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What happens if a child unexpectedly spurts in Y3 plus?

(33 Posts)
Cortina Mon 11-Jul-11 12:46:45

I've read a lot here recently that says it isn't possible for a child to jump more than a couple of levels in a year etc. This is my concern about incremental levels, that they might hold a late developer or child that was young in the year back. Can anyone/teachers reassure?

To try to give an example, what would happen if you have a child that is very young for the year that joins Y3 at level 2B for example. A child that's seen as being middle of the road and 'average' that suddenly develops beyond anyones expectations? Within the cohort you also have a few starting Y3 that are level 3A and 3B, these children may be on the G&T register and seen as being generally very able. Those that are 3A may be sent into Y4 to work with an extension group there and are continually exposed to challenging work.

What happens if the 2B child demonstrates through their writing etc that they are capable of thoughtful and intelligent work and their work improves beyond their next 'target' etc. At the next assessment this would be recognised and let's say they're graded a 2A. In the meantime our G&T students are also assessed and they have also improved, some are now working at level 4C.

At the next assessment and during the course of the term it's realised that our friend at level 2A is actually exceeding all expectations and he is regraded a level 3C. Then times speeds on and before we know it it's the end of the term. Our most able end the year at level 4A and our spurter ends the year a level 3A. Everyone is thrilled about the progress this pupil has made, they've gone from a 2B to a 3A in Y3. However, due to the system and lower expectations our friend at 3A could really have been a 4A (like his friend) if he'd started the year with an 'able' tag and a higher level?

Does this ever happen?

crazygracieuk Mon 11-Jul-11 13:48:26

My oldest son learns in spurts. He left Y3 a 3c, year 4 a 4c and is leaving year 5 a 5c. He doesn't follow the MN rule of 2 sub levels a year.

In year 3 he was in the middle ability groups and by the end of year 4, had moved up to top groups. Most of the children in top group have been there since y1 but movement does happen.

lovecheese Mon 11-Jul-11 14:22:04

But wouldn't he have been tagged with an "able" label in year 2 if he was, at that time, working at the top end?

Surely a good teacher would not miss a child zooming ahead as you describe - if they can do the work of the top group during year 3 then they would be noticed and moved and targets reviewed. Surely?

lovecheese Mon 11-Jul-11 14:31:04

NorhamGardens asked a couple of questions along those lines, OP; is she/he still around?

Yoo Hoo, Norham!?

Flyonthewindscreen Mon 11-Jul-11 14:36:28

My DS left year 2 as a 2 in maths (don't think I was given a sub level) and has finished year 4 as a 4b so in his case as least, he wasn't stuck with a middle of the road tag and not encouraged.

lovecheese Mon 11-Jul-11 14:47:32

OP, forgot to add, FWIW my middle DD jumped 5 sub-levels between reception and year 1.

IndigoBell Mon 11-Jul-11 14:52:32

Are you asking if a child could go from a 2b to a 4a in one year? Ie could a child make more than 4 years progress in one year?

It's got to be an extremely rare occurance doesn't it.

Nothing to do with pigeon holing and expectations. Just down to the fact that 4 years progress takes approx 4 years to make........

Unless the child had some kind of SN that got fixed (ie had hearing or vision problems that were fixed) that would mean the orginal 2b grade was significantly lower than it should have been..........

I managed to largely cure underlying probs for my DS and my DD. They still only made 4 or 5 sublevels of progress in one year....... Not the 7 you think is possible.

Cortina Mon 11-Jul-11 14:54:16

A 2B at the end of our Y2 wouldn't be seen as 'able' just average, surely? In my example the child joins Y3 as a 2B.

Lovecheese I would hope that a teacher would spot a child that zoomed ahead in this way (and am sure many would) but my fear is that there may be some limitations in the system (especially if the teacher believed that ability was fairly fixed or wasn't competent). Most seem to think that by Y3 no child is really going to surprise them to this sort of degree, leaping four levels in a year etc. The very able ones have been identified and this isn't going to change as you are either intelligent, average or below average and that's fairly set (not my belief). EYFS level 9s are supposed to get level 3s at KS1 I believe, bright eleven year olds who scored level 5s are being let down by their secondary schools if they don't get the top grades at GCSE etc.

My honest view is that my son's class are all fairly 'able' some are have been perceived to be FAR more able very early on and accelerated and treated differently and so a self fulfilling prophecy is created. I imagine that it all evens out in the end, even if the potential of the child wasn't spotted in Y3/4 and they continued on the same trajectory by Y5 and certainly by GCSE it would have done? (The danger is of course that by the time the potential is realised, especially if it is great, the child doesn't 'believe' as it's never been recognised and acknowledged before. They've known they can produce better work and have as great an understanding as X or Y but because everyone overlooked them they doubt their own judgement) . I know that this sort of scenario happened when I was at school and assume with the current system there is less chance of a child with potential slipping through the net?

