EYFS profile - a question about exceeding the early learning goals for teachers and parents.

(96 Posts)
tiredbutnotweary Sun 19-May-13 22:21:15

An EYFS teacher explained to me that following her moderation training she now thinks it is very hard to award the exceeding category for an ELG, even if, for example, a child is working at a secure 1a NC level. If I've understood correctly a 1b is the expected level for a child at the end of year 1. So a child working at 1a is working beyond the level expected at the end of year 1.

Is this right? Do parents have any expectations that their child is exceeding some of the ELGs? Are any teachers willing to talk about their own moderation training or what they think exceeding looks like?

I'm really interested in ELG "the world" where the expected exemplification materials include these 2 examples - a child using categorisation terms like mammal and stating that mammals have to have warm blood and a spine, the same child showing where her spine, heart, lungs and brain are. Another child stating the reason we do experiments is to see if what we think happens.

Is this level of understanding really "expected" for the majority of reception children?

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 09:39:33

I have no idea what is right or wrong as I am not a teacher but when DS was in YR he was L9 or exceeding the ELG in most things when he started school, they just gave him work that challenged him and that was fine.

They never reported NC levels to me at all although I knew he was on NC level 2c reading books as there is an accompanying record book.

It really wasn't an issue IMO as when he was in Y1 then they reported his levels correctly for KS1.

I think there is often lots of 'bits' missing in a childs knowledge at that age for them to be truly exceeding the ELG in all subjects which is why it is hard to report. Also the areas DS was a L6/7 were things like the RE aspects within knowledge and understanding of the world as they just hadn't covered those areas at that point of the school year.

Tiggles Mon 20-May-13 10:11:26

Does it matter?
Does it matter if a child has tried hard all year and accomplished all that they can does it matter if they are graded as 'exceeding everything' or that they 'achieved everything' or 'progressing as expected'? Or is that only needed to boost a parent's ego? Surely as long as the terms used, are used consistently between schools, the term used is irrelevant?

Regarding the knowledge about human/mammal biology, I can't comment on this module specifically, but DS3 is currently in a nursery attached to a school and they study with reception. He is currently studying dinosaurs (we are in Wales and I guess our topics are different). He can categorise dinosaurs into omnivore, herbivore, carnivore, knows what the terms mean, can explain how you can tell if dinosaurs would fit into those categories e.g. if they move fast they are likely to be carnivore as they would need to catch their food. If they have lots of armour they are likely to be herbivore as they need to be protected from carnivores. He knows when they lived etc. DS2 is studying the same topic but in year 1, he can explain the above along with evolutionary characteristics of dinosaurs. So I would think it quite likely that a reception child studying mammals should be able to categorise a mammal and where the organs are.

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 10:26:43

LittleMissGreen - they are graded to help the teachers identify the 'next steps' that is all, not to boost a parents ego (not IME anyway). The progress made is the most important thing and what input is given to the child to reach their potential or expected levels of achievement.

Some children excel in the knowledge and understanding of the world so as LittleMissGreen says it is absolutely possibly for a child to have this level of understanding.

Tiggles Mon 20-May-13 11:19:53

smile " The progress made is the most important thing and what input is given to the child to reach their potential or expected levels of achievement" Agree completely Mrs Melons.

I just thought from the way the question was posed that 'it now seemed impossible for a child to exceed expectations' that there was likely to be lots of upset parents that their child wasn't doing amazingly, and it wasn't fair as if they had been through in a previous year they would have appeared 'on paper' to be doing better.

Bunnyjo Mon 20-May-13 11:22:48

Cannot comment on the new EL Goals as I'm not a teacher and my DD (Yr1) was assessed using the old EYFS points scale.

What I would say though is that DD did learn basic human anatomy in reception. They did a creative curriculum topic called 'How we move' or words to that effect. They did basics about the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system and also covered why breathing and heart rate increase during exercise, amongst other things.

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 11:59:43

I must say - I am not quite sure what the OP is getting at either or from what angle!

redskyatnight Mon 20-May-13 12:08:56

Not a teacher of familiar with new EL goals.

However I would say it is a "good" thing that it's difficult for children to be assessed as exceeding them in Reception. This means for the more able child there are areas they can actively be working towards - that are identified as part of the EY curriculum.

It makes no odds what a child's NC level would be surely - EY and NC use two different assessment criteria. Your child's NC level will be assessed when they start Y1, regardless of how they finished YR.

