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Can a average child get top grades?

(77 Posts)
mam29 Sun 03-Mar-13 08:49:41

Just intrigued is all the good grades purly down to grade inflation?

Also on mumsnet here see huge amount of parents talk about

level 5 ad 6 sats like its the norm

The amount that do 11+ and have tutors.

does the tutoring turn everage student into a clever one therefore getting child into selective school?

At primary will the kids in bottom/middle sets ever reach to the top?

Is it involved parents, good school or effort that raises kids i suspect all 3.

lljkk Sun 03-Mar-13 18:23:18

not hitting level 3 no chance hitting 5/6 at year 6

Not true, your child is not a machine, she's still developing.
DS was all 2s in y2 & all 5s in y6.

schoolchauffeur Sun 03-Mar-13 18:27:12

You do sound like a really lovely Mum. You DD is still only 7- with two teens now I can say that they both progressed at different rates and really hit their stride in a school where the focus was on effort rather than attainment. I think being happy at school is the most important thing in primary.

I would also say that from what I have seen with my kids peers- "supporting " your kids is a more successful strategy than "pushing". So I think you are doing all the right stuff with your DD- ensuring home work is done, being there to answer questions, listening to reading And reading to them- I read to my DS until he was nearly 12- By bedtime he was really really tired and we got through nearly all Harry Potter this way as he finds reading hard work but liked to hear the stories. All the board games, craft stuff, cards etc and making sure as they got older that the evening routine encourages and supports them to get homework done early and then have time to relax and enjoy family time.

Both of mine struggled with some subjects at different stages and any attempts we had to do "extra workbooks" etc were a failure etc unless they initiated it. So we have always had the get all homework done early in weekend or holiday and then let the remainder of the time be for resting, chilling and having fun.

Paddlinglikehell Sun 03-Mar-13 22:27:12

I would love to know the answer to this too.

However, I personally think that you can improve a child's results.

For example, DD who is 8 Yr3, was below average at her other school, distracted and basically 'under the radar', beacuse was doing OKish. Moved her at start of Yr2, to another school and see a big difference in a year and a half.

I think she is average, but with the right input and homework every night, she is working at least a year above her classmates at her old school and inline with the kids at her new school. In Yr 3, I am just starting to see a big improvement. Whether that is age of course and it would have happened anyway, who knows, but I do know that without this extra encouragement, pushing, motivation,.

I sincerely hope that with the support at home and the motivatation at school, which is very empowering and positive, she will achieve more that she would have without the change.

As to her strengths, we still have no idea! She isn't particularly sporty, although loves doing sport, she enjoys English, not so much writing!, loves Science, but doesn't always take it all in! and hates maths. We do tennis, which she gets by at and horseriding, which she is good at, but takes for granted.

I just encourage her and keep it positive - whatever will be will be!

I think you can do no more that give them opportunities, ecouragement and support, the rest will happen in time.

Bit of a lottery really!

mam29 Sun 03-Mar-13 23:55:24

Thank you so much guys for kind words and advice. you been really lovely and helpful,

I must admit when her year 1 report cae back so bad I was upset I knew she found year 1 hard but school ket telling me everythings fine.

At that point the primary board was helpful.
When she wet back into year 2 and combined with youngest in year it was clear she was near bottom of class but middle year birthday as feb, older 15 went in 2/3class.

I tried to work it out with old school but they couldent seperate phonics test which she passed flying colours 38/40 with extra help with reading.

They dident seem concerened about maths at all.
They had low expectations and year 2teacher talked down to her and the obvious ability group tables and low level bullying from others about reading levels were just last straw.

she started at new school 5th november after october half term
1st trem all aboit settling in. They couldent grade her as dident really see enough ie writing they needed more, reading they said she needed extra help and would be in bottom guided reading group, maths and science ok.

she scored 1 b everything end of year 1 expectation is 1a so needs to climb 3sublevels just to get to average expectation of 2b dont want her playing catchup every year..

premove was very stressed out but new school very laid back she doesnt feel the pressure and although shes 2nd eldest in mixed yera 1 class and some year 1s are hitting highre than her hasent made her feel bad but goes to show that old school standards were lower.

