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Help understanding National Curriculum levels

(17 Posts)
JaneBennet Fri 24-Jun-11 04:41:13

Is there anywhere online that explains the National Curriculum levels properly? Had some confusing news from school and I wanted some info before I go in to discuss it. I'm specifically interested in Year 3 maths and the difference between 3a, 3b & 3c.

Thanks smile

lovecheese Fri 24-Jun-11 08:52:41

Don't know the ins and outs, Jane, but I do know that 3c is lowest, 3b middle and 3a highest - the next jump after 3a is 4c.

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 24-Jun-11 08:55:30

3c is about average for the end of year 3.

IndigoBell Fri 24-Jun-11 09:30:49

The NC only states what a level 3 is.

Then it's down to the teacher's judgement how 'secure' they are working at a level 3, as to whether they give them an a, b, or c....

There will always be disputes about exactly what level a piece of work is....

teacherwith2kids Fri 24-Jun-11 09:43:56


If you can negotiate teaching jargon, then a good place to start might be the Maths APP grids. Look at the Level 2/3 and level 3/4 ones.

Basically, if you look at the satatements in Level 3, if your child can do some things in all the columns INDEPENDENTLY AND REMOTE IN TIME FROM DIRECT TEACHING OF THAT SKILL then they are working at a low level 3 (3c) (possible also if they are very good in some columns and have very little in others - for example some of my class are excellent at data handling and are working in level 4 for that, but in knowledge of number facts they are relatively weak and have achieved only all the Level 2 statements for that).

If they can do everything in pretty much every column (bit in capitals applies here too), with a few gaps in indiviual items here and there - they are a secure 3 (3b)

If they can do everything in every column (insert bit in capitals again) and a few things in Level 4 - they are a high 3 (3a)

[It's more subtle than that to arrive at an overall level, before a teacher shouts at me for getting it wrong - but in layman's terms that's pretty much how it works]

I have always found the fact that 3c is lower and 3a higher confusing... but that's just me.

If a child can do e.g. mental addition of 2 digit numbers during the week that it is specifically taught, but cannot do that a few weeks later, then they are counted as NOT having achieved that - it's really important that they can do it independently and not directly after being taught.

JaneBennet Fri 24-Jun-11 11:19:44

Great thanks, it's as I thought but wanted to be sure before talking with DC's teacher. There's obviously something wrong as DC has been consistently given a certain 3 sub-level throughout Year 3 (which is the same as DC's Year 2 SATS level) and tested a sub-level higher than that in the end of year assessments this year.

The level DC has been given at the end of the year is two sub-levels below assessment and a sub-level below where DC was at the end of last year. I realise that it sounds cryptic as I don't want to provide DC's actual levels. But we have been told DC is consistently and independently working beyond the numeracy targets this year and attends a weekly class with the next year group leader. My concern is the apparent 'drop' with no communication from DC's teacher.

lovecheese Fri 24-Jun-11 12:03:13

Jane, logic puzzles were never my strong point, especially with 3 DC around my feet! Can you tell us the levels, it would make offering advice easier!

JaneBennet Fri 24-Jun-11 12:18:09

LOL I'm so cautious with certain parents at school etc that it's carried across here. As long as no-one recognises me loitering at DCs school with my dog-eared copies of various Austen novels, I suppose we should OK.

So DChild got a 3b for Maths in Year 2 SATS. Year 3 teacher reported 3b in Nov and again earlier this year. DC got a 3a in the end of year 3 assessment but the teacher has reported a 3c as the end of year level. DChild also does a weekly class with a Year 4 teacher instead of the Year 3 class.

My concern is not where DC is compared to others or the national average but why DC has effectively dropped a sub-level when progress has been so good.

teacherwith2kids Fri 24-Jun-11 13:05:41

That sounds odd, almost like a clerical error. Definitely worth checking in a 'well, you said 3b twice during the year, do you really mean 3c now?' fact-finding type of way.