AbbyR1973 Mon 20-May-13 12:44:23

When I was at the parents evening at spring term I was told that DS1 was working beyond the expectations of EYFS in most areas. I asked what that meant and got the impression that he might be given a NC level for his working.

tiredbutnotweary Mon 20-May-13 12:53:19

Thank you for your posts. smile

What I'm seeking is a better understanding and a reality check - it's the first run for the new EYFS and I was really hoping to get a sense from teachers about the level of consistency in the way children are assessed across local authorities. From parents I just wondered if they thought their children were exceeding any ELG and what their expectations were.

In the EYFS profile pilot only 40% of children acheived "a good level of progress". Which seems rather low to me. I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion about this although I'm starting to wonder if I'm the only parent giving it any thought! blush

If a child is exceeding one of the 17 ELG they should be assessed against NC levels. I realise that (as a generalisation) MN tends to reflect a demographic of bright children, however if I've understood correctly the examples I gave are working at L2 of the science strand of the NC, as are some aspects of the shape and number elements of the ELG.

I didn't think think that this was average, or to be expected, but I thought it was worth checking what others thought.

tiredbutnotweary Mon 20-May-13 13:01:38

Thank you Abby - are you happy to elaborate a little on your DS1s abilities?

Also is he an Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer child (this was something the pilot report highlighted in its analysis)?


poppy1973 Mon 20-May-13 13:09:26

Hi, I imagine your child is hitting all the ELG's and working towards the NC levels. However, it is highly unlikely that the teachers will assess and grade on the NC levels. Some schools do.

However, the teachers will not grade too highly especially if the school is a primary school. It is important that child achieve different levels in each year group. E.g. So by the time they leave Year 2 for example they will be graded as a level 2. Therefore when they follow through into the KS2 the child will hopefully make a level 4 or above. This is what all the schools generally want - it shows the child has made progress in the school and has achieved the 2 levels +, which is good for the schools overall results.

If you are in an infant school then they will grade higher as they don't have to make up the levels in the junior school and it is better for them if the child makes 3 levels progress.

Unless you have an exceptionally bright child then the school will be careful how they grade. It is unfortunate but that is how most schools have to work.

Tiggles Mon 20-May-13 13:32:29

ah, I see where you are coming from now!
It's all different in Wales - we do foundation phase until the end of year2 and it is all 'levelled' differently. You are expected to progress by a level a year in primary school. So at the end of year R the expected level is 3, 4 by year 1 and year2 the expected is level 5, exceptional is level 6, and if you are a level 6 across the board then get a level of E (I think, could be a different letter/number).

Regarding the 'good level of progress' is there also a 'satisfactory level' ie that a child is actually progressing at the 'expected' rate, if so 40% working faster than expected is ok, I think. Just thinking about DS1, in reception he covered reception and year 1 work. But in year 1 he has only covered year 2 work - so he is now only progressing at an expected or 'satisfactory' rate, although his results are above average. But he certainly wouldn't be able to continually fit 2 years of work into 1 year at school. Reading that back I'm not sure that makes completely lucid sense - sorry!

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 13:43:45

Not read whole thread, but I would guess the OP is referring to the potential panic/muddle that could result from the very recent changes to the EYF categories.

In which case, her teacher is correct - a lot of parents who may have expected 'exceeding' as per old framework, will be disappointed.

No, OP, this level of understanding is not and should not be 'expected' for the majority of reception children.

Unless your name is Michael Gove, in which case your expectations are not likely to be based on normal child development, or on what really matters for very young children hmm

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 13:45:38

Sorry, rushing - that was confusing.

The government 'expectations' have changed, so officially 'expectations' are a lot higher than they were for 5 year olds.

They haven't changed much for most teachers, however, and IMO shouldn't change much for parents either. The new policy is unrealistic and slightly bonkers.

simpson Mon 20-May-13 14:41:43

DD is in reception and they are using the old EYFS (or the scores that are reported to us parents anyway).

DD started reception with quite a few 9s and I have been given her NC levels for several areas but I don't think she has covered anything to do with human anatomy (although there is still half a term to go).