I have nothing to complain about compared to a friend of mine with a son in the same class. She asked me about the soldier we had to create from cardboard boxes for homework and how mentioned how inconvenient it was for her and she was sick of all the modeling he'd done this year. My son has been writing about soldiers as homework is differentiated and generally writing when this boy has been 'modeling'. This boy can write competently (from what I've seen on a couple of occasions), he and my son spent ages on a playdate sending letters to pen pals etc. It's a fairly minor issue, presumably this other boy will have a chance to show what he's capable of in class. We are not told our homework/work is differentiated, this mother assumed all had the same tasks.

IndigoBell Mon 11-Jul-11 15:02:22

No idea how you know how 'able' either your child is - or the rest of the class.

I was very surprised when the EP told me my DD was very bright - she sure hides it well.

And was equally surprised when DS2s report was glowing about his maths ability - I've seen neither hide nor hair evidence of it at home.

But statistically, there's something very odd going on if every kid in a class is 'very able'. Something very strange.

maxigirl Mon 11-Jul-11 15:04:07

I know it is not quite the same, but my ds went from scoring 7s in reading and numeracy and writing in his EYFS, to just finishing year 1 with NC level 3s in those subjects. The teachers seem to do regular assessments and he was moved up groups throughout the year.

Cortina Mon 11-Jul-11 15:11:19

I've helped in the class in a couple of different capacities so have an approximate, but not detailed idea. My son is currently lower middle ability table with a 2A at the end of Y2 in maths for example. They are mixing the classes next year, they don't usually, and I wonder if this may be why. We have a two form entry and both are large classes.

It's not that every child is very able, more that they seem generally to have current attainment that's average and above. Glad your children got such good reports Indigo.

Cortina Mon 11-Jul-11 15:16:47

Maxigirl, we had some parents that were pushing and pushing for their children to be assessed a few times in Y1, with good reason in some cases I'd say. This teacher was always accommodating particularly when it came to raising book bands, which automatically raises reading NC level in our school. These children have ended up much further ahead than others as we approach the end of Y2. People always say that NC levels don't matter a jot in the great scheme of things and parents only get their knickers in a twist about them as they are being competitive but my concerns are outlined above. Perhaps they are unfounded?

pozzled Mon 11-Jul-11 15:26:54

"The very able ones have been identified and this isn't going to change as you are either intelligent, average or below average and that's fairly set (not my belief)."

I think you are doing the teachers an injustice here- speaking as a Primary teacher myself! G&T registers are NOT set in stone, neither are ability groups. I worked with a class recently where the 'able' children had been in the top group for a while, were very confident and in some cases, quite lazy. Some of the 'less able' were really hard workers and made excellent progress. By the end of the year, the class groups were very different from the beginning.

"What happens if the 2B child demonstrates through their writing etc that they are capable of thoughtful and intelligent work and their work improves beyond their next 'target' etc. At the next assessment this would be recognised and let's say they're graded a 2A. In the meantime our G&T students are also assessed and they have also improved, some are now working at level 4C."

Again, you are underestimating us! We don't assess by saying 'Oh, they have made progress so we'll move them up a level". We assess by looking at the work they have produced and comparing it closely against the APP (Assessing Pupil Progress) grids. So if a child genuinely has moved up a whole level, this should be picked up. Most schools also have moderation staff meetings where we look at a wide range of work and check that we are all assessing to the same standards. So it really is rare IME for a child to be working far above the level that they are on paper.

Cortina Mon 11-Jul-11 15:40:57

Hi Pozzled, I don't mean to be rude about primary teachers, I have a very high regard for them. I am interested in the psychology and what's often believed subconsciously by all of us, it's human nature to label, we all do it. There's been some interesting research.

For example it's interesting that you mention that 'less able' had made excellent progress through hard work. Once you are 'able' you are rarely recategorised, excuses are made for you not living up to your early billing and those that go on to join the 'able' are often 'less able' who've worked hard. It's rare we decide a gifted child or an exceptionally able child perhaps wasn't in the first place. Good to hear that you had fluidity in your groups.

I don't know how it works exactly so that's the kind of reassurance I was looking for, thank you. In our school though the different groups receive differentiated work. Higher guided reading groups would have texts that would be more challenging, more difficult questions asked etc. An 'Outliers' type situation could potentially play out? These children are being treated continually as being more intelligent so in this sense they become so. Would the sort of child I describe always have the chance to reveal themselves to be as capable as they had become if they were coasting? Would this vary depending on the school and the setting?

pozzled Mon 11-Jul-11 16:10:37

I didn't mean to suggest in my post that I was offended or anything like that, I was just trying to explain how it is in my experience.