Paddlinglike hell we sound very similar.

reasuring to know yours improved.
mines only just turned 7 and is trying very hard.
I think the school valuing other things no just academic and teaching in fun informal way is helping.

shes been getting 1 to 1 since xmas so week 7now 1to one with rapid read and snappy sounds.

I think she will find her feet in year 3 and year 2 could be very mixed year as on 3rd teacher but shes settled well and loves new school.
I really want her to be happy and achieve her best.
Being behind in old school was upsetting her and knocked her confidence with her telling me shes rubbish at maths.reading.

New teacher said she update me end of this term as im keen to see shes moved on from 1b.

God this parenting malarkeys stressful never stop worrying last year all done is worry about her education and beat myself up for making wrong choice.

her sister due to start next sept 2014 and baby boy 2015 hopefully at same school as eldest now attends even now their personalities so different god knows what worries they will bring.

FillyPutty Mon 04-Mar-13 01:17:59

Very bright children can get A*s with no effort. Above average, but not super-bright, can also get A*s, but it will take more work from school, parent or child (or some combination of the three)

KathleenWinsor Mon 04-Mar-13 06:19:48

PP you think intelligence is largely fixed rather than something that can develop then?

wordfactory Mon 04-Mar-13 08:53:49

Ability is most definitely not fixed.

However, a parent needs to be ever vigilent. Schools can be too keen to assess early abilty and assume a DC will progress in line with it.
Thus a level 3 will be expected to get a level 5 and will be expected to go on and get A*s.
A level 2 will not have such expectations upon him.

It can become a self fullfilling prophesy.

And in the long run, hard work, and more specifically application, are far more important than raw intelligence.

KathleenWinsor Mon 04-Mar-13 09:17:09

I wish I could like your post Wordfactory as I wholeheartedly agree & it's the biggest flaw in the current system as I see it. Those in the know at my school gamed the system to push the 2bs and 2as to 3c in Y2 & I had absolutely no idea about it. Those on the borderline can lose out...

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Mar-13 10:45:50

I agree Word.I have twin boys.1 got 3s and the other 2s-the difference on expectations since are staggering.

The sad thing is the one that got 2s matured later,as many do,and is in many ways brighter.

I have looked at the tracking system and Bingo they're aiming for 5s for one and 4s for the other.

Vietnammark Mon 04-Mar-13 10:46:37

Slightly off subject, and I am sure there has already been various nature v nature arguments on this board before, but I believe it does have some relevance so here goes.....

There is loads of research on this kind of stuff, which reach varying different conclusions. When it comes to IQ I think of the nature v nature argument like this (my personal opinion, based on what I have read, my experience and gut feeling), remembering that the average IQ is 100.

The average kid inherits between 50 and 70 points from their parents - I am not saying kids can't fall outside of his range. Let's call the average 60. Then somewhere between another 20 and 80 points can be gained from nurture/life experiences. To get to an IQ of 100 it obviously means that the average kid receives a further 40 points through nurture, which is at the low end of my suggested range. Therefore I am saying, that with the right environment the average kid, who started with 60 inherited points may be able to achieve an IQ of 140 - above 99th percentile.

If the above were correct then it would mean a kid who was born with average intelligence could end up with an IQ of anywhere between 80 and 140. There is obviously a huge difference between these two IQ scores and the potential academic successes that these scores allow.

The question was whether average kids could academically out perform. I believe, if caught early enough then the average kid has every chance to move substantially above the range of an average child, in terms of IQ. If not caught until later then the child still has the ability to move up, but to a lesser extent. If a child achieves A+ in most exams then no matter how they got there, by natural smarts, by being in a positive educational environment, by lots of hard work or a combination of these, they are by definition not/no longer an average child.

Agree that hard work is often more important than IQ.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Mar-13 10:48:38

Kathleen I was a teacher previously so was aware but reused to make my level 2 son's life a misery in year 2.Slightly regretting it now as you seem to need to fight for any level of high expectation but really he was more interested in Lego and playing back in year 2.

It's a shite system.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Mar-13 10:49:43


slipshodsibyl Mon 04-Mar-13 10:53:47

Are we conflating exam results and ability?

wordfactory Mon 04-Mar-13 11:06:50

slip I think ability can pertain to anyhting, really.

I am an able cook, but lack any ability as a tennis player grin.