AbbyR1973 Mon 20-May-13 17:05:34

Tiredbutnotweary- DS 1 is autumn birthday. Reading wise he is at white+ level books at home, school give him gold level. His comprehension goes beyond recalling the story and he can express his own views, predict what might happen next etc. Writing- he writes sentences with mostly correct full stops and a smattering of other punctuation such as occasional speech marks, he spells all words phonetically plausible and can correctly spell a number of tricky words, he has recently taken to writing stories which have a clearly identifiable beginning middle and end. Maths- he can recognise 3 digit numbers and understands what they mean, can count in 2s,5s and 10s, can add and subtract a single digit number from any single or double digit number, can identify coins and use different combinations to make a given amount, recognises 2D and 3D shapes, number of sides and shapes of faces, can tell time to quarter hour.
Like Simpson DS was level 9 in old terms in a number of areas on starting year R.
Reading the handbook it says children who are thought to be exceeding should be compared to ELG expected statement and national curriculum levels and discussed with year 1 teacher. It suggests that a child comfortably performing at a national curriculum level would be exceeding to me but I'm not a teacher!
Will see what's what when the reports are given out in the summer and I guess it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things anyway.

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:24:01

I'll certainly take my daughter's end of year report into account but I already know that it's not a reflection of what she's capable of. It might be a fair reflection of what she's being asked to do in school but the two aren't the same.

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 17:31:35

Thing is, in reality 'normal' expectations at that age should be flexible and very broad - to encompass the huge range of skills and development rates.

Some kids have wonderful motor skills at that age, and reading comes later. My dds had crappy motor skills, but good reading skills. Some kids are young emotionally, and regardless of academic potential they will not want to engage with some areas of learning. Others are busy learning social skills.

I just think its wrong, and daft, to set parents up to see their 4-5 year old children as 'failing' somehow, or as their schools for failing them, by measuring things like anatomical language or - for that matter - ability to punctuate.

Grrr. <feels better and steps off soap box>

But it is very true that, in the scheme of things, none of it matters very much. We're talking very small children here. I didn't even look at my kids' levels at that age.

simpson Mon 20-May-13 17:32:05

I have asked if DD's NC levels will be on her end of year school report...but I have not got an answer yet (I asked back in March!)

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:36:52

I'm not going to ask because I don't think our school believes in teaching children beyond the expectations for their ages. That might change next year, we'll see. There's no real point in getting results of any kind if you don't think they're accurate.

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 17:47:03

DS1 was similar to Abby/Simpsons DSs at starting YR. He is a spring birthday but was quite mature (as much as a 4 YO can be) when starting school.

The school didn't offer NC levels and I didn't know to ask as had no idea what they were at the time.

During the Autumn term (1st half term) of Y1 he was assessed as a 2b in reading, 2c in writing and 1b in numeracy. He must have been exceeding the ELGs in YR but all they did was tell me he was exceeding them at the time.

I guess there was no real need to assess him at NC levels as they were clearly challenging him anyway for him to be those levels at the beginning of Y1 so I don't think they were necessarily wrong in doing that. We were lucky I guess as the school have mostly challenged and pushed him (and all the others) but I may have felt differently if I thought the school were not teaching to his full potential as learnandsay mentions.

As a parent I'm really not fussed about the EYFS goals and levels (assuming child isn't massively adrift of where a 4/5 year old ought to be, and if they were I'd still not really be focused the EYFS levels so much as on concerns I'd expect to be flagged up over the course of the year).

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:54:30

I'm in two minds about it. The school gets the best results in the area, so, presumably it thinks that this laid back approach works. I'm not on it's case all the time about its methods, but when I get the results, obviously I'm not going to see them as a fair reflection, but just as a reasonable refection of what's been going on. In the grand scheme does it matter? Clearly the school doesn't think so.

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:54:56

its case

tiredbutnotweary Mon 20-May-13 19:04:14

Thank you all so much for your responses thanks

I understand why some people are saying that it doesn't really matter too much, but I do think that children assessed under the EYFS should all be assessed in the same way.

Abby thank you so much for your candid reply - this was exactly what I was looking for.

I feel relieved knowing that in another school the level you describe is seen as exceeding. I remain concerned that there is disparity between schools and perhaps LAs. I also remain concerned that only 40% of children were assessed as reaching a good level of progress as this seems unlikely to reflect accurately the great progress most children make in school. So I'm thinking that either many children were assessed incorrectly (unlikely) or the bar has been set too high (more likely).

Tiggles Mon 20-May-13 19:20:02

smile I think they should be assessed in the same way - that to me is why there is a framework, otherwise there wouldn't need to be one.

"I also remain concerned that only 40% of children were assessed as reaching a good level of progress as this seems unlikely to reflect accurately the great progress most children make in school"
But by your own definition then, if MOST children make great progress, then that 'great' progress has to be 'average' progress, and so only those who make more than great progress can make more than average progress.

RosemaryandThyme Mon 20-May-13 19:20:19


I have an interest here and have been through the new EYFS guidelines with a fine tooth comb !