One thing to beware of is that some school progress tracking systems report all Level 3s in SATs at the end of Year 2 as 3b, as in fact the Year 2 levels are simply 'Level 3' - undifferentiated. So the 3b at the end of Year 2 MAY be an artefact - DChild may have got a Level 3, which is then recorded as a 3b (Secure 3) for the school reporting system whereas in fact it may be a Level 3c (Low 3).

JaneBennet Fri 24-Jun-11 16:19:41

Thanks, that's what I'm planning to do after the weekend. Just wanted to be sure that I wasn't making a rookie mistake with my eldest ;)

Feenie Fri 24-Jun-11 17:31:05

Yep, bet it's a mistake. Bet she's a 4c. Obviously you are right to ask though.

Jan010 Fri 24-Jun-11 22:47:35

Years 3 and 4 are a weird lot- they're expected to make 2 sub level jumps within the two years. By the end of Year 4, they should be a 3c. That way, in Year 5 they'll be a 3a and in Year 6 they'll be a 4b.

In year 2, 2b is the average. Level 3 is sort of normal for year 3 and 4.

What specifically do you want to know about sub-levels, bearing in mind some schools base it on QCA tests, and others on APP...?

Mum2be79 Sat 25-Jun-11 09:13:45

Y2 SATS do not record the sub levels beyond a level 3. If a child is a level 3 they are recorded as that not a 3B. However, we were informed by the LEA that if a child is recorded as a level 3 at the end of Y2 in any subject, we must be confident that they are a 3B in teacher assessments. It could be that you have been given a teacher assessment grade and not the official Y2 SAT grade. I had a couple of children who scored only 2 marks above a level 3 in the maths paper but because my TAs had them only as 2A, that is what they were recorded as. The must be CONSISTENTLY achieving a 3B to be awarded level 3 in TAs.
I hate to say it but am wondering if your child was graded too high in Y2. Your DC may have got level 3 in his/her SAT paper and have elements of a level 3 but it would have been wiser to give the grade as 2A. Also we are told that the Y2/3 transitional problems that is common in schools mean that children are actually only expected to make one sub level progress in year 3. So at the end of Y1 it is 1a/2c, Y2 the average is 2a/2b, at the end of Y3 it is 2a/3c. Y4 it is 3b/3a. Y5 it is 4c/4b and Y6 it is 4a/4b (1 sub level progress in Y6). Level 5 is achieved by higher attainers and not seen to be 'average' for Y6. Children recorded as level 3 in Y2 are recorded in national data to be on target to get level 5 at Y6. If they do not, this brings down the school's value added scores. Schools who achieve highly on VA scores are those who either assess children accurately at Y2 or in some cases (dare I say it) too low so as to show increased VA at the end of KS2.

Feenie Sat 25-Jun-11 09:21:29

It could be that you have been given a teacher assessment grade and not the official Y2 SAT grade.

The 'official Y2 SAT grade' IS teacher assessment, Mum2be79.

It's unlikely that the Y2 assesssment is wrong - Y2 teachers have to provide more evidence than anyone in the school, and are also moderated frequently, so they usually know exactly what they are doing.

I've never heard of a one sublevel target in Y3 - I guess it could be sensible for separate infant/junior schools, where there are genuine transitional problems, but since Y3 and Y2 started using the same whole school assessment criteria the gap that used to exist is not really apparent, i.e. the two systems used to measure Y2 and Y3 attainment pre-2005 were not comparable.

Oh, and CVA is getting binned now, isn't it?

teacherwith2kids Sat 25-Jun-11 10:53:53

CVA is being binned (as in the contextual 'fiddle factor') but I believe that 'plain vanilla' VA (as in how much progress children make between Year 2 and Year 6 = Year 6 SATs minus Year 2 SATs) will be used instead?

Feenie Sat 25-Jun-11 11:58:07

Yes, that's how I understand it also.

JaneBennet Sun 26-Jun-11 16:07:33

Many thanks to everyone for the very useful information, it was in fact a typo.

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