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Sats tests v. teacher assessment question (end of KS1 maths)

(13 Posts)
km17621762 Tue 09-Oct-12 10:24:15

We have parents evening soon and I have got a question but would like some background information for this. This is a little hypothetical but here goes.

I am fully aware that teacher assessments and KS1 tests don't always match and the tests are a snapshot etc which inform the teacher assessment over a much longer period but...if a child scored very well on their maths KS1 level 3 paper could they still only be a 3c on their teacher assessment at the end of year 2?

What sort of reasons could there be for this other than a good day on the test. Surely if they can very well in the test in maths, it means they have covered the L3 work and must be beyond a 3c as with maths, you can either do it or you can't?

MrsTruper Tue 09-Oct-12 10:51:11

Sublevels of 3 were not reported to parents in our school at end of KS1. My dd got 3's and that's all we were told. Sublevels of 2 were reported.

Also I believe the KS1 level 3 paper does not even include level 3b questions, just level 3c questions, so a child not be higher than 3c even if they got them all right.

A teacher may come along and tell me I'm wrong but this is my understanding after my dd just finishing year 2 last year.

tiggytape Tue 09-Oct-12 11:09:28

KS1 SATS are taken at the end of Year 2.
Are you querying how child who did well in the Year 2 (KS1) SATS in May might not have improved very much or could appear to have gone backwards between taking the exams in May and the end of term teacher assessments in July?

If so it is not at all unusual for the outcome of SATS papers to be a higher level than a teacher would assess the child as having comfortably secured. Just as it is possible to have a bad test day that underestimates a child's true ability equally, it is possible for a child to guess correctly on a couple of questions, to be lucky with the type of questions asked on the day or to have just about reached a certain level in the test that in a day to day setting they do not always achieve and that the teacher feels they are not yet consistently at.

Sub levels are not given for level 3 children so I am also puzzled how you can tell anything about progress made since the SATS. Again a child who was just about a level 3 in May could still be a 3c by teacher assessment now without thinking anything was wrong with either assessment. There is a bottom end and a top end to each sub level.

richmal Tue 09-Oct-12 11:12:19

Also if they are not taught any subjects beyond 3c in class, they cannot be assessed as being above 3c.

km17621762 Tue 09-Oct-12 11:28:14

I know they don't officially report L3 sub-levels but they must have this info from the TA for planning and presumably have assessed the children's levels now for the start of this year.

Tiggy, no I'm not querying that. I want to know what potential reasons there are for a child who is able to perform very well in the L3 test (and appears very comfortable with L3 work at home but please don't leap on me about that as yes, I know they don't always do things as well at school etc.) might only end up a 3c in the TA.

So perhaps, they don't perform so well in general classwork, are using different methods to the ones the teacher tells them to which wouldn't matter if the answers are right in a test paper but might matter in class or something like that.

redskyatnight Tue 09-Oct-12 12:05:39

IIRC the KS1 Level 3 paper only tells you that a child is working at L3 or not. No sublevels.

If I understand your posts correctly, you think that your child is actually working at 3b or 3a but has been assessed as 3c? As you say this could be down to them not performing as well at school as at home. Equally it may be that the teacher just doesn't have enough evidence to show that they are working at the higher level (so they have done it at school, just not enough). Or it is possible (whispers) that the teacher has erred on the side of caution to show value add up the school.

Are you concerned that they are not being given work that is appropriate to their level? Because otherwise I'm not sure that whether they are 3c or 3b makes a jot of difference. Wouldn't think it would make much difference to the work they were set either (assuming your child is start of Y3?).

RosemaryandThyme Tue 09-Oct-12 12:57:51

If you do not know, ask the teacher what paper the child sat.

They could have been given the end of KS1 (ie year 2 paper). Which is most likely, if so refer to answers given by posters above.

However it is possible (my DS did this_) that the teacher gave out end of year 3 papers instead to children that had been working well above KS1 for a while, even though techically they were chronologically in the Year 2 year group at the time.

If a teacher well knows that the child is good at maths, they may well have been stretched into covering much of the year3 syllabus, in which case the teacher would learn more about the exact capabilities of the child by giving an end of year 3 paper than by using a KS1 paper that the child would have found a breeze.
If your child was given a year3 paper, then a 3c isn't great, for a child in year 2 to be confidently handeling year 3 work our school requires a minimum 3b. Therefore I'd say that your child is probably in the right class for age and one of the brighter ones but not one that needs advance learning beyond his peer group.

km17621762 Tue 09-Oct-12 13:01:07

Yes, I am concerned about the work being significantly too easy.

It's more 3a versus 3c (if they are being currently assessed as that and I'm yet to find out) which is quite a big difference. Then again I suppose maybe they still cover the same level 3 material whether 3c or 3a.

This is all still a suspicion based on homework and what dc is saying they do in class - all will become clearer at parents' evening but I want to be prepared if my suspicions are correct.

The school has been criticised for not challenging brighter children but also I am concerned there is an issue with underperformance at school a bit beyond the normal 'it's just they tend to do more, better at home'.

tiggytape Tue 09-Oct-12 13:15:53

If you take a child as an example who was a solid 3b in maths. There are numerous reasons that might explain their ability to score (or scrape) a 3a in any written test - even a lucky guess on one question could be enough.
And there are numerous reasons to explain why they may only score 3c in a Teacher Assessment (being inconsistent in key areas due to lack of concentration when being tested in a busy classroom environment for example)

There is an acceptable margin or error in any assessment method and in truth an awful lot of overlap. It is far from an exact science. If a child had been awarded a level 3 in the Year 2 SATS and at the start of Year 3 was assessed as being at a 2c, you'd be rightly concerned at what had happened and how they were going to set the correct level of work. But the difference between a 3c and a 3b is such that it isn't going to make any difference in a day to day classroom environment and isn't big enough to call either assessment right or wrong.

km17621762 Tue 09-Oct-12 13:28:15

That makes sense. Would the same still apply to 3a vs. 3c out of curiosity? Not that I necessarily think they are a 3a or would know the difference for sure between a 3b and 3a.

tiggytape Tue 09-Oct-12 13:46:05

There is also the added complication that not all 3c pupils are the same. You can be deemed below a 3b grade for all sorts of different reasons - one child might find their fractions are a bit weak whereas another 3c child might be red-hot on fractions but get their positive and negative numbers confused sometimes (not saying that this is where the distinction is drawn just that not all 3c children have the same strengths and weaknesses).

Therefore in a lesson on fractions, the teacher will be thinking about each child's abilities not the fact that they are only a 3c overall not a 3a. One 3c child might find this lesson challenging, another might find it easy (but come unstuck next week when negative numbers are used). The teacher does assessments and will set the work appropriate to each child's ability. She doesn't have a pile of 3c worksheets for all the 3c children to do and a pile of 3b planning for a game that only the 3b children can join in with. It really isn't that black and white. Even amongst children on the same level, there will be ones much stronger in some areas than others.

So a 3c child may have aspects of maths that they are comfortably a 3a level in. And the teacher will (or should) accommodate that. The reason they aren't deemed a 3a overall is that there are other areas of maths that they are only a 3c level at comfortably but that doesn't mean they will be held back on the things they are good at just because of a level they've been given.

km17621762 Tue 09-Oct-12 13:53:04

Thanks - that makes sense and is helpful info.

mrz Tue 09-Oct-12 17:46:29

The KS1 (SAT) tests can be administered at any time during Y2. They are only to confirm the teacher's assessment. Technically sub levels don't exist.

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