The guidance on exceeding goals is sparse and examples available are very specific.

In my view it is likely that goals in some areas are far easier for a teacher to observe because a) - it is quick and easy to plan, observe and execute a maths session where all children reveal say their knowledge of division than it is to extract the same knowledge or determine if it's even in a childs head for say the people and communities topics, and b) the skill base needed for the now broader catagories mean that a child who previously had a strength in say RE knowledge, but average in literacy, would be hard pressed to produce evidence of exceptional level of attainment.

So in brief I agree with your teachers comments - many less "exceeds" to be handed out in the near future.

Periwinkle007 Mon 20-May-13 20:11:20

I have very little understanding of the EYFS and with my daughter's report am actually hoping they just write in English and hoping they tell me she is doing well (which I know she is) and that she is well behaved and happy. I do understand the NC levels so would like to see them on her reports further up the school but I know she is achieving well and I know it is subjective in the EYFS so am not too worried about actual levels there.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Mon 20-May-13 20:11:50

I don't know what new guidance said but reception teachervtold me in jan they were assessing ds on nc levels and would use them in end of yr report. I nodded politely then asked if he was playing nicely with other kids as that's what i think is more important at 5!

tiredbutnotweary Tue 21-May-13 12:01:32

In an earlier post I used the term "a good level of progress" - I got this wrong, it's a "good level of development". I wonder if teachers would be happier with a measure of progress instead of development?

So using the current profile in the pilot only 41% of children achieved a good level of development. Even for Autumn born children only 52% acheived a good level of development!

In the pilot children were assessed against both profiles and compared. On the old profile the percentage of children achieving a good level of development was 64%.

The new EYFS good level of development does measure development differently, with an emphasis on maths and literacy, including writing. However even when they accounted for this the same amount of children (64%) achieved a good level of development against the old profile and only 42% against the new profile.

To me this indicates that the old profile was a more accurate assessment tool for children's development because unless our nation's children's are dunces, surely you'd expect most of them to have an average level of development? To put it another way, why would a good level of development mean that most children couldn't achieve it. Has the measure been set above the normal level of development?

This might be explained because last year teachers were teaching to the previous curriculum linked to the old EYFS and an improvement would be expected this year because teachers know what the expectations are. This explains why in my DDs school there's lots of counting up to and down from 20 as well as looking at 3d shapes, 1 more, 1 less, as well as phonics and writing.

So far so good, but if there is an expectation that the level of children achieving a good level of development will rise due to the tailored teaching, surely the level of children receiving exceeding would go up as well?

If you're interested (and I appreciate many are not), here's the link to the pilot report:


Elibean Tue 21-May-13 12:28:17

Very interesting, tired, thank you for posting. It explains it all beautifully.

I repeat, grrrr!

Tiggles Tue 21-May-13 15:20:05

smile Now I see - they are saying good development is only meeting the expected in all areas, not that they are exceeding it. In my head that would be 'satisfactory development' (and good would be exceeding).
So yes I would be hmm

learnandsay Tue 21-May-13 16:02:19

I've got a problem with chart 2.5 which is girls were more likely than boys to score the expected level. But if a girl is already performing at the expected level and the teacher stops teaching her does the fact that she met the expected level (rather than exceeded it) say more about the girl or the teacher?

mrz Tue 21-May-13 17:06:14

It isn't about the teacher it is about the child hmm

mrz Tue 21-May-13 17:12:25

It's really interesting to compare parents opinions about the KS1 assessments and those about EYFS assessments

MrsMelons Tue 21-May-13 17:15:12

why would a teacher stop teaching a girl reaching the expected level Learnandsay?

mrz Tue 21-May-13 17:26:51

The new EYFS doesn't emphasise Maths & literacy the Prime Areas of Learning are
communication and language
physical development
personal, social and emotional development

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 17:35:06

Is it better, worse or broadly the same as the old eyfs MrZ?

mrz Tue 21-May-13 17:41:30

Under the old profile (which IMHO was less demanding) only 5% of children exceeded the ELGs

learnandsay Tue 21-May-13 18:23:14

Because the resources required for subsequent levels or the pupils who attend sessions at subsequent levels are in another part of the school or are under the direction of a different teacher.

MrsMelons Tue 21-May-13 18:24:32

That is a poor excuse IMO

learnandsay Tue 21-May-13 18:28:22

Part of it might be thought of as an excuse, but it has a physical manifestation which still needs to be overcome (or not) as the case may be, if the pupil is unlucky.

mrz Tue 21-May-13 18:40:45

It's an excuse pure and simple and not a very believable one at that!

