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Last teacher levelled their class way too high

(105 Posts)
spreston Tue 18-Sep-12 20:32:02

Child has just entered Y3 and my OH met with their new teacher yesterday after school. Our child had level 3s across the board at the end of Y2 and we were led to believe that this was very good, above expectation.

New teacher has said that the Y2 teacher overinflated the levels last year and out of the 12 children that got level 3s only 2 actually deserved them. So we are told that our child may not make the expected 2 sub levels progress this year due to a slump in Y3 and because she is actually only a 2a in reading, 2b in writing and 2b in maths.

Is there anything that we can do? And how can this go unnoticed?
It is a good school in London, received outstanding at last oftsted but seems to have a lot of new, young and inexperienced teachers. May explain why the levelling was all wrong last year...

spreston Tue 18-Sep-12 20:34:31

Also want to add that the Y3 teacher did take considerable time to go through how work is levelled and used examples to support it. And it was clear to me that she shouldn't have been a level 3 at the end of Y2 anyway. So we have a child who thought they were level 3 and felt proud who now will have to know that they weren't actually a level 3 at all.

clam Tue 18-Sep-12 20:54:53

Were the Y2 levels not externally validated? Or at least, a random selection, in order to verify accuracy?
Is this the same school? And if so, what is the Head Teacher's position on her Year 3 staff casting doubt on the professionalism of her Year 2 staff? There are many Y3 teachers who express private doubts about the levels of children coming up. We do in our school (privately) but the results have been checked and we have to run with it.

WofflingOn Tue 18-Sep-12 20:57:46

We level work throughout the school, so Y3 and Y2 regularly level each others' classes. That way what constitutes a 3c or a 3b is the same in both years and requires a considerable amount of evidence.

juniper904 Tue 18-Sep-12 20:58:37

We have this issue every year, and it's a pain in the arse for us as war 3 teachers.

I frequently knock back levels. I asked my mum to level some of their writing (she taught year 2 for 38 years) and she, independently, gave the same levels as me and scoffed when I told her what the last teachers had said.

Unfortunately, lots of teachers over inflate grades to improve their own rating. And this will only get worse now out pay can be adjusted based on children's progress.

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:03:04

Y2 have to use whole school assessment procedures, since their assessment is teacher assessment. The whole assessment picture would have been built up throughout the year. Inexperienced or not, the process would usually be very thorough.

How does the Y3 teacher know their levels so precisely after 5 minutes just two weeks?

Sounds to me like she has retested them and found a dip - that's NOT a full assessment picture, and a dip may well be present after 6 weeks off. And if she used Y3 materials to one off test then she is not comparing like with like.

spreston Tue 18-Sep-12 21:09:15

Well I'm not sure but it does seem as if our child is a level 2 and not a level 3. When we looked back at her work from Y2 with the Y3 teacher it didn't seem to 'fit' the Level 3 criteria the school uses (mainly we looked at writing). The Y3 teacher based her levelling on last year's work. She also said that as a school they will be starting to level between classes this year as if it wasn;t soemthing they were already doing.

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:11:28

I am still hmm that a class teacher has downgraded 10 level 3s with seemingly no involvement from the Head or senior management.

It is a Big Deal!

If they really are wrong, this will have huge implications for the school later on.

clam Tue 18-Sep-12 21:11:46

Can I ask again if the Head knows what the Yr 3 teacher has been saying? Mine would go bananas! It reflects really badly on the school.

Quodlibet Tue 18-Sep-12 21:13:23

I know some primary teachers whose Heads actually pressure them to 'show' improvement in levels even when the teacher themselves aren't sure those levels can be reliably demonstrated. It's madness borne of all this ridiculous target setting in my opinion.

clam Tue 18-Sep-12 21:14:22

And I wonder what the Y2 teacher would have to say about one of her colleagues trawling through her previous work with a parent, re-levelling it and making disparaging remarks about her ability to do her job properly. Even if there are issues.

spreston Tue 18-Sep-12 21:16:14

We have a meeting with the Head on Friday. It does seem as if she is fully aware of this. Y3 teacher has implied that all parents concerned need to meet with the HT. The levels aren't officially going down to Level 2 but we just have to be aware of it --- apparantly! I must speak with other parents and see what they think.

