Consequences if Yr 6 is 'ill' next week?

(27 Posts)
IceCup Sun 12-May-13 07:20:16

Hi, my DS is becoming increasingly wound up about the SATs. He

IceCup Sun 12-May-13 07:30:01

Sorry, fat fingers posted too soon! DS is bright but can get wound up in tests - develop headaches, stomach aches etc and therefore perform worse than expected. I was pondering whether there would be any repercussions if he were to be 'ill' next week.

Obviously, I know the school would be annoyed that the results would be skewed, but would we need to provide a doctor's note for example? Would he have to re-sit them upon return to school, or would they just be able to use the teacher assessed marks to send to the Secondary School?

As far as I can see, the only benefit for DS is that if he does well he'll be in top sets next year, however if he does badly on the day he maybe placed lower down. A lower set next year will be difficult to get out of so that's why I'm pondering him being absent next week and letting teacher assessment guide the setting instead of SATs.

Any thoughts?

sandyballs Sun 12-May-13 07:35:19

I can see why you are tempted to keep him off but I don't think it would do him any favours in the long run. I have two DDs in year 7 and they have been constantly tested this year so I would say send him in, just tell him to try his best and try to overcome the nerves about tests as this is just the start unfortunately.

meditrina Sun 12-May-13 07:37:00

Do you actually know how DS will be put in sets?

Your DS has already benefited from every single child in the school that has taken the SATS, as they are an important way of maintaining an adequate academic standard in school (it went very badly wrong in the days of the 'secret garden').

So, you want to take the communal benefit, without contributing?

I think he should take the tests, unless he is already under GP or CAHMS for anxiety issues.

nextphase Sun 12-May-13 07:45:16

How is he ever going to get used to exam situations of you don't expose him to them?
And if you start down a path of letting him skip exams, where is it going to stop?
I'd tell him they aren't the end of the world, but he needs to go, and try his best. And then be positive about what results he gets -even if its "well, we know your better than that, so we going to have to find a way to reduce your stressing so you can show everyone how good you are next time"

IceCup Sun 12-May-13 07:45:31

Hi Meditrina, yes, I do now how the setting works. It's based upon the final results combined with data developed from Secondary meetings with primary staff. The moral implications of 'benefitting'... nope, don't worry me to be honest! I trust the teachers' judgements not Mr Gove's latest brainwave. I'm sure he'll manage to skew the marking of these one way or another to justify his next policy - just like he did with the English GCSE last year.

IceCup Sun 12-May-13 07:48:37

I totally agree Nextphase, and were this secondary school tests
I would do exactly that. (Probably will to be honest, just my anxious thoughts whilst everyone is asleep.) What I was wondering though was what procedures are in place in primaries for such an event...

Surfybridge Sun 12-May-13 07:50:52

Sadly, he's going to have to get used to sitting tests and exams in the future and by letting him skip these, you may be setting things up for more problems in the future - what if he goes on to do GSCE's etc, he can't just be "ill" for all of those!

Could you maybe talk to him about why he gets so anxious about them? Is he under pressure (perceived or real) from school, you (sorry, I'm not saying you are but is he worried about disappointing you?) or himself? My youngest sister always (wrongly) felt she would be unfavourably compared to us, and this made exams harder on her.

I guess just reassure him that he has nothing to worry about as long as he does his best. Longer term would it be worth spending some time on exam technique with him? We did bits at school, but that was quite a while ago! There may be books to help you? Hope he's ok & not too nervous next week.

Surfybridge Sun 12-May-13 07:55:02

Sorry - didn't realise from first posts that he was primary age! Ignore the exam technique stuff but otherwise I'd still give the same advice smile

IceCup Sun 12-May-13 07:59:19

Thanks Surfybridge, and I completely agree, just wondering what the implications are should this happen. I presume primaries have considered what they would do in such an event... (GCSEs have to provide doctors notes, sit exams at home with supervision, then in extreme circumstances exam boards take mock exam results into consideration etc. ) Are SATs organised in the same way?

meditrina Sun 12-May-13 08:06:45

These tests are nothing whatsoever to do with Gove.

Before there were SATS there was neither an expected standard for achievement at end primary, nor a mechanism to assess what level of achievement there actually was.