MrsMelons Tue 21-May-13 19:39:31

I don't understand the physical manifestation comment, some higher level books, slightly harder tasks to be set for individual children. It doesn't necessarily have to be specially work set for children who are levelled at 1c/b/a/2 etc but just enough to be challenging them.

I remember in the 1st couple of week of YR the teacher said one of the things the children do very early on is sorting things, to ensure DS was challenged they used some large pieces of card so DS could write labels on them and the other children could sort the objects as he could already do this. Its a very basic example but differenciation all the same, a good teacher should be able to do this.

Don't get me wrong, things have not always been perfect and there have been times when I think he could have been challenged differently but on the whole I have been impressed. It is a stand alone infant school so no way of him joining classes of the same level but they have still managed to allow him to progress at the right level for him.

tiredbutnotweary Tue 21-May-13 21:49:17

Thank you again for all the views being shared smile

Hello Mrz glad you dropped by! The good level of development measure includes the prime areas of learning along with Maths and Literacy (i.e. 12 of the 17 goals) doesn't it? Is it fairer to say the GLD de-emphasises certain early learning areas that were previously included in the old profile GLD measure?

I'm less concerned about the focus of the good level of development than whether the bar has been set too high for expected and is now being set too high for exceeding (well at least in one LA).

You mention that you think the old profile was less demanding (so this one is more demanding) but do you think the level of demand was set about right for the majority of children on the previous profile & therefore is the new one set too high?

I'm very interested that you say only 5% of children exceeded the previous ELGs (is that achieved 9s or achieved a total score above a certain point?) because despite all the evidence I've seen so far indicating that the new profile does have a higher bar, between 7% to 17% of children exceeded the various ELGs with up to nearly a quarter of Autumn borns exceeding some goals (well if I've read the report correctly!).

I can't help wonder if this is due to the other issue referred to in the pilot report, which was teachers raising concerns that it might be more difficult to ensure consistency when determining whether a child's level of development is emerging, expected or exceeding under the new profile.

mrz Wed 22-May-13 06:47:13

Nationally the majority of children achieved (only) 6 of the 8 ELGs under the old profile... the 9th profile point indicating a child working beyond expectations (nationally below 10% of pupils).

Using the old profile as rough guidance all those children who achieved a score of 6 or less would be emerging under the new profile and those who scored 7 or 8 would be expected and 9s would be exceeding. In addition the bar has been raised ...

I'm not working in EYFS at the moment so I'm not an expert but I know that when I taught reception there were huge variations in expectations from one LEA to another using the old profile and with the new profile things appear even more blurred so I can't see the situation improving.

One teacher may well award exceeding for an ELG whereas another would consider the same evidence to indicate expected levels or even emerging levels of development.

mrz Wed 22-May-13 06:55:14

For the record teachers had to use the new EYFS from Sept 2012 but the profile wasn't released until the end of November.

learnandsay Wed 22-May-13 16:09:28

The teacher has written in the diary "I'm encouraging expression"

The reading book is a level 4 Boff, Chopper & Kropper story

How can we do expression if every page of dialogue simply says

come in, said Kipper
come in, said Dad
come in said, Chip
-you get the picture-

Or does lying on the floor in a dead pose, having died of boredom, count as expression?

I'm thinking of simply asking the teacher either not to encourage expression, or to use books with proper dialogue in them. Because you can't do expression with the dialogue given.

There's more scope for expression once they find the magic key. Then at least there are giants and dragons and Vikings and so forth to get excited about.

simpson Wed 22-May-13 18:52:22

LandS - I guess you have to hope for a more on the ball yr1 teacher...

tiredbutnotweary Wed 22-May-13 22:34:28

Thank you Mrz that's a helpful analogy between the two profiles. I've read a few recent posts on TES and it seems teachers do have some of the same concerns, with some saying the general view is that performance (against the ELGs) is likely to be low this year - again.

Learnandsay - My understanding is that in the APP grids children should be reading with expression by white band books. Before about green/orange there's not much material to work with - well your example speaks for itself.

learnandsay Wed 22-May-13 23:18:51

You don't need a reading book to talk about expression. It's about the differences in tone, pitch and speed of verbal exchanges. You can extrapolate how that might be brought about from a the dialogue in a story, but you don't have to. My daughter and I have. In fact we find it highly amusing. But simply because a curriculum requires certain types of themes to be discussed that doesn't mean that you should take inappropriate material, like Aesop's fables (with the fable stripped out) or dialogues (with the dialogue stripped out) and try to analyse them for higher order reading abilities.

