who develop in a non-linear way or have any spark about them...

RaisinBoys Fri 15-Mar-13 18:57:01

well said rabbit!

average means everyone's scores added together and divided by the number of scores in the usual sense of the word.

so of course yes that includes ALL students and of course one would expect children without SEN or other obstacles to learning and with involved literate parents to be above average.

how would that be an 'unusual' view? confused

imo a child with 'spark' about them will be able to sparky AND perform for a sat test.

rabbitstew Fri 15-Mar-13 20:00:54

Averages usually exclude the extremes and there is more than one way of assessing an average - you are talking about a mean average. Is that how it is calculated? I don't think the government has ever been that scientific or mathematical in its expectations - its expectations actually seem to be plucked out of the air and changed at a whim. "Expected levels" therefore, imo, have little to do with any idea of what an "average" child should be like.

And yes, it is an unusual view to expect all children to be above average unless they have SEN or other obstacles to learning (which imo would include uninvolved, illiterate parents...). Even in IQ terms, the average IQ can be between 90 and 110 - that's quite a big range. One SATs level does not an average child make, anyway.

As for children with spark - Einstein always had a spark when it came to maths and science, but I think his languages and arts subjects let him down... and I doubt he would have wanted to waste his time artificially fitting in more connectives into his sentences once he felt he had adequately communicated his meaning, either.

not sure that's unusual and no way to define that. seems common sense to me that an able child without learning difficulties, sen, etc and with involved literate parents should be performing above average when the sum total includes everyone without that baseline advantage. seems common sense rather than 'unusual'.

if you have sent your child into school at an above average start then you'd expect them to still be above average a few years later.

sen, esol, non literate backgrounds etc are not the 'extreme' you seem to think they are ime but very common. as are uninvolved parents (never mentioned class personally) be it disinterested, unable, too busy. ill, caring for elderly relatives or disabled siblings or whatever else.

rabbitstew Fri 15-Mar-13 22:59:35

But swallowedAfly, you are now talking about an able child without learning difficulties. It stands to reason that an able child is above average, or they wouldn't be described as able... that doesn't mean that it stands to reason that a child with an IQ of 90 (within the average) will be doing better than the expected level just because their parents are literate and involved, unless by involved you mean interested in SATs levels and how to ensure their child does well in them, which is not everyone's idea of how to involve themselves in their children's development.

DD1 got level 3s in y1, 4s in y3 and 5s in year 5 (and y6 as no level 6 test then). She's now in y11 and on course for a rack of A*s.

As a teacher, I've had a third of a y2 class finish on level 3, and I've had only 10% at that level. My current y1s include 9 children who are already level 2 and a few who will definitely be at level 2 by the summer. However, I only have one White British child and 95% EAL.

but 'able' MEANS without barriers or learning difficulties to me. it is the opposite of 'dis'-abled. if a child has nothing to hold them back and is being measured against those that do then of course they should come out above average. able doesn't mean genius or anything it means lucky you your brain is fully functional and you have no disabilities or learning difficulties holding you back. that's all. nothing remarkable.

i would say an IQ of 90 was a barrier. but you're back to saying 'within average' which is circular - average includes people with brain injuries, severe mental disabilties etc so again you'd be above average if you didn't have any of those barriers. my whole point has been that comparing yourself/your child to 'average' is not helpful. an average of children with english as a first language, no relevant SEN, good school attendance and no distracting traumas going on would tell you more about how your child was doing i guess but we don't have that data - we have data that includes many, many children who have much lower results for very understandable reasons.

those are fab results you're getting postmanpat.

having been a teacher and seen how mixed ability teaching can pan out my concern educationally with ds is just making sure that he's not ignored and left unchallenged. sitting on your laurels being told you're fine doesn't prepare you for having to work hard and keep improving further down the line.

people might think levels are a nonsense and why should parents care but realistically they are the way that you know your child's teacher is on the ball, has the measure of your child, knows where they're at and where they are heading towards and has a strategy for how to make that happen. your child's progress in levels tell you that the school is 'adding' to their skills which when you're sending them there for 6 hours a day you'd want to think they were.

it's not which particular level they're at it's that their level is known and they're progressing to the next one. it's about the value added rather than just the numbers. i don't agree we need national sats etc but teachers need to know and be able to discuss what level your child is at.

sittinginthesun Sat 16-Mar-13 08:32:11

I know, from our last parents' consultation, and also my discussions with the head as a governor, that they are far more concerned about progress than actual levels. So DS1's levels are less important than the fact he is still progressing at a good rate.

Also, I do think it's a bit like piano grades. It's one thing to teach to the test, learn the grade pieces and stuff, and get a pass. It's another thing to be genuinely rounded and at that level, and therefore pass a grade.

I know there is a lot of box ticking etc, but if a child is genuinely working at a level, being stretched to the top of their ability, is self motivated to do it, and is actually comfortable and not stressed about it, then I personally think that's the best it can be. If I had a child who was all those things, but average level wise, then I would still be happy that the school was doing its job well.

lljkk Sat 16-Mar-13 08:48:37

Only on MN would someone claim that the typical child should have well above average test marks, unless their parental support is truly pants (always the parents' fault, innit?)

For that matter, there are those who claim that all NT children should be working 2+ levels above NC targets if only they were HE'd.

that's a total over simplification of what i've said and i never said anything about 'pants parental support' and blaming the parents. i actually talked about parents who were unable to support either through their own literacy issues, being carers for elderly/disabled relatives, or whatever else.

if height measurements included people with dwarfism and spinal degenerative diseases of all kinds one would expect a person without those conditions to be above average height. how is that rocket science?

i wouldn't have thought it was rocket science to suggest that one on one education would see quicker progress than 1:30 either confused if the '1's in the equation were equal.

AllPurposeNortherner Sat 16-Mar-13 08:55:56

It is very good, but not 'matilda' level. Well done to your son, he is oing really well grin

redskyatnight Sat 16-Mar-13 10:19:09

I think it's an oversimplification to say that a child with no SEN and involved supportive educated family will always be above average at primary level.

DD has a friend - her parents both have degrees and her father is an academic. They read regularly at home, make sure she does her homework, help her in areas she finds difficult and work with school to see where they can additionally support at home. she has no SEN. She "should" be doing "above average" but she isn't - despite parents best efforts she is performing consistently below average. And that's just one example of a child I happen to know well.