I think that what you're describing can happen but probably depends a lot on the school. There's certainly a balance needed between differentiating the work to an appropriate level, while still allowing all children to reach their potential. A good school will have thought about how to avoid holding back children who may be slow starters. In a good school I'd expect to see some/all of the following:

*Fluid groups, reviewed regularly
*'Challenging' work for all e.g. more complex questions can be asked about even fairly simple reading texts.
*All children encouraged to participate in whole class discussion
*Sometimes allow children to choose their own difficulty level - 'If you're confident you can try x, if you'd like some extra practice you can do y'
*Some open-ended tasks- accessible to everyone but can be taken to a higher level, like maths investigations. Most writing tasks are like this anyway.
*If children are set by ability, some overlap in content e.g. extra support for the 'lowest' group in the middle set and the 'highest' group in the bottom set.

That's all that occurs to me right now, I'm sure there's loads more.

I think that it would be possible for the child you describe to be missed, in a school where the groups are more rigid, and are always given different work. I think a child in a higher group who was struggling would be identified more easily than a child in a lower group who was capable of more. Because if you never provide harder work you'll never know if they could do it.

However, I would like to believe that schools where this could happen are in the minority nowadays.

Cortina Mon 11-Jul-11 16:21:19

Thank you. I'm particularly encouraged by 'A good school will have thought about how to avoid holding back children who may be slow starters.'

Feenie Mon 11-Jul-11 16:26:52

I've read a lot here recently that says it isn't possible for a child to jump more than a couple of levels in a year etc

No, I don't think you have read that. Where has any poster said it? I am sure no teacher has. I think you are misinterpreting this point, Cortina.

Cortina Mon 11-Jul-11 16:46:26

Hi Feenie. It was the many comments along these lines that alerted me (although this particular one isn't from a teacher I think):

Unless your school uses a different system, I think it's highly unlikely. 4b is the expected level by the end of year 6, with high achievers getting a 5, so I think it's really unlikely at the end of year 3. What did these kids get in their sats this time last year? 2b is normal at the end of year 2 - I think a jump from a 2b to a 4b in one year is pretty impossible...

Feenie Mon 11-Jul-11 16:48:26

Blimey. I stand corrected, thanks Cortina. I'm still hopimg a teacher wouldn't say something like that though.

spanieleyes Mon 11-Jul-11 17:07:36

I wouldn't as one of my children improved from a 2b to a 4b in writing last year. This year one has risen from a 2A to a 4b and another has gone from a 2A to a 4C . Children make progress at different rates and different times.

mrz Mon 11-Jul-11 17:25:44

We've had 2 children move up two full levels in 18 months and one of our children arrived with us half way through Y4 on a 1b and has just achieved 5s in reading and writing in his SATs.

coppertop Mon 11-Jul-11 17:50:42

My ds surprised everyone (including me) by jumping two full levels in his end-of-year tests in Yr3. He's one of the younger children in his class and also has SN. He's now in Yr6 and has been in everything from the lowest group to the highest one, depending on what his needs were at that particular time.

My experience has been that there is a lot of movements between groups and that children aren't 'pigeon-holed' into particular categories.

badbadmummy Mon 11-Jul-11 22:53:38

Really interesting discussion.

I think a lot depends on the teacher's ability, the child's own attitude to work and how supportive the parents are.

My dd has had a weak teacher this year, and has made little or no progress. Despite going to Juniors (3 form entry) with a level 3 in literacy and a 2A in Maths, she has been placed in the middle sets for both. She has given up trying as I think she doesn't have any challenge or feel the need to keep up with the more able ones. I've spoken to the teacher and the Head, with no joy, and am praying for a decent teacher next year or we will have to consider moving hersad

We are reading with her every night, doing Maths Whizz at home and trying to keep her learning going ourselves. If we hadn't done that I dread to think where she'd be...

waitawhile Mon 11-Jul-11 23:11:44

I'm interested in this sort of thread. My DC has missed some parts of the formal learning here in the UK. We've decided to get some help for DC over the summer because we know there were some things DC has never covered before. DC's grades will not just be influenced by ability but exposure. Of course I do feel that DC has to find their own level and I hope that will happen over year 3/4. The idea is to make sure that DC doesn't miss anything that would hold her back (not in her case but let's say place value etc)

reallytired Mon 11-Jul-11 23:20:32

If a child has glue ear or has EAL then it may hold back their learning. Once the obsticle (ie. deafness or not understanding English) is overcome they might fly. Children regularly go up and tables at my son's school.

My ds school does optional SATs (although my son complains they aren't optional as far as he is concerned) and these are used to decide which children are top table, middle table etc.

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