None of it matters in the sense that at home we use real books and discuss dialogue and characterisation. But if we didn't I could see how my daughter could get confused with the inappropriate use of school materials. (And how she's to be judged on her performance after that type of education I don't know.)

learnandsay Wed 22-May-13 23:34:40

I don't really know why the teacher wants to develop higher order reading skills on such a low banded level of book and nor do I know why she wants to pull up old books from the basement. But soon we'll have a new teacher and hopefully more reasonable behaviour.

tiredbutnotweary Thu 23-May-13 00:00:11

It is interesting hearing a child reading without expression (helping out at school means hearing a huge range). It's not just in the dialog, it's in the narration too. DD now self corrects by re-reading sentences or parts of them not because she got the words wrong but because what she read didn't make sense to her and that shows in how she expressed it. When she re-reads it her intonation is quite different and it shows she's understood what she's read. It's quite subtle but when you hear a child read in a monotonous voice it really stands out (well just as it does with an adult). But there's definitely a limit to what you can bring, or feel inspired to bring, to a text if a book is dull as dishwater ...

mrz Thu 23-May-13 06:40:05

At a very basic level it is knowing that if there is an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence you read it differently to a sentence with a full stop, or if the author uses capital letters for a word you say it loudly. All of this can be done with very simple text (in fact it is often best demonstrated with very simple picture books at story time) and doesn't require deep discussion or analysis just modelling from a supportive adult.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 07:58:47

The teacher should know that my daughter already uses punctuation in her reading and in her writing. Of course that doesn't detract from the fact that low banded books are best for demonstrating it at a basic level. But there is not much to be purchased from teaching a child something which she not only knows but can demonstrate herself. I'd imagine that at some point the child needs to be asked.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 08:00:21

To be fair in this particular case, it doesn't seem as though punctuation is the topic of the teaching.

tiredbutnotweary Thu 23-May-13 10:21:46

Mrz, I do agree that basic books can be read with expression, it's the way that many mums read really simple baby books after all.

But there is a difference in the early scheme books - the writing is often stilted, the speech pattern unnatural. I also think it is easier for children to work on expression once they've got to a certain point in reading fluency (i.e. beyond sounding out every few (5 or 6?) words)).

What I mean is that at say yellow to green, I would model, but by say orange band, I would say, "and how do you think the character said that" if DD hadn't done it already. But her self-correction started at purple/gold. No idea if this is the usual progression of course!

L&S If the teacher has stated that she's encouraging expression is it because DD isn't using much expression at school? Given that she is reading with expression at home with the interesting books, is it worth suggesting that she pretends she's reading her school books to a baby, instead of a teacher, so she needs to use as much expression as possible to make the 'boring' baby book sound like fun?

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 10:54:01

No, it's because the school books are the wrong books for meaningful expression. Of course she reads Three Little Pigs with expression. You could try reading your shopping list with expression if you like. Then you'd see how hard that is.

simpson Thu 23-May-13 11:38:33

LandS - what would happen if you refused to read the school books?

The same one stays in her book bag for weeks on end and does not get changed while you get on and hear her read something decent.

Can you not write in her reading diary "DD refused to read shit school book, so we read X instead"

tiredbutnotweary Thu 23-May-13 11:41:26

Yes, I agree some early scheme books are stilted, but trust me, if DD read a shopping list she'd read peas very differently from chocolate smile

Periwinkle007 Thu 23-May-13 11:42:06

I think we will be in that position very shortly Simpson. this morning my daughter said 'I am really finding it hard to find a book that interests me in the box now, I have read all the good ones' I have to confess I told her to 'look for an interesting one and if there isn't an interesting one pick the shortest one there'

simpson Thu 23-May-13 11:52:46

DD has not had a school reading book for months (does a dance round the room) she is taken into the defunct library and allowed to choose whatever she wants (within reason).

Last week she had a version of Cinderella, the week before an Angelina Ballerina little chapter book, this week she has 2 Mr Men books.

She still does guided reading at stage 7 (project x books and we have to read that sometimes for her homework) but that is to help her writing more than her reading.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 11:55:04

Probably nothing would happen if we refused, to be honest. In a way the teacher has a point, a book is a book and the scheme is the scheme. It's her choice how quickly she progresses children through it and which higher order skills she encourages with which books. It's entirely up to her. So in a way all we/I would accomplish by refusing would be to stick my oar in. I can't make the teacher change her approach. All I can do is read proper books with my daughter which I'm already doing. (The teacher already made it clear she doesn't want to know about those other books.)