Arbitrarily deciding that this sort of child "should" be working above average means you are indirectly casting blame on the parents or the school ... whilst failing to realise that children don't fit into nice boxes.

oh an exception? well that's proved it then grin

i think the fact that her parents are trying so hard to work out what the 'issue' is and work with the school rather proves my point that people expect children with no barriers and good support to be performing above average and scout around for a cause when they are not.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 11:16:39

swallowedAfly - it's fairly obvious you don't teach a science or maths subject... perhaps you had better admit you don't understand height charts, weight charts, intelligence tests or how the averages you are talking about are calculated.... You won't find anyone telling you your child has a learning disability if they have an IQ score of between 90 and 110 with no odd spikes in the profile - you will be told your child is of average ability. And perhaps you had better look up what "able" means in the dictionary.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 11:23:06

"National Curriculum tests are a measurement of achievement against the precise attainment targets of the National Curriculum rather than any generalised concept of ability in any of the subject areas. The National Curriculum standards have been designed so that most pupils will progress by approximately one level every two years. This means that by the end of Key Stage 2 (age 11), pupils are expected to achieve Level 4"

Level 4 isn't "average" it is the expected level for MOST children ...

RaisinBoys Sat 16-Mar-13 11:24:58

but 'able' MEANS without barriers or learning difficulties to me. it is the opposite of 'dis'-abled.

That is not the definition of an 'able child' in an educational context swallowedAfly. There is many an able child who has a barrier to learning.

A good school works in partnership with the pupil and the parents to enable that child's learning so that they continue to progress and are challenged, inspired and motivated.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 11:33:57

"The percentages of pupils achieving above the expected level, Level 5 or above, in the 2011 Key Stage 2 tests by subject are as follows:

English 29 per cent (down 3 percentage points from 33 per cent in 2010)
Reading 43 per cent (down 8 percentage points from 50 per cent in 2010)
Writing 20 per cent (down 1 percentage point from 21 per cent in 2010)
Mathematics 35 per cent (up 1 percentage point from 34 per cent in 2010)

so about a third of pupils nationally will be working at a similar level to the OPs child.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 11:46:34

Of course level 4 has very little to do with ability. Hence SATs being a rather ineffective way of measuring whether someone is bright enough to get a scholarship into a selective school - someone on a level 4 in year 4 in a class of children all working considerably below that level may be considerably brighter than a child working at a level 5 in year 4 in a class of children where everyone is working at that level.

How level 4 was come up with as the "expected level" is anyone's guess, so far as I can tell - it must have related to some kind of perceived norm, or, as I have already suggested, a governmental whim.... as for "MOST" children - that is pretty meaningless, as it can mean anything over 50%. I think nationally around 75% get at least a level 4, don't they? Leaving a substantial minority who don't. And the advertised point of SATs when they first came out was to check up on the teachers, not the kids, so why people are pronouncing their views about whether a child is capable of getting a scholarship into a school on the back of their year 4 SATs levels, I don't know...

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 11:51:59

The percentages of pupils in all schools achieving the expected level, level 4 or above, in the 2012 Key Stage 2 headline measures are as follows:
English 85 per cent (not comparable to previous years)
Mathematics 84 per cent (up 4 percentage points from 80 per cent in 2011) Both English and mathematics 79 per cent (not comparable to previous years)

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 11:57:59

The percentages of pupils in all schools achieving the expected level, level 4 or above, in the 2012 Key Stage 2
all schools includes maintained Special schools

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 12:10:40

What percentage of children go to maintained special schools?...

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 12:11:49

And what have special schools got to do with expected levels, given that expected levels are nothing to do with ability or, apparently, averages?

Forget about the levels and get used to focusing on what children achieve at each key stage. The NC levels are being scrapped.

New programmes of study for 2014 here. No mention of levels whatsoever and we all need to start getting our heads round this.

Feenie Sat 16-Mar-13 12:26:08

Good.

Feenie Sat 16-Mar-13 12:32:39

From the new English curriculum:

All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to read and write fluently and confidently, are, in every sense, disenfranchised.

It's punctuated correctly, of course, but what kind of clumsy sentence construction is that? hmm

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 12:32:42

no but it has to do with the percentage of pupils achieving a level 4 or above ... the percentage achieving this is much higher than you suggested.

the odd really rude poster on this thread.

mrz - exactly ALL means ALL.

if average IQ = 100 and that is the average of everyone including those born with brain damage, severe learning disabilities etc then yes i would see having an IQ of 90 as being a disadvantage and a barrier to learning.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 13:12:58

But mrz, it is not much higher than I suggested - only 79% of children achieve a level 4 or above in English and Maths. I suggested it was 75%.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 13:14:25

swallowedAfly - that is not what average IQ means and educational psychologists would not view an IQ of 90 as being a barrier to learning. They would view it as having an average IQ.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 13:16:16

swallowedAfly - do you remember studying the mean, median and mode when learning about averages????....

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 13:20:55

and it doesn't alter the fact that nationally approx a third of all children are working at a similar level to the OPs child

Taffeta Sat 16-Mar-13 13:22:51

I don't know. I really don't know. How do people know what other children in the year are achieving unless they are teachers?

DS is Y4, he was at 4a for Maths at parents evening in Nov, and got a 4 for reading in a recent assessment, but otherwise I've no idea.

He is very sporty. Is exceptional at football, cricket and tennis. Scholarships had never entered my head as I assume they are for the tremendously gifted?

i don't give a toss about how an educational psychologist would see it - this is a thread on mn where opinions are being exchanged. imo an IQ of 90 is a barrier to educational success - of course it is!

yep mrz - likely the third who have no SEN, no disablities, health issues etc and have had some degree of support and encouragement from home.

taffeta i think they're for the tremondously driven to be honest. two children with good ability and a bit of natural talent will end up with differing levels of 'excellence' depending on personality, interest etc and whether their parents push and pay for the lessons etc. different with the very rare mozart level genius but that is exceedingly rare.

Taffeta Sat 16-Mar-13 13:46:48

Yes I can imagine that swallowed. Not for DS methinks. smile

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 13:48:05

I've never viewed scholarships as being for the tremendously gifted, because I was offered one, my dh went through private schools on full scholarships and it has been suggested to us that we ought to be approaching schools seeking scholarships for our ds1. I don't think his SATs levels at school are sky high for his age, although they are obviously considerably higher than the "expected" level.

