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Are expected levels intentionally low?

(21 Posts)
WesternIsle Sat 02-Jul-11 13:13:58

I'm currently looking at schools for my children both primary and secondary and I can't believe that all of these schools are so far above average.

They are publishing statistics stating that they have 97%-100% pupils achieving Level 3 for Year 2, 97.5%-100% pupils achieving Level 5 for Year 6, and 98%-100% A*-B for GCSEs.

None of these schools are selective. I can't believe that all (8 schools) these schools have managed to pick geniuses only from a non-selective process.

I am now thinking that the government stating that by the end of Year 2 they expect 2B, is purposely low, to enable them to achieve "good" results and isn't actually really indicitaive of the ability of an "average" 7 year old for example - and that this is the situation the whole way through.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 02-Jul-11 13:16:10

Targets are set for individual students so you're better off looking at the CVA (value added) data.

Even so, it's a farce. Sometimes the levels I'm expected to get kids up to seem to have been pulled out of a hat confused.

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 02-Jul-11 14:10:29

I wonder this. When I attended DS1's parents evening in December after just one term, according to the teachers sheet he had achieved almost everything expected by the end of reception. He is smart and interested but no more so than any others in his class so was a bit hmm. TBH they do have a very very varied intake at his school of both social classes and ethnic backgrounds so I think it has to be achieveable for the majority if that makes sense.

I could of course be completely wrong.

redskyatnight Sat 02-Jul-11 14:19:36

99-100% nationally don't achieve those things though ... Do you live in a particular "middle class" area? Or maybe the schools are overinflating grades?

DC's school is in a very average catchment and they get ... very average results.

I also think it is possible to get good results for results sake iyswim. In my limited sample of 2 children, I don't think they varied much in their ability at the end of Reception and yet DD has got significantly better "results" at that stage. Possibly cynical, but the school is being pushed by Ofsted to improve results, and I've seen much more teaching targetted at ticking boxes in DD's year than there was in DS's.

AdelaofBlois Sat 02-Jul-11 15:02:13

Some 'targets' are expectations not averages. This is best thought about at GCSE-5 A*-B passes inc English and Maths is what many employers and others view as expected. Government and teaching policy is aimed at getting these to 100%, not stabilising them at 50%. To that extent, arguing that targets are low because DCs are 'not geniuses' but are meeting targets is nonsensical, these are what in an ideal world we would hope all learners achieve them.

But the attainment levels for schools you write of are well above national averages (and their own data should include national and sometimes LA averages too). You need to decide whether this is because of intake (especially for KS1), teaching to the test or generally good teaching to all abilities. The school I work at, for instance, has much higher average attainment than the one my DS will go to, but I don't think would help him attain as much.

clutteredup Sun 03-Jul-11 20:17:57

I wish one of the schools around where we are got results like that!

Our schools were pleased to 'nearly ' get the national expectations. Our primaries don't even achieve that for Level2 at Yr2 and Level4 at Yr6 - not to mention the secondaries 74% 5 A* - C is the best we can manage and that's an 'outstanding' school. Are you looking state or private here?

clutteredup Sun 03-Jul-11 20:18:45

Oh and if you included English and Maths at GCSE outr 'outstanding' school drops to 54% shock

LovetheHarp Sun 03-Jul-11 21:07:19

It must be a private or very selective school. I have never heard of a non selective school achieving those results!

BusterGut Sun 03-Jul-11 23:33:19

The end of KS results would be for specific subjects. You have generalised the level achieved. What do you mean that a school achieves 97-100% L3? Is that in writing? in reading? in maths?

i would be very hmm about that, especially in writing. Many children do not have the vocabulary, grammatical and oral skills to be able to achieve a level 3 in writing by the age of 7.

WesternIsle Mon 04-Jul-11 00:20:16

These are local Church (Catholic and C of E) state schools (primary), and non-selective (read v cheap) independent senior schools.

I don't know whether Writing, Reading or Maths, they just said statements
97% Level 3 2010 for example. This was contacting the schools asking the question.

IndigoBell Mon 04-Jul-11 06:23:06

But all independent schools are selective - they're just not all academically selective.

Obv they all select based on your ability to pay. And they select based on the fact that the parents value that kind of a n education.

But they also select on behaviour and personality. Basically if there are any disruptive pupils in the class they can kick them out - something a state school can't do.

If they do any kind of interview of the kids before offering them a place, they are selecting on personality traits.

L3 in KS1 and L5 in KS2 aren't that hard. That's why 20 -30% of kids get them. So if you select by being independent you can achieve those results - especially if you pressure / hothouse the kids.

What you should really be asking is how many children leave the school (and what they look for at the non selective interview). I suspect that if your child turns out to have any kind of learning difficulties or any kind of behaviour issues they will get kicked out.

Also of course - are the children happy there?

I would never choose a school with good results like these, because I'd be concerned about how they got such good results.

jgbmum Mon 04-Jul-11 08:25:13

The Guardian publishes an annual list of all shools by LEA with the value added scores. The list is here

I think it is a good starting point, but as others have pointed out, the catchment area and the willingness of schools to teach to the test have a huge influence on the results.

colditz Mon 04-Jul-11 08:28:58

Level 3 at Ks1 sats isn't hard at all. Ds1 has a statement of ASD and ADHD - and is in anon selective 'satisfactory' primary school - but he still hit level 3 for all but his writing.

Teachermumof3 Mon 04-Jul-11 09:19:56

That's high. Even the 'best' schools in our area are getting 94-95% level 4+, but for that sort of percentage to get a level 5 is very suprising. How many are getting level 4 at the end of Ks2 then-100%?

Which county do you live in, out of interest?

IndigoBell Mon 04-Jul-11 10:12:55

Selective indep schools get most of their kids through to a level 6 at the end of KS2.

Teachermumof3 Mon 04-Jul-11 11:34:39

Selective indep schools get most of their kids through to a level 6 at the end of KS2.

This wasn't a selective school, though.

IndigoBell Mon 04-Jul-11 12:54:43

Exactly. That's my point. Level 5 is what you get in a non selective. In a selective you'd get a level 6.

Teachermumof3 Mon 04-Jul-11 13:01:08

Exactly. That's my point. Level 5 is what you get in a non selective. In a selective you'd get a level 6.

A level 4 is what you get in a non-selective, with some (but not 95%) achieving a level 5.

IndigoBell Mon 04-Jul-11 13:06:29

Non selective indep not non selective state.

As I said all independents are selective - they just don't all select on academic ability.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 04-Jul-11 13:12:33

Any independent school, and any oversubscribed faith school is selective. They select by parents ability to jump through hoops to get their kids in. Families for whom education is important will tend to have kids who do better in school.

Teachermumof3 Mon 04-Jul-11 13:29:15

Sorry, Indigobell-I missed Westernisle's second post saying they were C/E and independent schools!

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