My point in this thread isn't really about the reading per-se, but it's about judging my daughter's reading ability. How can the teacher mark/profile my daughter's reading ability if she doesn't know what it is?

simpson Thu 23-May-13 12:10:28

I think DD has what she calls "reading tests" ie assessments.

I was given the results for one of them.

She had to read the text first (something to do with volcanos) and the teacher marked if she got any words wrong (she didn't) and then they asked her several questions verbally and wrote down what she said.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 12:18:46

But in order for the text to test the child the text itself needs to be at the right level. And the teacher can only know what that is by challenging the child beforehand. The only other way of doing it would be if the test got progressively harder and harder as it progressed and the child's end point was regarded as its score.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 12:21:46

If the teacher gave my daughter a reading test at ORT level four now I wouldn't regard the result as being of interest or use.

simpson Thu 23-May-13 14:43:16

I also think it depends on the type of child ie their personality.

DD is I think a bit of a challenge at school and is very vocal about "sound time" being boring etc and books being too easy whereas DS is a whole different ball game and very biddable, reserved, quiet and introverted so consequently his teacher (when he was in reception) never really went out of her way to find out what he could do (different teacher to DD) and noted in his end of school report that he could not count to 10 shock I guess because he was shy and getting him to open up (then) would have been like extracting teeth grin

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 15:47:18

If the teacher is a stickler for doing the exercises, or reading the books, in the order in which they appear in the scheme, regardless of how suitable they are, then the personality of the child probably doesn't matter that much. They're going to get it whether they like it or not.

simpson Thu 23-May-13 15:51:21

That's true, but it's probably better that the teacher sees the child unhappy about a book rather than taking the parents word for it iyswim.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 15:53:42

In the grand scheme I don't know how much any of it matters. It's just the system is a bit silly and its assessments dodgy.

It's a bit like recording a girl's speed in the three legged race and saying that's her speed. The reply is yes. But you had her legs tied together. It's not her speed if you untie them.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 15:56:21

The teacher could just use a different book. She doesn't have to take anything on faith.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 16:10:08

But, if the teacher wants everything done in order then that's how it'll be done. The child's abilities aren't part of anything.

mrz Thu 23-May-13 18:04:59

"The teacher should know that my daughter already uses punctuation in her reading and in her writing."

It isn't about knowing that your daughter uses punctuation ...it is about knowing how to read with expression no matter how complex or simple or boring the text.

freetrait Thu 23-May-13 18:09:22

Yes, you can read boring or dull books with expression, it makes them less so grin. And I once heard someone perform the phone book, quite engaging smile.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 18:09:24

So how do you read a shopping list with expression?

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 18:10:19

That's interesting. How does one perform a phone book?

freetrait Thu 23-May-13 18:14:52

It was a musician so cheating a bit I guess grin, I forget the details, it was a while ago, but it struck me at the time as quirky but brilliant. Shopping list, I'm sure you could read it with a range of expression. Are you too young to remember "Whose Line is it Anyway"? I could read it to you angrily, lovingly, patiently, etc etc smile.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 18:19:55

Let's discount the phone book then.

I'll accept that you could read a shopping list with an angry voice, basically shout the list. I'm not sure about patiently and lovingly. You could squeak it in a timid voice too. Which translates into any text can be read either loudly or softly, quickly or slowly. Anything else?

simpson Thu 23-May-13 18:22:18

Also knowing what the punctuation means as well as being able to use it in writing, DD knows what an apostrophe is and what it means (ownership) but would not be consistent about putting it in the right place ie Georg'es hat...

freetrait Thu 23-May-13 18:24:11

There is a huge range of expression. Clearly, some texts invite it more easily, but you can add some to the simple and dull texts to liven them up. Just imagine someone speaking one word, think of all the different ways they could say it. Of course context helps, but you could say one word in many different ways, not just those you list.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 18:32:35

Well, that's precisely what I'm asking. Apart from loudly, softly, quickly and slowly you could read a shopping list with a variety of accents. But the problem arises in making the rendition of the text more meaningful with each addition. Simply because you can do something it doesn't mean that you should. I don't read my shopping lists in a phoney French accent, nor do I do that with boring texts.

mrz Thu 23-May-13 19:55:14

I've actually seen someone "perform" reading the telephone directory and it was surprisingly entertaining (at least the theatre audience seemed to find it engaging and amusing)


freetrait Thu 23-May-13 20:06:10

Thanks mrz!

learnandsay I think we may have lost the point of our discussion. Is it not in everyone's interest to read any text with expression, and with an intention to communicate, all be it within the boundaries of the text. I remember DS coming home with "Top Cat" in YR. We performed it and he stood on the table. It was fun smile.

simpson Thu 23-May-13 21:18:45

LOL we did the same with Top Cat except DD stood on the sofa.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 21:45:05

John Houseman performing reading the phone book.