Farewelltoarms Sat 16-Mar-13 14:00:23

Really mrz - a third of all children are working at a 4a midway through y4? That would suggest huge amounts getting sixes by end.
That sounds v high. My kids' school gets pretty good results at ks2 and I was told my son was pretty much at top with a couple of others and was only 4c at Xmas.
Are they falling short? Are they a particularly low achieving cohort (v mixed inner city school but disproportionate no of Oxbridge etc parents)? Or does the school measure in stricter way?

lljkk Sat 16-Mar-13 14:03:11

I can't understand why MRZ said that, either.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 14:04:33

Yes really Farewelltoarms as that would equate to the 30-35% achieving level 5 or above in Y6 which are the official DfE figures

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 14:05:42

A level 4A in Y4 does not equate to level 6 in Y6 Farewelltoarms ... good progress would be a full level over TWO years ie Y4-Y6.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 14:06:28

"The percentages of pupils achieving above the expected level, Level 5 or above, in the 2011 Key Stage 2 tests by subject are as follows:

English 29 per cent (down 3 percentage points from 33 per cent in 2010)
Reading 43 per cent (down 8 percentage points from 50 per cent in 2010)
Writing 20 per cent (down 1 percentage point from 21 per cent in 2010)
Mathematics 35 per cent (up 1 percentage point from 34 per cent in 2010)

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 14:09:54

mrz - a level 4A in year 4 may not equate to level 6 in year 6 in your school, but it does in my dss' school. Possibly because children do not progress through all schools in a linear way, unless they are rigorously taught to the test all the way through, of course. Since you don't have statistics for children's levels in year 4, I think you are attempting to sound far more confident than you actually are about reality.

Coconutty Sat 16-Mar-13 14:12:27

Getting too caught up in levels is never a great idea, and worrying about what every other kids levels are isn't a good idea either.

As long as you are happy with his progress OP, and he's happy at school, that's the main thing.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 14:13:20

We are only halfway through the school year, so a 4A now should/could be a level 5 by the end of the year.

we're not halfway through the year - we're at easter. 2 levels per key stage is the expected progress. so in years 1 & 2 that is a level a year - it slows down in key stage 2. ie. a level per 2 years.

redskyatnight Sat 16-Mar-13 14:22:31

A child at 4A now may well be a 5c by the end of the year though? So assuming they finish the year at 4a/5c and then make a full level's progress over the next 2 years they will finish Y6 at 5A/6C.

mrz above quotes that roughly a third of children get level 5 or above in KS2 SATs. These won't all be at 5A or 6. I'd like to suggest it's less than 10% getting 5A/6 (don't think these results are available at a national level?) based on a statistical distribution. That would be about 2 or 3 children in a class of 30, which is about the level I was expecting. So whilst OP's son is "above average" he is rather more than "just" above average.

LaQueen Sat 16-Mar-13 14:31:10

I think it's very good, but not exceptional.

DD1 finished Yr 4, on all Level 5 Cs, for Reading/Literacy/Numeracy - she's clever, and on the top table, but she's certainly not the cleverest little girl in her class. Her levels wouldn't get her a scholarship at the local private prep school.

DD2 is predicted to finish Yr 5, on all Level 6s - so I don't know what she's actually going to do during Yr 6? But her levels put her roughly in the top 1%, so her HT tells me? So, DD2 would certainly be scholarship material at the private prep, but I am very happy with her school.

I know that children should aim to finish Yr 6, on a Level 4 - but, I just think this indicate how low our standards are, to be honest.

Having said that, the DD's school is in the top 20 in the country for SATS, and the parents are overwhelmingly middle class, highly educated professionals - which probably has a large influence on the academic ability/success of the children?

Feenie Sat 16-Mar-13 14:48:47

I'd like to suggest it's less than 10% getting 5A/6 (don't think these results are available at a national level?) based on a statistical distribution.

The percentage of children attaining level 6 in Reading last year was 0% - so less than 0.5%.
Maths was 3%.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 15:04:11

rabbitstew a level 4A in Y4 doesn't equate to a level 6 in Y6 in government statistics so your DSS school is an anomaly

Elibean Sat 16-Mar-13 15:09:18

My dd1 is in Y4 at a very mixed intake (high level EAL, average level FSM) primary in London. She is a safe 4c on everything, and is on the top tables - so I would say a 4a is very good.

She is predicted 'at least' level 5s by the end of Y6, but as for some reason levels at her school tend to have a sudden surge upwards in Y6 they are telling her to aim for level 6s confused

kilmuir Sat 16-Mar-13 15:49:29

Its good but not exceptional. DD2 was on similar levels and now in year 6 is taking level 6 sats papers but so are a few others in class. She is bright, but also quite hardworking

elibean - allegedly some school fiddle the books by under grading at lower levels so they can show a higher added value in later years when their levels suddenly go up. don't know if it is maybe to do with that?

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 16:04:23

It would appear, mrz, that on mumsnet my children's school is not so much of an anomaly! I would view a school whose results closely followed government expectations on progress all the way through every year with a certain amount of suspicion - it's all a bit neat, really, whereas children come in all shapes and sizes and mine most certainly haven't followed many of the rules of supposedly normal child development. You also have to factor into that the fact that teachers come in all shapes and sizes and what works for one child doesn't always work for another, meaning that in any year, a child may make particularly good progress with one teacher, but less with another, albeit that overall, both teachers do pretty well by their whole class.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 16:08:11

No point undergrading in any year other than year 2, as it's from those SATs results that they assess progress between years 2 and 6, so no advantage whatsoever to make year 4's results look comparatively bad, particularly for the teacher concerned in that year. What teacher wants their class's results to look BAD?

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 16:09:19

Really rabbitstew ... that isn't the impression I get.
The government doesn't have nice neat expectations for progress all the way through ever year so your suspicion needs to get a different focus.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 16:13:27

Really, mrz.... If the government doesn't have nice neat expectations, then why are you referring to government statistics projecting the levels children should reach by year 6???????

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 16:17:32

... it was you, after all, who suggested my children's school was an anomaly to get children from 4A in year 4 to level 6 in year 6, wasn't it???.....