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:19:06

They can't change them, there is no going back - and the school will have to ensure those children make 2 levels of progress between Y2 and Y6.

Most, most strange. Let us know what the Head says!

clam Tue 18-Sep-12 21:19:13

quodlibet Absolutely agree. And I have a HT who does similar. (Noticed that a lot of my carefully-thought-out levels last June had been altered once on the SIMs target-tracker, as they weren't considered "high enough"). But that's kind of her look-out, isn't it? But for a teacher to do this off her own bat is, quite frankly, not on.

ReallyTired Tue 18-Sep-12 21:19:22

"o we have a child who thought they were level 3 and felt proud who now will have to know that they weren't actually a level 3 at all. "

Why tell the child. Does it really matter. Level 3 at keystage 1 is different to a level 3 at key stage 2. Also children often go backwards in the holidays.

I don't think there will be huge implications. Juniors is a different way of a working to infants and its not unusual to go backwards. Far more independence is expected in juniors than infants.

Does it really matter if your DD scraped a level 3 before the holidays but is now a high 2a. The important thing is that she has work that is differentiated to her needs. Maybe she needs revision of some of the old key stage 1 work.

clam Tue 18-Sep-12 21:21:36

feenie What is it particularly that you find most strange?

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:23:01

Level 3 at keystage 1 is different to a level 3 at key stage 2

Noooooooo, it really isn't. Unless the infant and junior schools are separate, then it can happen (but shouldn't). Since 2005 the assessment procedures used to teacher assess should be the same procedures used across the whole school. Frequent whole school moderation should keep levels consistent.

loolooskiptotheloo Tue 18-Sep-12 21:23:25

i'd be interested to know what the head says about it infant/junior schools or a straight through primary school?

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:24:46

That, if the situation is as described, only the class teacher seems to have met with parents on her own. As you and I know clam, this is a massive issue, and it seems strange that she has been left to deal with parents to explain on her own initially.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 18-Sep-12 21:27:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:31:19

It's also quite often an issue between primary and secondary too, whereby an end of KS2 level is awarded and yet doesn't stack up against the work or testing yr 7. I do wonder if a primary level 5 is the same creature as a secondary level 5 - it should be but often, ime, isn't.

Since KS2 tests are externally marked, that would be an issue for NC tests then, and the authority which sets and marks them, which is nothing to do with the school.

That's significantly different to a Y2/Y3 level 3 situation, which should use the exact same procedures. It should only be an issue in separate infant/junior schools (and really shouldn't be then if good cross school moderation is used).

spreston Tue 18-Sep-12 21:31:34

Thanks for all your. I fully appreciate that as these results would have been reported being end of KS1 they should have been thoroughly checked and re-checked.
Anyway, I did feel for Y3 teacher as she said she had been told to refer all queries to the head but also that she was allowed to pass on information about the children's 'real' levels.
And it's a primary school - both infant and juniors. Same grounds just separated by being in different buildings at opposite ends of the playground.

The school has always encouraged children to attend parent's evenings with their parents. It was then that the Y2 teacher revealed the levels our child had been given so that was how out child knew she was a level 3.

Quodlibet Tue 18-Sep-12 21:34:23

I do think though that an inexperienced/nervous teacher could be bullied by a domineering head into setting levels that couldn't really be evidenced. Perhaps the Yr 3 teacher in this situation is more stubborn and won't go along with level inflation?

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:42:22

Ha, she has absolutely no choice - the school now has to ensure that those children make 2 levels progress, and that's what the school will be judged on, whether she likes it or not!

Feenie Tue 18-Sep-12 21:43:27

With that in mind, it's unlikely that the Head would collude in artificially inflated grades at Y2.

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