I'll show my daughter this and talk to her about it. It's revolutionised my idea of expression. I think we might try the shopping list after all.

learnandsay Thu 23-May-13 21:58:13

The upshot of this will be that my daughter will actually ask if she can read the phonebook in school. I wonder how this is going to turn out.

freetrait Thu 23-May-13 22:13:07

The phonebook is a lot less thick than it used to be grin.

simpson Thu 23-May-13 22:26:57

PMSL and LandS's DD taking the phone book into school (but I bet it's more interesting for her than ORT!!)

tiredbutnotweary Thu 23-May-13 22:38:17

The expression DD would bring to reading a shopping list would tell you whether she disliked a food or liked it, or felt 'meh' about it!!! So 'chocolate' would be said with relish, peas with disgust, if I added bonjela then some fear would creep into her voice, if I slipped in something silly, like a packet of bogies - well you can imagine! In this instance the expression relates to her own reaction to what's on the list.

Reading out loud to captivate an audience is partly about that I think. It helps no end to have some sort of connection with the text but you can also do it by empathising with your audience (real or imagined). You could read the financial times to a baby like a news reader or like a kids TV presenter, the words don't matter to the baby but the way you say them does.

It reminds me of one of DDs old picture books, 'Don't forget the bacon', which is essentially a child repeating a shopping list but getting in a muddle. It wasn't much fun to read for me, but I could make it great fun for DD iykwim?

Bunnyjo Fri 24-May-13 21:22:12

LandS, as other posters have said, all text can be read with expression and/or intonation. DD (5yo) is in Yr1 and somewhere around lime level - she seems to bring home white, lime and full chapter books (such as Roald Dahl etc).

Anyway, she read her little DB one of her old books today for his bed time story; it was a Rigby Star book and in it was something along the lines of "a bit of butter, a bit of jam. I can't wait to start my plan"

Now this is a yellow level book; probably around or below what your DD is currently bringing home from school, and she read it with way too much expression and a devilish voice - she had her DB in fits of giggles. She also used intonation to highlight the rhyme.

What I am trying to say is there is many ways expression can be added to any text that is being read - DD would read a shopping list and add appealing tones to things she liked and would convey her dislike for things that she didn't. And nappies would be read with disgust and a screwed up nose!

Bunnyjo Fri 24-May-13 21:23:38

there are many ways, not is many ways teach me to MN and wine at the same time!

learnandsay Fri 24-May-13 23:10:50

Well, yes. That's why my daughter and I are headed for the phone book. Because there might be more comedy, expression and glee to be found in the auctioneer's notes for Lot 17 of picture framing nails than there is to be found in her reading books.

freetrait Fri 24-May-13 23:16:22

You really don't like them do you learnandsay!

MrsOnTheUp Thu 06-Feb-14 21:41:02

Hi - just found this as I searched for some exemplification material on the EYFS. I am an EYFS teacher and have attended several moderation courses and been subject to LA moderation in school. I read with great interest many of the comments on this thread and would like to clear up a few matters as they currently exist in my LA. We were originally told that we had to be completely and utterly 100% sure of a child's ability (and have extensive evidence to back it up) in order to give 'expected' and exceeding is extremely rare. Expected levels in literacy and maths have been increased and now equate effectively to a 1c to 1b on the national curriculum. It therefore proved very difficult to gain GLD in more than 40% of children. Exceeding was almost nonexistent. The government/OFSTED does not consider other areas of learning important. In my most recent moderation however we were told that as we didn't reach the required % of GLD we must have judged too hard and should apply a best fit model (ie lower our expectations). I have additionally been told that if I judge a child to be above expectations on entry (after 3 weeks in school) they should now achieve exceeding at the end of reception. OFSTED then require that this converts to level 3 in Year 2 and level 6 in year 6; if they don't this is described as lack of progress and the school will fail their OFSTED. I would like parents to know this as it is putting unfair pressure on teachers to chase results and neglect the development of the whole child. The government does not listen to teachers and only when parents realise and start to question what is going on will they begin to listen. Thank you for your attention.

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