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 16:23:45

really rabbitstew ...
statistics are based on outcomes/facts /results of previous years
expectations - belief that it should happen ...but then it may not. I have expectations that my son will tidy his room tomorrow ...but I may be disappointed.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 16:29:01

Statistics do no represent the facts for any one school, they are a collecting together of all figures, from hugely differing schools, creating something that does not represent the reality for any individual school. So you have no way of knowing how odd my children's school's results are - for all you know, there are lots of schools like my child's hidden within those statistics.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 16:32:20

I have an expectation that my child will clean out his guinea pigs tomorrow, but I know I will be disappointed if I don't nag him and know that he will do it if I nag him enough. So I guess my expectations are more confident than yours!

oh so parental involvement affects outcomes then? glad we agree on that.

and you now appear to be agreeing that 'averages' taken from whole populations are not great indicators for individual schools let alone individuals.

i get the impression you just like to argue and would wiggle all over the place to continue an argument rabbitstew. consistency doesn't seem to factor in.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 16:50:48

"Statistics do no represent the facts for any one school, they are a collecting together of all figures" exactly the data from the National Curriculum tests represent thousands of schools not just one rabbitstew and if thousands or even hundreds of schools were making a full level progress per year the NC data would be very different but that is one set of data there is much more available to schools that is not available to the public or parents.

prettydaisies Sat 16-Mar-13 16:55:33

OK - I teach year 4. I currently have 2 children who are 4a for reading and 1 child who is 4a for maths. The other class has 1 child who is 4a for reading. So in my school, your child would be doing very well. I fully expect, and will be disappointed if they don't, the children in my class to be at level 5 at the end of the year and level 6 in year 6. I'm busy teaching them what they need to know.
As an aside, about half my class are reading at level 4 and about 1/4 are working at this level in maths and in writing. These are the children who will go on to be level 5 at the end of Y6.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 17:03:00

I have access to the national and county data that is available to the school, mrz, as a school governor. I also know how other schools in the locality are doing. I think your view of the statistics is wrong. My children's school is in no way odd.

swallowedAfly - I never said parental involvement has nothing to do with it - in fact I said the contrary, that the levels do not assess ability, but input from the school and parents.... so where is the wriggling about in that? You just don't understand how the "average IQ" is assessed and it is not in the same way as the government collects data on SATs....

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 17:05:39

So, going back to what I have already said... if the child concerned is unusual in his school to have a level 4A in year 4, then he is doing extremely well, not averagely and may well be bright enough for his parents to consider scholarships.... in what way is that inconsistent, swallowedAfly????

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 17:09:55

I'm sure the parents who have children in other lacal schools will be happy for you have their child's data rabbitstew

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 17:10:15

In fact, surely you are the inconsistent one, if you hate talk about averages and think they are meaningless, yet claim that a child with involved parents MUST do better than the average. You have clearly imagined, on the basis of no data, that what is "expected" is a mean of all results ever collected by schools, and have decided that this "mean" is skewed by lots of neglected children with special needs that psychologists refuse to acknowledge as having any kind of special need.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 17:10:54

I don't have their children's names, mrz, I have their results data.

iq is on a bell curve - with 100 as the highest point - ergo 90 is below the herd and a disadvantage.

i managed to miss that you were a governor.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 17:13:53

I'm sure that will be a great comfort to them rabbitstew

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 17:15:30

I doubt, mrz, they are hugely interested.

errr no rabbit that's not what i think or assume but don't let reality stand in the way of a bit of hyperbole and being like a dog with a bone.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 17:19:53

90 is clearly not considered sufficiently disadvantaged for there to be any kind of genuine impediment to learning. So stop talking about learning disabilities...

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 17:21:53

swallowedAfly - please do explain again what you do mean, because it is unclear to me... So far I have got that you disagree with psychologists on the meaning of learning disability and average IQ, and disagree with the dictionary on the meaning of able.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 17:31:58

Perhaps because they aren't aware of the fact.

i never did call it a learning disability i said it was a disadvantage to have lower intelligence than the bulk of the population. i have literally never called it a learning disability - i don't think i've used, or would use, the term 'learning disability'. i have pointed out that i would expect children without SEN, disabilities or low IQ to do better than average in education.

i'm lost as to what you're arguing with because it shifts all the time. you accuse me of saying/believing something i don't, i point out i've never said that, you shift the argument onto the next thing.

it's an odd manner of discussing things.

my point was that i wouldn't consider performing above average to be such a big deal given the spectrum of abilities, upbringings, ability to access education etc that is out there.

i also said that children without any impediments to prevent it and with supportive family taking interest and involvement in their education were likely to be performing above average and i'd be concerned if they weren't. which i believe is what you were arguing with at one stage then seemed to agree with.

bit lost now to be honest.

LaQueen Sat 16-Mar-13 17:42:27

mrz my friend is a school governor, and has access to the statistics collected regardng all the schools in our LEA. It's hardly some huge conspiracy, that would be a national scandal if exposed hmm

lljkk Sat 16-Mar-13 17:51:03

SwallowedAFly, Do you truly believe that it's not fine for NT kids with supportive families to be about average academically? Where's the urgency, What are those parents supposed to do about it?

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 18:06:54

swallowedAfly - I'm arguing with your view that an IQ of 90 is low... You are in the majority of the population if you have an IQ of between 90 and 110 so it is wrong of you to argue that this IQ is officially "low. "

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 18:20:30

Did I suggest it was a scandal LaQueen?

LaQueen Sat 16-Mar-13 18:31:16

No mrz but you seemed to be implying that rabbit was doing something rather underhand, and that parents of children at other schools would be shocked/horrified if they knew that rabbit had access to such information regarding their children's results.

Which struck me as rather silly.

Elibean Sat 16-Mar-13 18:32:44

swallowed interesting theory, but no....apart from the fact that I'm a governor and would probably know (involved as I am) if there were fiddling going on or, indeed, individuals capable of fiddling, my dd has also had a few sessions with a tutor to catch up on some previous maths 'gaps'. Tutor agrees with school levelling, pretty much.

But I checked with dd. It's actually not the school teacher, but the volunteer maths teacher who comes in to work with top set once a week who said dd should be aiming for level 6. She's probably spotted the undeniable truth that dd is a) bright and b) lazy hmm

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 18:37:40

it struck me rather silly that someone who claims to have the data wouldn't know the difference between statistics and expectations LaQueen

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 18:45:36

Rubbish, mrz, you were trying to imply I didn't have access to data I claimed to have access to because I wasn't entitled to it. Your argument therefore looks rather silly.

23balloons Sat 16-Mar-13 18:46:03

Hi Ds1 was in a very able year group and quite a few were at that level in year 4. 66% got L5 in Eng & Maths in Y6 and a number got L6. Ds although identified at g&t in Maths in Y5 wasn't even entered for L6, he got 97% in his L5 paper and is now comfortably working at 6b in year 7.

Be proud of your ds he is obviously doing really well but I wouldn't say it was exceptional to be at that level. We live near grammars & a lot of ds1's classmates were tutored, around 10 of his year group (from an average state school) got in to super selective grammars.