In the context of this thread, I suppose we are talking about exam results as that is the measuring stick wihtin formal education.

Yellowtip Mon 04-Mar-13 11:11:49

FillyPutty that's a magnificently sweeping statement: that very bright children can get A*s with no effort. Really? None. What is your perspective on this? Are you a teacher? In what sort of school? I'm interested in the idea that no effort is required!

wordfactory Mon 04-Mar-13 11:15:23

polka I too have twins.
They wrere prem and summer born.
Both went to school unable to read or write etc.

However, I absolutely refused to allow any teacher to peg them at any particular ability level. I figured that before 11 is just too early to say.

And I was proved right!

Abra1d Mon 04-Mar-13 11:29:05

I don't think an average child would get A* in Maths or Physics IGCSE unless they were tutored to within an inch of their life. Or get A* in Latin GCSE.

Some exams are just more intellectually rigorous.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Mar-13 11:52:40

Word I too am refusing to allow my dc's entire future to be decided at 7 however it is hard work.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Mar-13 12:04:07

Agree with the application thing.The other twin is an utter swot.Has never played with toys and loves playing the piano,reading and doing workbooks(however dry and boring) in his free time.hmm

He really is no cleverer,he just applies himself and has a lot of drive.

The lack of expectations re the other twin hasn't helped his drive but we're getting there,hasn't helped my popularity at school but hey

wordfactory Mon 04-Mar-13 12:06:34

polka I was lucky in that my DC's school didn't bother with SATs.

And the teachers were very ammenable. At least to my face grin. Perhaps behind my back they rolled their eyes about Mrs Wordfactory.

I do recall one parent, whose child was one of the oldest in the year, asking me why I assumed my DC had high ability in the face of no evidence and I pointed out that I didn't! The point was, I didn't yet know, so why on earth would I assume they had low or average ability???

All I was asking was for everyone to keep an open mind...

crazymum53 Mon 04-Mar-13 12:06:40

Abra1d I think the OP is really referring to achievement at primary school rather than GCSE grades. However you could be incorrect in some cases, my Physics teacher often quoted that Einstein was not considered very highly by his Science teachers.
There is some evidence that the levels at the end of KS1 are very much linked to a child's maturity (which is not always the same as their chronological age). am very aware of many children in dds year group who were considered average (or slightly below average) in Y2 but did manage to obtain level 5s at the end of KS2 so yes it is possible.
It is also a matter for debate whether the sub-levels have much meaning so your child being labelled as below average because she is 1b rather than 1a could be overdoing it. 1b means that the child is a secure level 1 and used to be the expected level for the end of Y1 a few years ago.
Although most secondary schools do take note of the SATs levels children reach at the end of KS2, they do also use other tests to assess children and a good school should be able to identify children that are not reaching their full potential. It is possible that some children who reach level 5c in their SATs aren't really working at this level consistently and a "dip" on starting secondary school is not unusual.
A child who is average at the beginning of secondary school is usually expected to obtain C grades at GCSE. But this assumes equal ability across all subjects. They may obtain better grades in subjects that they are more interested or talented in.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Mar-13 12:09:22

Aren't they getting rid of levels,wonder what there will be instead.

Yellowtip Mon 04-Mar-13 12:52:33

word I think exactly the same open mindedness should prevail in the opposite direction. Just because a child is ahead of the game in Reception shouldn't mean that they're necessarily on track for Harvard or Yale.

One of my DDs appeared pretty hopeless in the early stages, perhaps up to Y4 or 5, I can't really remember. And she's doing absolutely fine on the grade front, no worries at all.

Mondrian Mon 04-Mar-13 12:55:03

I think Erikson hits the nail on the head in his 4th stage of theory of psychosocial development. Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to be successful. 4th stage relates to 6 - 11 age group so at primary school they are still learning how to cope with new social and academic demands, same goes for us the parents. So one can't really pass judgement on their future ability during the early stages of this phase.

wordfactory Mon 04-Mar-13 13:08:32

Absolutely yellow.

I've seen many an early starter, particularly a PFB, fail to live up to their illustrous beginnings.

It makes perfect sense to me tat people will speed up, slow down, suddenly find an aptitude for somehting...

It also makes sense to me that application is hugely important. Very few of us are so clever/talented that we can succeed without effort and application.

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