Now, schools can individually choose how they prepare pupils for the actual tests themselves (and there does seem to be quite a bit of variation). And Iwoukd agree that some are much better than others - and less stressful for the child.

But the individual benefit that your DS has from participation is receiving an education that meets the expected standard. That is why I said you're already taking the benefit, but do not seem to want to contribute as every other pupil is doing.

Personally, I'd refrain from teaching my DC it's OK to pull a sickie. But it's for each parent to decide about messages on integrity.

soapboxqueen Sun 12-May-13 08:17:53

No benefit to your child whatsoever and if alternative methods of assessment were used there would be no drop in attainment and possibly a better breadth of study. most secondary schools ignore the tests completely and do their own tests or wait a year. The whole thing is a total joke.

In previous years if a child was ill they had missed the test. last year they changed the process slightly so that the child could still take the test up to 5 days after the original test day. I am assuming it will be the same for this year. I think you should get you ds to take the test with the rest of his class. I think avoiding this test will set problems up for later on

IceCup Sun 12-May-13 08:24:00

Thanks for the info Soapboxqueen. Agreed!

meditrina Sun 12-May-13 08:24:13

"if alternative methods of assessment were used"

But they're not. And until they are, it is SATS and their effect on maintaining national standards from which her DC takes individual benefit and the country as a whole takes general benefit.

I'm old enought to remember the gap between the widespread closure of grammar schools (abolition of 11+) and introduction of SATS. Primary school standards went very badly wrong in that era. I am assuming OP would not have liked her DC in a "secret garden" type school - therefore she is taking the benefit of the system in which SATs are a key assessment for the benefit of both the individual and the whole herd.

mamaduckbone Sun 12-May-13 08:24:58

All that will happen is that he will be kept in complete isolation from his friends when he returns to school until he has taken the tests (in case they give him any answers). He will miss all the fun things that his teachers will have planned for the afternoons and his teachers and classmates will be highly suspicious and annoyed.
They are not the only thing that will determine his sets at secondary school - teacher assessment will be taken into account, especially if he performs worse than expected.
I don't think you will be doing him any favours.

teacher123 Sun 12-May-13 08:27:40

As a teacher and parent I think it's a really bad message to send to your children that mummy and daddy will just pull you out of an exam for no reason. He's going to have to do GCSEs and A Levels, and learning good exam strategy and appropriate behaviour is important at any age. It also validates his fear if you make them something to be afraid of and avoid. If you'd posted saying he had tonsillitis or terrible d and v then of course keep him at home. I taught 18 year olds whose parents had attitudes like this, and they were the ones who dropped out of university. (Anecdote I know, so not data) if you don't like sats, send your children private. Where they have even more exams...!

ohforfoxsake Sun 12-May-13 08:30:34

I don't think you are doing him any favours by letting him pull a sickie.

Can you focus on all the positives that will come after the tests?

Surfybridge Sun 12-May-13 08:44:17

How about arranging a treat for after the tests? It can be a reward for working hard and trying and not dependent on the results and will give him something to look forward to afterwards rather than only worrying?

IceCup Sun 12-May-13 08:46:32

Thanks for the info Mamaduckbone, have just found moreorless that info on the Gov site:
"Following a successful pilot in 2012, children who are absent on the published test date for a valid reason may take a test up to a week (five school days) after the date specified on the statutory timetable (see section 8.1.2).
Children who miss one or more component of a level 3-5 test and do not qualify for a timetable variation will not be awarded a level for that test.
If a child is absent for one level 3-5 test component, but takes the other test component(s) at the correct time, the school should still send the completed test script(s) for marking. The school will be able to use the child’s results to provide an informal report to parents.
If a child is absent for the level 3-5 test but takes the level 6 test, the level 6 test result will be returned but the child will be reported as absent overall.
Teacher assessment judgements must still be submitted for children who are absent during the test period by Friday 28 June.

Schools must not make an application for a five day timetable variation to cover the possibility that the child may return to school within those five days. The application must state the day that the test will be administered.
If a child takes a test on a date other than the scheduled date the headteacher must ensure that the child is kept apart from other children who have taken the test and that their parent(s) take responsibility for ensuring the child does not contact other children who have taken the test before they have taken the test themselves; and the confidentiality of the test materials is maintained."