Ds2 is in the same school & also got 4a in y4, his year group are definitely not as able and I think he will be entered for L6. The reason being ds1 wasn't liked by the teachers but ds2 is. A lot is down to individual teacher's decisions. Anyway good luck & hopefully your ds will progress as he should in this new school.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 18:49:50

mrz - having access to the data I do, I know it is perfectly reasonable for my children's school to expect a fair proportion of its children currently working at 4A in year 4 to reach level 6 in year 6, because the statistics so far back that up (albeit that there isn't exactly much data on level 6, yet!). Obviously, the school's expectations may be confounded. That doesn't mean your expectations and statistics trump mine... it just means mine relate to my children's school and my children's school is NOT a weird anomaly out there on its own, whereas yours is a paragon of standard virtue.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 18:51:23

rabbitstew I didn't say otherwise ...what I said was your DSS school is an anomaly ...as the statistics show.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 18:55:33

and as I said early in this thread, with government pressure on primary schools to produce level 6 at the end of KS2 (level 5 being the expected level for 14year olds) level 4 in Y3& 4 will become more common.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 18:57:00

All schools are an anomaly on that basis, then, mrz - every school has a different profile of results. Some won't have got any level 4a children to level 6 between years 4 and 6, and some will.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 18:57:52

mrz - will it become more common if the levels are being scrapped?????

anyway OP - well done to your child - def doing well. i'd forgotten this part of the board was worse than aibu! hope you don't regret starting the thread.

lottieandmia Sat 16-Mar-13 19:01:03

My Y4 dd is level 4b atm. There are two in her class already on a level 5.

Tbh though I don't think the NC levels necessarily show what GCSE or A levels a child will be capable of. Just what stage they are at in much the same way as some children being able to read at 3 and some much later. They are not an IQ test.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 19:09:02

It will prior to the levels being scrapped rabbitstew. I know lots of schools entering pupils for the level 6 tests who haven't done so in the past and i also know lots of unhappy secondary teachers

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 19:25:45

I know a lot of unhappy primary and secondary school teachers!

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 19:27:51

I'm sure you do

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 19:47:59

If you are implying, mrz, that some schools are better at internally moderating their assessments, that the quality of teaching may vary between year groups in a lot of schools, and that different teachers may have different strengths, I would agree with you. Some teachers do teach very well to the test, also, and are good at preparing children for SATs. They often end up working in year 6. I also know what our feeder secondary school thinks of the accuracy of the assessments of the children coming from my children's primary school is, because our governing body includes two members of staff from that school, one of whom is responsible for the transition from the local primaries to their secondary.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 19:54:32

No rabbitstew I am not implying that at all

KingscoteStaff Sat 16-Mar-13 19:57:23

Hello OP!
I taught Year 4 up to a few years ago, and my top group usually ended up with 4A in Reading and Maths. So that's 4 out of 30 - 13ish%?

So your son is doing really well!

I'm now teaching Year Six, and teaching quite a few children preparing for scholarship exams. If you think that you may be applying for scholarships in 18 months time, then the most important thing you can do is enrich and broaden his experiences - get to the museums and galleries, watch the classic films, watch the documentaries and talk to him about all these things! His responses to comprehension questions and his composition will need to be noticeably more considered and deeply thought out than the average 10 year old, and if he is interviewed, he needs to have a range of things to be enthusiastic about!

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 19:57:49

Ah, I see, mrz, you just agree with me that I know a lot of unhappy teachers. How nice of you to waste your time commenting.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 20:02:59

I don't feel it was a waste of my time rabbitstew just a recognition that you probably do know lots of unhappy teachers.

LaQueen Sat 16-Mar-13 20:05:13

Is a Level 5 really the expected average for a 14 year old? Because if that's true, then I think it's a shocking indictment on how low our educational standards are sad

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 20:06:05

OK... I will take that at face value, then, and read nothing more into it!

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 20:07:01

Yes level 5 is the expected level at the end of KS3

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 20:11:58

but have you actually looked at the criteria for the levels LaQueen

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 20:12:16

Anyone know whether there are equivalent "expected levels" in other countries?

LaQueen Sat 16-Mar-13 20:16:19

Mrz I don't know the criteria, per se...but, I do know that DD1 went into Yr 5, with all Level 5s, and she's by no means what you'd call extremely clever, or anything. Fairly clever, yes...but, some sort of prodigy? Hardly grin

i have looked at the levels (and was a secondary school teacher so had to assess them) and i agree with laqueen - they are a shocking indictment hence my constantly saying you would want your child to be doing above the expected levels if they don't have SEN or other major barriers.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 20:17:32

Yes, but what is expected in other countries?????

i'm sorry am i puppet whose meant to jump your demands? does the use of five question marks incur more authority? maybe i'll try it?????

LaQueen Sat 16-Mar-13 20:18:35

swallowed at the DD's school they differentiate between the National Average, and the school's own average (which is much, much higher).

Owllady Sat 16-Mar-13 20:24:49

my son is yr 6 and is level 5a and doing the level 6 paper
he is bright, but I don't think he is prodigy either and I agree I think expecting level 5 at 14 without any sen etc is underselling what children can achieve

(I cannot believe I have typed that blush)

ProphetOfDoom Sat 16-Mar-13 20:31:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 20:34:15

Oh, grow up, swallowedAfly. I wasn't talking to you, I was asking a question of anyone who wanted to answer. It is totally unnecessary of you to be so rude about the number of question marks I use.

lljkk Sat 16-Mar-13 20:35:02

Still haven't answered my question about what is supposed to happen if an NT child is achieving only the "indictment upon our education system" levels. Should someone lobby the governors? Are Parents obliged to Find non-existent income to pay for tutors? Must Teachers Self-flagellate? What?

So pleased DC school seems to be far removed from govt. pressure. L6 tests effectively not on offer even if some children very likely would qualify. Pretty sure it's as average a school as average gets.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 16-Mar-13 20:36:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Owllady Sat 16-Mar-13 20:39:31

actually I am thinking about this more. Level 5 at 14 in something like French would actually be quite good, no? confused My son started middle school l2 years ago and the levels for history/geography/french etc start off really quite low in yr 4, 2a etc and then they increase when it's not such a new subject. I assume this is the same ina two tier system when a child starts at secondary

Owllady Sat 16-Mar-13 20:40:10

that should say 2 not a weird 12

lljkk Sat 16-Mar-13 20:40:27

... but ahead compared to of other countries, I bet, about avg world wide for OECD countries.

