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Median pupil results to judge your child's performance?

(19 Posts)
Cortina Wed 12-Oct-11 15:31:25

A friend at our local non-selective prep was shocked when I told her our state primary gives now gives no real indication of how our children are doing. She said she gets a median pupil result so she can gauge where her child is at in terms of current attainment as regards the class.

Our school has recently ruled not to give NC levels to parents, apparently parents found these to be confusing. I just wondered if this 'median pupil' idea was common policy in prep schools? Interestingly it seems to me when there's more transparency about how children are doing - at least compared to the national average - there's less competitiveness amongst parents.

seeker Wed 12-Oct-11 15:39:01

Your primary school cannot refuse to tell you your child's NC levels at the end of year3 and 6. And I would be very surprised if your child's teacher refused to give you your child's levels if you ask qt any other time.

Hulababy Wed 12-Oct-11 15:44:12

DD goes to a prep school but we do not get given a median class score.
We do get told if the child is working at, above or below national averages on reports.

Iamnotminterested Wed 12-Oct-11 15:49:03

Cortina so your friend get's a "ranking" for her child, so to speak?

Why? I want to know how MY child is doing, I don't give a monkeys about the others.

Cortina Wed 12-Oct-11 15:52:08

They used to include NC levels on reports but don't any longer - apart from SAT years I suspect. I will ask thoughsmile Other parents won't generally as will fear seeming pushy I think. It's useful to know as much about current academic strengths and weaknesses as fully as possible I believe (especially if grammar school may be on the radar depending on these
strengths/weaknesses). Our reports have become much more holistic/woolly over the years.

Friends at independent schools back in the dark ages had form lists posted outside the classroom complete with your position in class for all to see. Would others honestly like to see where their child was in relation to others in the class?

AMumInScotland Wed 12-Oct-11 15:53:00

The median wouldn't tell you how they compare with the national average though - only with their current classmates. That may be interesting, but it won't necessarily tell you how they compare more widely.

Iamnotminterested Wed 12-Oct-11 15:54:36

Sorry for the rogue apostrophe in my post.blush

mycarscallednev Wed 12-Oct-11 15:56:48

My daughter is at a Prep, my son is Home Educated. My daughter gets a grade for effort, one for her overall mark, and that is put against the set average - to gain an insight as to how she is doing in comparision. We get a written report each half term - when she was at Primary we had one written report at the end of each year - too late then to do anything about a fall in grade or effort, or indeed anything else. The passing of information is so much better, but then, maybe our Primary school wasn't the best....hence Home Educating our disabled son - he was left to manage alone despite an SEN of 30 hours 1-1!

Cortina Wed 12-Oct-11 16:05:01

AMumInScotland - pupils at this school (although it's not selective) often go onto an independent secondary that is selective and very high in the league tables 86% (A*-A at A'level sort of results). I wonder if this is the prep's way of letting you know if your child stands a chance?

Interested in their rationale and whether this happens at other preps? To be honest I imagine a national average score is not going to be tell them anything meaningful as the school average will generally be higher.

There seems to be a growing feeling at our school anyway that being interested in academic performance is intrinsically 'wrong' and suggests you are altogether sinister and self-interested as parents. If we ask for details about time-table for day, the way things are delivered or structured etc it's generally frowned upon too. There's a lack of transparency, a feeling we should leave the teachers to do what they do best and not to question. I wonder if that's what causes some of the 'book band' paranoia you see? Parents don't really know how their children are doing academically so jump on the smallest tangible measure?

merrymonsters Wed 12-Oct-11 16:24:44

Our state school gives NC levels at the end of every year from year 1 and not just years 2 and 6. I suspect all the parents would ask anyway at our school so they may as well put it on the report.

I'm sure they'd have to tell you if you ask.

redskyatnight Wed 12-Oct-11 17:20:59

We always have access to our children's assessment folders at parents' evenings (and other times if we ask). I think these are more useful than a "grade" as you can see strength and weakness and also (for example) that although your child is graded as 1a overall actually they can do quite a lot of level 2 things.

Pupil median seems completely pointless. My DC are 2 school years apart and DD's year group (as a whole) is markedly less high achieving than DS's. I actually think DD has had better teaching than DS so this is a reflection of the particular peer group, not the school.

cory Wed 12-Oct-11 19:54:50

Agree with others that median results sound completely pointless. What I would want to know about any child of mine would be twofold:

How is he doing in the context of national expectations, i.e. is he where a child his age ought to be (or above)?

Has he been making progress since last time, i.e. is he actually having a worthwhile learning experience?

whenIgetto3 Wed 12-Oct-11 22:42:03

Our prep school gives the class average, year average and your childs score on all the exam marks. It then goes on to give your childs, the class and year NC level on all the results. In some ways, along with the half termly written reports it is a bit of information overload (especially with 3 of them there) and I need a separate filing cabinet just for the DCs school reports grin Personally I think I get more from the termly parents evenings than the reports and grades. I don't really care if they are above or below average (they are all above so view may change if one slips below)blush but more that they are happy, trying their best and being good

TheFallenMadonna Wed 12-Oct-11 22:45:23

Surely the median pupil results would only be useful if benchmarked against national average. It's really a pretty small sample (what with it being a private school and all wink). Which means you could miss them out altogether really...

whenIgetto3 Wed 12-Oct-11 22:50:06

Think it is so that when they get a low mark, which DD did in Math last year, you can see that the whole year got a low mark as the test was hard. The fact that they do give the NC level as well is useful in some ways, just to judge the school is performing. The median isn't really a small group in our school, they have 3 sets in each subject with 14-16 in a set, so would be bigger than a single intake state schoolwink

lovingthecoast Wed 12-Oct-11 22:54:17

Everything Cory said.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 12-Oct-11 22:56:08

Hmm. Yes. But a low class mark could mean the test was hard (in which case why have they written a test that everyone has done badly on?), or it could mean that they have been badly taught.

You need the levels to know which, don't you? In which case, why give the percentage at all?

whenIgetto3 Wed 12-Oct-11 23:08:23

well they were all well above the NC level so I do agree I didn't really see the point of the actual mark. Guess some schools could use it to cover up bad teaching/ underperformance. Hadn't thought of it that way, so am now glad that our school gives the NC level too. When I say they all got a low mark it was 69% average (a lot lower than the rest of their test scores which had averages around 85%) so if they hadn't of given the average you may have wondered why DD got 90+% on all exams bar maths where she only got 85% IYSWIM

whenIgetto3 Wed 12-Oct-11 23:10:25

It could also be that as we are paying the school thinks we need to be bamboozled with lots of figures as none of us understand them and hence won't complain grin

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