As Ive said, I was pondering, not doing. It is abundantly clear that these tests are for the school's league tables, not the child. Many schools appear to be jumping through ridiculous hoops to affect the results: I've read of breakfast clubs, after school revision classes, tests sent home for hmwk etc etc. Thankfully, our school has done none of that. Schools are therefore not being tested equally and diff schools are sending different messages. As such, the results will vary and be an unreliable method of measuring a schools overall effectiveness. They seem to measure how much cramming is done in Yr 6 in that particular school rather than across the entire Key Stage/s.

I would much rather the teachers were able to teach the child, not teach/cram for the test. Realise we can't avoid it - unless we opt out of the state system, just don't agree with the process!

Sigh. DS awake now. Off to play. x

soapboxqueen Sun 12-May-13 08:50:25

Sorry but I don't think there is any evidence that sats do maintain anything other than schools ability to get children through the tests. Results improve because teachers get better at preparing children. I think education suffers because of it. We are not testing ability or knowledge just how well children do on these particular tests which too often do not accurately indicate a child's actual ability. Too many shown as too high or too low.

The whole thing is a really bad joke.

meditrina Sun 12-May-13 08:54:18

Not all schools teach to the test and cram.

And having a school which delivers education to the expected level benefits every single individual child in that school.

It isn't right to conclude that being good for the school is contrary to being good for the child. The pupil benefits from being in a school that will deliver education to the expected standard. That is good for every individual child.

meditrina Sun 12-May-13 08:57:47

BTW, your comparison point needs to be outcomes pre-SATs v outcomes now. Jim Callaghan's government (around 1976) published quite a lot on that.

Longtallsally Sun 12-May-13 09:03:21

Sending best wishes for your son. Totally agree with your sentiments, but also agree with the other posters that it is best to get him in for the tests as he's going to have to put up with more tests in future. Play them down though for him - it sounds as if your school are doing a good job of not putting too much emphasis on the SATS. Tell him they don't matter and that secondary schools ignore them - even if in your case it isn't true. IME teacher assessment of pupil ability overrides SAT results anyway. Tell him the tests are just for the government to check on whether their teachers are covering the work, and that it doesn't matter at all whether he gets a 3, 4, 5, 6 or a Banana. It doesn't mean anything.

I have to comment on Medina's generalised posts. I am a secondary teacher and have been for a loooooong time. In the days pre SATS our junior schools did a brilliant job preparing children for a secondary education. Things may have gone wrong in your primary feeders or local secondary schools, but not for all and it is insulting to imply that it has. The introduction of SATS, along with the National Curriculum, merely meant that teachers had to teach and assess according to different criteria - they certainly had criteria based assessment before, and used a very effective range of assessment tools to do so.

Meditrina - I haven't met anyone working in education who thinks SATS are a good thing. All the secondary schools we visited said they ignored SATS results as they found they bore little relation to ability & set their own assessment a few weeks into the start of yr 7 to set.

Luckily ds2's school is pretty relaxed about them.

RooneyMara Sun 12-May-13 09:07:29

I don't know if it helps at all, but I have told ds1, who is in yr5, not to worry about sats as they are to test the teachers, ie how much they have taught him, not his ability.

It seemed to calm him down a little bit as he was wondering whether to panic.

Longtallsally Sun 12-May-13 09:12:46

By the way, some teachers don't just "deliver education to the expected level". What an insulting phrase!

We teach our subjects, which we know and love, to students with whom we engage and strive to know. We seek to learn from them, to encourage and explore. The tests they sit along the way are at best a way of focusing them on certain aspects of the curriculum and at worst a distraction from learning.

How about coming up with some coping strategies rather than just pulling him out.

Rather than helping him address the issue and work through it, pulling him out is a bit of a cop out a lazy way out.

I work in CAMHS and have seen kids who have horrendous issues with anxiety and depression still have to sit their exams, it's really not easy to get any type of special dispensation.

What about his driving test, a levels, gcses, job interviews etc, you have to address this now rather than putting it off or next time he will expect you to do the same.

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