Oh wait, I remember, Average is the New Very Bad and Indictment Upon Us All.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 16-Mar-13 20:46:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 20:47:55

In maths NC level 5 is roughly equal to a E/D grade GCSE

such hyperbole! no average is not 'very bad'. it's average. no crime in thinking that a child without barriers and with good support should be above average.

not sure how this causes such upset and horror.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 21:11:41

Hi, SchmaltzingMatilda - what was the actual research finding, though? I've heard something about the UK's top maths students at age 10 performing at a similar level, but ending up a couple of years behind by age 16 at secondary school (ie falling behind in the secondary years), but not about UK primary school children on average performing 2 years behind the "average" child in HK????

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 21:25:51

swallowedAfly - there's no need for you to claim people are upset and horrified when they simply disagree with you. I enjoyed your reference to others' hyperbole, though, considering...

ProphetOfDoom Sat 16-Mar-13 21:35:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rabbitstew Sat 16-Mar-13 23:52:02

OK. Sorry, swallowedAfly, I confess I have been very irritating this pm! Was feeling in a sour mood... We didn't actually disagree with each other at all on your main point, which was, I think, that higher than average SATs levels are only to be expected of children who are able and have had the right sort of input from school and/or home to help them. We just disagreed on the meanings of able and average and whether, therefore, someone of "average" IQ should expect to exceed expected levels just because their parents are involved in their education, how the "expected levels" were set by government in the first place, and whether it was fair to tell someone you didn't think their child was likely to be scholarship material just on the basis of having had their year 4 SATs results reported to you.

thanks rabbit. but i didn't say that their child was unlikely to be scholarship material - i said that higher than average nc levels in year 4 would not be enough to tell you whether they were scholarship material and that higher than average at this stage just told you that you, they and the school were doing a good job and they didn't have any significant barriers to educational success.

i was using 'able' in the sense of not disabled in any way - having nothing fixed or inherent that will actively stand in their way of being 'able' to achieve well in education. i was using average in the common sense of the word and in response to others talking about higher than average. i didn't say children of average IQ should out perform - i think it was you who brought in IQ and we just disagreed on whether an IQ of 90 was a disadvantage compared to others of higher IQ then somehow you extrapolated that i was calling people with an IQ of 90 disabled i think - which obviously i wasn't.

misunderstandings mostly i hope.

i hope you're feeling in a better mood today smile

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 09:06:33

Yes, thanks, swallowedAfly!

amidaiwish Sun 17-Mar-13 09:14:32

I have friends whose kids were given level 4c at the end of yr2. but it was an infant only school with very inflated grades! Apparently this is not unusual and the junior school recalibrated them all at the end of yr3. My point is the levels at this stage are just teacher assessed so take them with a pinch of salt.

pointythings Sun 17-Mar-13 17:36:29

I think the word 'able' when discussing education has come to mean' above average/gifted). Which is a perversion of the dictionary definition, but that's probably because we aren't allowed to say that our children are above average and therefore a euphemism is needed.

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 17:48:01

I have friends whose kids were given level 4c at the end of yr2. but it was an infant only school with very inflated grades! Apparently this is not unusual and the junior school recalibrated them all at the end of yr3. My point is the levels at this stage are just teacher assessed so take them with a pinch of salt.

But the junior school would still have to make sure they converted two levels, so those children would have had to reach level 6 in Y6 or the school would be in trouble, so it's hard to dismiss them.

I don't think the problem in separate infant schools is the fact that teacher assessment per se is shaky - rather that they are less likely to moderate their results within feeder junior schools. Most schools are not separate and use rigorous teacher assessment reached through whole school assessment procedures.

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 17:56:34

My Oxford English Reference dictionary defines able as "having great ability; clever; skilful."

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 17:58:14

So I'm not sure it is really a perversion of the dictionary definition to use it to refer to above average/ gifted children??????? (she said to annoy, as she knows pointythings thinks less is more when it comes to punctuation grin).

circular again i'm afraid but if average contains all those who are 'dis' abled for one reason or another and then of course those who are not 'dis'abled are going to be above average.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 18:09:18

able
to have the skill, intelligence, opportunity, etc. needed to do something

Related to ABLE

Synonyms
competent, capable, equal, fit, good, qualified, suitable

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 18:28:26

So the Oxford English Reference dictionary is wrong, then, mrz?

Sorry, swallowedAfly, I don't really understand. Why would "average" contain all those who are disabled? And if it does, then why would it not also contain those who are hugely talented? And if it contains both, then everybody is average.

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 18:34:24

Maybe I'm being unkind, but I would not describe a child as able unless I thought they were considerably more competent at something than the average person.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 18:38:12

Well that is from the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary and the synonyms are from Websters

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 18:49:09

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines able as: "marked by intelligence, knowledge, skill or competence." I would not think of someone of average intelligence as being marked by intelligence, myself. Also, as has been said already, whether it is a modern perversion or not (and my dictionary is not that new), it does tend to be used in the context of describing people who are brighter than average, rather than to describe people who are not disabled.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:02:59

The Merriam-Webster dictionary also lists able as the opposite to disabled

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 19:24:00

Not in the online version, it doesn't. It neither has it as an antonym, nor as meaning "the opposite of disabled."

Theycallmestacy Sun 17-Mar-13 19:28:55

Ds is in Y4 he goes into y5 for reading with about five other children, he is a level 5 but I can't remember what sub level the teacher said, I am assuming c. He has a level 4a for maths and the table he is on are working at similar levels but obviously I don't know their individual levels. He is however only at 3c for writing and has moved up in Y4 from 2b.

He does have SN which affects his learning though, but judging from others in his class, I would say your ds is working at above the average, but within normal levels.

Dd is in Y7 and I am regretting not trying for grammar school, I don't know a single child that doesn't attend one of the three local schools within a two mile radius. Grammar school is about nine miles away. Dd has no barriers to learning and was also L4 across the board in Y4, she got L5's in Y6. There were no children put in for L6.

She is currently getting L5's for new subjects like French, but has just been assessed at 7b for science.

If you think he will thrive in a competitive school and you have some close by, don't have regrets, you have nothing to lose by applying.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:31:06

Antonyms
able-bodied, abled, nondisabled, unimpaired

Related Words
special-needs; halt, lame, paralyzed, quadriplegic; immobile, immobilized; ailing, diseased, ill, sick, unfit, unhealthy, unsound, unwell; blind, deaf, hard of hearing, mute

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 19:39:41

Dictionaries aren't very consistent, are they? In the online version they are as follows:

antonyms: incompetent, inept, poor, unfit, unfitted, unqualified
related words: accomplished, ace, adept, experienced, expert, master, masterful, masterly, practiced, proficient, seasoned, skilled, skillful, veteran, overqualified, prepared, schooled, trained, apt, ready, willing, all-round, protean, versatile.

In the online Webster dictionary definition, able means: to have a particular physical or mental skill.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:45:10

That's the problem with words...they have the habit of meaning a number of things and all are correct.

So referring to someone as an able child could mean they are clever or skilled or could equally mean they have no disabilities or learning difficulties.

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 19:46:53

Looking in my 1976 Oxford Illustrated dictionary for yet another version of "able" I find: "Having the power or ability; talented, clever; able-bodied - physically fit, robust." So it is not really a new thing for able to be related to talent and cleverness more than simply being a word that means the opposite of disabled.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:49:55

and as I said both are valid definitions the problem comes when one person uses the word to mean one thing and others assume it means another.

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 19:54:58

Not all meanings of a word are correct in all contexts. I would be very surprised if the normal interpretation of "Peter is an able child" was considered to be, "Peter has no disabilities."

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:02:23

in schools able is often used as a "measure" less able, able and more able.

The problem is that "more able" children in one school could be the "less able" group in a different school ...it's all relative

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 20:49:03

But on an internet forum outside of any particular school, an able child would generally be considered by most people to be a child doing better than the national average, wouldn't it?

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 20:50:38

Or, if not thinking of school-speak "able" children, such a child would be considered one of above average intelligence who therefore ought to be doing better than the national average.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:55:48

Personally i wouldn't think of "able" as better than average but that could be because I'm a teacher

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 21:24:55

I suspect your preference might have something to do with you being a teacher, mrz, if teachers refer to the less able, able and more able when measuring children against each other in the classroom. I don't think these are terms commonly used by parents!

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 21:25:28

I shall remove my teeth from my doggy bone, now. grin

wheresthebeach Sun 17-Mar-13 21:26:10

The kid is doing great! Celebrate it.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:31:59

I did say that rabbitstew

FriendlyLadybird Sun 17-Mar-13 21:34:48

Wondering whether I dare contribute here ...

I didn't think the levels were an indicator of ability, potential, or IQ: just a statement of the level that children were working at, according to a particular set of measures.

It is a way for the Government (and parents, if they care to look at them that way) to assess how far schools have succeeded in achieving the educational objectives it has, rather subjectively, defined.

From what I have seen, there isn't a great allowance for natural talent in writing, say; nor, indeed, in critical thinking. And as far as I'm aware, the secondary schools don't give a fig for them. Private schools do their own entrance exams and state schools assess in year 7.

What's the point in worrying about them?

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:38:38

I didn't think the levels were an indicator of ability, potential, or IQ: just a statement of the level that children were working at, according to a particular set of measures you are correct

the 'average' is calculated from everyone ergo the result is affected by everyone. there are more people with learning disabilities, brain injuries, sen etc than there are genius' so yes they'd be included but would have less of an effect on the 'average'.

able just mean non disabled, no serious impediments standing in their way of learning etc. they are 'able' to achieve - it doesn't tell you that they will or that they are exceptional it just tells you they should be able to do it as nothing is stopping them.

if a teacher wanted to convey that a child was very bright they wouldn't say, 'your child is able mrs rabbit' they'd clarify that with 'extremely' or 'very'.

anyway i have clarified before how i was using the word so not sure what still arguing over semantics achieve.

my point is an able child would be above average not because of some inherent extra ability but simply by virtue of no disability, in the broad sense of the word, holding back their learning. having no disability schools should of course be able to more easily progress them through their education.

there's a wide range above average from those who find it relatively easy to learn the basic mechanics of reading, writing and structuring their own language and of numeracy, those who show great promise at moving on from the mechanics to more critical skills, to those who are genius' at something.

i think there is a problem where by when constantly teaching to the middle or looking at the middle your standard of what is exceptional slips.

SilverBellsandCockleShells Mon 18-Mar-13 07:21:12

Wow, wasn't really expecting this to take on such epic proportions! Thanks all for your input, certainly makes interesting reading.

Clearly he is doing well. More importantly, at the moment he is enjoying school and very much motivated to achieve. Long may that continue!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 18-Mar-13 19:09:02

Swallowed and Mrz

I hope you haven't gone?

Swallowed
On page 1 you mentioned the basic mechanics of spelling, and above, reading and writing.
Are you saying that with practice of these mechanics progress is definate?
Do you think a dyslexic could learn the basic mechanics if they practised more than a none dyslexic?

I don't mind if you don't know, you just sound like you know what you are talking about.

rabbitstew Mon 18-Mar-13 19:36:51

swallowedAfly - I'll just have to go back to what you said at the beginning of this thread and disagree with you, then. You said, "i would have thought 4's in year 4 was normal for an able child." That is not true. It is not normal for all children fitting your definition of able to be getting 4s in year 4 - unless the majority of the population are not able, or the majority of the able population have unsupportive parents and poor teaching.

CuriousMama Mon 18-Mar-13 19:42:37

Ds1 was the same as your ds and he was and is exceptional so maybe a few years on there are suddenly many more like him? It is expected at year 6. Some average year 7s are getting 4s still. Well done to your son. I never pushed ds1 he's just naturally bright.

Schmedz Mon 18-Mar-13 22:05:14

I teach in a selective primary school and the majority of Year 4 children are achieving within the various sub levels of 'level 4' by this stage of the year in English and Maths (most at top end) So it is obviously above the average nationally, but probably more common than you would think.

Be glad your child enjoys school and wants to learn. Levels are only a picture of certain abilities...an inquiring mind, determination and curiosity, problem solving skills and a positive attitude are the things that will bring happiness, fulfilment and success in life.

Hamishbear Mon 18-Mar-13 23:56:10

I didn't think the levels were an indicator of ability, potential, or IQ: just a statement of the level that children were working at, according to a particular set of measures you are correct

A trouble/problem (?) with levels is that IMO many see them as a crude (?) measure of ability and a way to plot a child on the bell curve. Yes, they are generally seen as an approximate measure of potential, ability to learn and IQ. For example, a child working at level 5 in Y4 will generally be seen as having a higher IQ/ability than other peers.

lottieandmia Tue 19-Mar-13 00:31:45

I heard though, that different teachers may assess the levels differently. I too got the impression that the levels reflect, eg in English what kind of language a child can use in their work etc.

How long have these levels been used, anyone know?

I had thought that a 5 in year 6 (end) was thought to be good in terms of on track for good GCSE results.

rabbitstew Tue 19-Mar-13 08:21:23

Oh no, lottieandmia, a level 5 just means your child is able (which means not disabled) and good GCSE results are normal for able children. If your child does not get good GCSE results, that will be their poor work ethic, poor parenting and poor teaching and it is abnormal. wink

Oblomov Tue 19-Mar-13 10:06:58

I'm glad I read this thread. I had no idea.
We were told that children should be achieveing a level 4 in Yr 4.
We were told, if children come in on a level, teacher expects child to move up 2 sub-levels,
i.e in on a 3B up to a 4C.
Teacher said he was doing really well, really happy. He is not on the top table. He does not want to be, and I do not want him to be. Apparently he is high in his group, and he is happy with that, and so was I. I thought he was bright and achiveing well. She said he was "above average". Now, I read this thread. And now i am not so sure. sad

Taffeta Tue 19-Mar-13 10:12:53

Oblomov - Education Boards on MN are hardly indicative of the population as a whole.

LaQueen Tue 19-Mar-13 16:15:54

Ob as I understand it, many children finish Yr 6, with Level 4s - and this is seen as perfectly satisfactory, and normal.

However, quite a few children finish Yr 6 on Level 5s, which is seen as very good. And, there are a few children who finish Yr 6 on Level 6s, and this is seen as exceptional, I think?).

Our friend's DS finished Yr 6, with all Level 4as, and still won a place at grammar school last September (albeit with tutoring, but most children are tutored around here, as a matter of course, even the ones on track for Level 6s).

So, I think your DS is doing perfectly well smile

toughdecisions Tue 19-Mar-13 17:05:22

Just been to parents' evening for DS yr4. He's 4's across the board and because the teacher had a sheet with everyone's grades it was easy to note he isn't the only one (no I didn't read upside-down names just looked at the columns). Not exceptional but doing well in a state primary in the sticks.

redskyatnight Tue 19-Mar-13 17:09:39

Oblomov exactly. Your DS is doing well. As is my Y4 DS who also does not have a whole string of 4As to his name. This thread is horribly skewed. And some of the posters definitely give the impression that if your Y4 is not achieving this (top <10% result by my reckoning) that is down to poor parenting, poor teaching or poor child.

Please don't worry.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Mar-13 08:20:59

SwallowedAfly - you said, "the 'average' is calculated from everyone ergo the result is affected by everyone. there are more people with learning disabilities, brain injuries, sen etc than there are genius' so yes they'd be included but would have less of an effect on the 'average'." I still don't understand this. I thought IQ followed a bell curve and thus, the average IQ was the most commonly found IQ in the population (ie the mode) with a fairly even distribution either side of it, because (although I didn't study statistics, so may be wrong) with averages that follow a neat bell curve, the mean and the mode generally coincide and the curve looks fairly symmetrical... Surely that means just as many people are above average as are below? And so to say you think an able child ought to be able to perform above national expectations (because all those disabled people are lowering national expectations), but a child with an IQ of 90 may not be able to perform above national expectations, because they are disadvantaged in comparison to someone with an IQ of 100 and above, how is that not implying that you think someone with an IQ of 90 is in some way disabled - ie not able? And if they are disabled/not able, then almost half the population are disabled/not able.

i've never mentioned IQ - we've been talking about attainment levels - you keep going back to IQ.

also rabbit i haven't even posted on this thread for DAYS and you're still trying to pick an argument with me. i've actually deliberately avoided this thread even though asked a question because of you but even not posting doesn't make a difference it seems.

and yet again i have never never said someone with an IQ of 90 is disabled! it is pointless discussing with you because you just make things up, i clarify and say that's not what i said or meant and you ignore that and repeat the lie. honestly don't have the energy or inclination to argue with someone who doesn't even stick to the facts.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Mar-13 08:45:51

But if someone with an IQ of 90 is not disabled, then they are able, and therefore ought to be able to perform above national expectations.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Mar-13 08:46:46

Or at least, that is what I think you have said.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Mar-13 09:10:53

And that is sticking with the facts - you have said a supportive parent ought to be sorely disappointed if they had an able child who only got a 4A in year 6 and that this would be a sign that the school had done bugger all with your child. And you have said that able means without barriers or learning difficulties and is the opposite of "dis"-abled. So, surely you are either able or disabled - or do you have an in-between category for people with an IQ of 90? Or do you think people with an IQ of 90 should be performing above national expectations and if they are not, that their parents should be sorely disappointed?

my point was always clear: that if someone had no disabilities, health problems causing absence, learning difficulties or other SEN and no other disadvantages that act as barriers to learning and achieving then one would expect them to do better than average. i also already said that yes i'd call an IQ of 90 a disadvantage - never have i called it a disability.

yes 90 is in the 85-114 average band (where the bulk of the population sits) but it is at the lower end of that average band which clearly means they are at a disadvantage compared to the vast majority of that average band. is this really so complicated or are you just intent on deliberately twisting everything i say and trying to pick fights with me even when i don't post for days on end?

and no that is not what i said - that is the rita skeeter bollocks version of what i said. you should consider writing for the daily fail.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Mar-13 09:25:28

But swallowedAfly - this is a direct quote from what you wrote on page 1 of this thread: "if you have an able child and are an involved parent you'd want to be sorely disappointed with 4a at the end of year 6 because it would likely mean the school had done bugger all with your child."
This is a direct quote from what you wrote on page 3: "able MEANS without barriers or learning difficulties. to me it is the opposite of 'dis'-abled."

So, are you saying that someone with an IQ of 90 is able, or aren't you? And if they aren't, then what are they? Are you saying that you can be neither able nor disabled, but disadvantaged?

they are the bottom end of average according to the charts on IQ. i'm saying able is without disability, sen, illness, any other disadvantage or barrier to learning and achieving - as clarified multiple times now. someone with an IQ of 90 would not be my idea of able as as i have clarified they do have a disadvantage at being the bottom end of average in IQ.

are we willy waving here or something rabbit? have i somehow offended your ego hence the whole campaign at me? you haven't at all explained as to why you're so gunning for me even when i don't post on here for days.

i think it is altogether better i ignore you from now on given this is clearly somehow quite personal for you.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Mar-13 09:54:35

No, I'm not willy waving, swallowedAfly. You just keep failing to answer direct questions in a direct way. Surely it would have been much simpler to respond to my question with, "yes, there is a category of people who are neither able, nor disabled, but who are intellectually disadvantaged." And to admit that what you really mean by able is someone of above average intelligence.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Mar-13 10:25:24

SwallowedAfly - before accusing other people of taking things personally, I suggest you think about the number of times on this thread you have been quite offensive and accused people of hyperbole, willy waving and using too many question marks for your liking, etc, etc.

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