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4As in Yr4 - how unusual?

(242 Posts)
SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 15-Mar-13 07:15:28

I went to parents' evening yesterday. We've recently moved our 8yo son because we knew he was bright and felt he was underperforming and our decision appears to have been vindicated! After predicting a 3a for him by the end of the year after their initial assessments, they have now assessed him as 4a for maths, and 4b for English, and reckon he will improve to 4a by the end of the year if he continues to focus and improve as he is doing.

Obviously this is good! grin I was just wondering how good. Are they the kind of levels you would expect the top children in a yr4 class to be achieving? Or is it more exceptional than that. I'm vaguely considering scholarships but don't want to push him if he is just averagely outstanding, if such a thing exists!

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 19:39:41

Dictionaries aren't very consistent, are they? In the online version they are as follows:

antonyms: incompetent, inept, poor, unfit, unfitted, unqualified
related words: accomplished, ace, adept, experienced, expert, master, masterful, masterly, practiced, proficient, seasoned, skilled, skillful, veteran, overqualified, prepared, schooled, trained, apt, ready, willing, all-round, protean, versatile.

In the online Webster dictionary definition, able means: to have a particular physical or mental skill.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:45:10

That's the problem with words...they have the habit of meaning a number of things and all are correct.

So referring to someone as an able child could mean they are clever or skilled or could equally mean they have no disabilities or learning difficulties.

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 19:46:53

Looking in my 1976 Oxford Illustrated dictionary for yet another version of "able" I find: "Having the power or ability; talented, clever; able-bodied - physically fit, robust." So it is not really a new thing for able to be related to talent and cleverness more than simply being a word that means the opposite of disabled.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:49:55

and as I said both are valid definitions the problem comes when one person uses the word to mean one thing and others assume it means another.

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 19:54:58

Not all meanings of a word are correct in all contexts. I would be very surprised if the normal interpretation of "Peter is an able child" was considered to be, "Peter has no disabilities."

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:02:23

in schools able is often used as a "measure" less able, able and more able.

The problem is that "more able" children in one school could be the "less able" group in a different school's all relative

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 20:49:03

But on an internet forum outside of any particular school, an able child would generally be considered by most people to be a child doing better than the national average, wouldn't it?

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 20:50:38

Or, if not thinking of school-speak "able" children, such a child would be considered one of above average intelligence who therefore ought to be doing better than the national average.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:55:48

Personally i wouldn't think of "able" as better than average but that could be because I'm a teacher

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 21:24:55

I suspect your preference might have something to do with you being a teacher, mrz, if teachers refer to the less able, able and more able when measuring children against each other in the classroom. I don't think these are terms commonly used by parents!

rabbitstew Sun 17-Mar-13 21:25:28

I shall remove my teeth from my doggy bone, now. grin

wheresthebeach Sun 17-Mar-13 21:26:10

The kid is doing great! Celebrate it.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:31:59

I did say that rabbitstew

FriendlyLadybird Sun 17-Mar-13 21:34:48

Wondering whether I dare contribute here ...

I didn't think the levels were an indicator of ability, potential, or IQ: just a statement of the level that children were working at, according to a particular set of measures.

It is a way for the Government (and parents, if they care to look at them that way) to assess how far schools have succeeded in achieving the educational objectives it has, rather subjectively, defined.

From what I have seen, there isn't a great allowance for natural talent in writing, say; nor, indeed, in critical thinking. And as far as I'm aware, the secondary schools don't give a fig for them. Private schools do their own entrance exams and state schools assess in year 7.

What's the point in worrying about them?

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:38:38

I didn't think the levels were an indicator of ability, potential, or IQ: just a statement of the level that children were working at, according to a particular set of measures you are correct

swallowedAfly Mon 18-Mar-13 06:21:06

the 'average' is calculated from everyone ergo the result is affected by everyone. there are more people with learning disabilities, brain injuries, sen etc than there are genius' so yes they'd be included but would have less of an effect on the 'average'.

able just mean non disabled, no serious impediments standing in their way of learning etc. they are 'able' to achieve - it doesn't tell you that they will or that they are exceptional it just tells you they should be able to do it as nothing is stopping them.

if a teacher wanted to convey that a child was very bright they wouldn't say, 'your child is able mrs rabbit' they'd clarify that with 'extremely' or 'very'.

anyway i have clarified before how i was using the word so not sure what still arguing over semantics achieve.

swallowedAfly Mon 18-Mar-13 06:29:26

my point is an able child would be above average not because of some inherent extra ability but simply by virtue of no disability, in the broad sense of the word, holding back their learning. having no disability schools should of course be able to more easily progress them through their education.

there's a wide range above average from those who find it relatively easy to learn the basic mechanics of reading, writing and structuring their own language and of numeracy, those who show great promise at moving on from the mechanics to more critical skills, to those who are genius' at something.

i think there is a problem where by when constantly teaching to the middle or looking at the middle your standard of what is exceptional slips.

SilverBellsandCockleShells Mon 18-Mar-13 07:21:12

Wow, wasn't really expecting this to take on such epic proportions! Thanks all for your input, certainly makes interesting reading.

Clearly he is doing well. More importantly, at the moment he is enjoying school and very much motivated to achieve. Long may that continue!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 18-Mar-13 19:09:02

Swallowed and Mrz

I hope you haven't gone?

On page 1 you mentioned the basic mechanics of spelling, and above, reading and writing.
Are you saying that with practice of these mechanics progress is definate?
Do you think a dyslexic could learn the basic mechanics if they practised more than a none dyslexic?

I don't mind if you don't know, you just sound like you know what you are talking about.

rabbitstew Mon 18-Mar-13 19:36:51

swallowedAfly - I'll just have to go back to what you said at the beginning of this thread and disagree with you, then. You said, "i would have thought 4's in year 4 was normal for an able child." That is not true. It is not normal for all children fitting your definition of able to be getting 4s in year 4 - unless the majority of the population are not able, or the majority of the able population have unsupportive parents and poor teaching.

CuriousMama Mon 18-Mar-13 19:42:37

Ds1 was the same as your ds and he was and is exceptional so maybe a few years on there are suddenly many more like him? It is expected at year 6. Some average year 7s are getting 4s still. Well done to your son. I never pushed ds1 he's just naturally bright.

Schmedz Mon 18-Mar-13 22:05:14

I teach in a selective primary school and the majority of Year 4 children are achieving within the various sub levels of 'level 4' by this stage of the year in English and Maths (most at top end) So it is obviously above the average nationally, but probably more common than you would think.

Be glad your child enjoys school and wants to learn. Levels are only a picture of certain inquiring mind, determination and curiosity, problem solving skills and a positive attitude are the things that will bring happiness, fulfilment and success in life.

Hamishbear Mon 18-Mar-13 23:56:10

I didn't think the levels were an indicator of ability, potential, or IQ: just a statement of the level that children were working at, according to a particular set of measures you are correct

A trouble/problem (?) with levels is that IMO many see them as a crude (?) measure of ability and a way to plot a child on the bell curve. Yes, they are generally seen as an approximate measure of potential, ability to learn and IQ. For example, a child working at level 5 in Y4 will generally be seen as having a higher IQ/ability than other peers.

lottieandmia Tue 19-Mar-13 00:31:45

I heard though, that different teachers may assess the levels differently. I too got the impression that the levels reflect, eg in English what kind of language a child can use in their work etc.

How long have these levels been used, anyone know?

I had thought that a 5 in year 6 (end) was thought to be good in terms of on track for good GCSE results.

rabbitstew Tue 19-Mar-13 08:21:23

Oh no, lottieandmia, a level 5 just means your child is able (which means not disabled) and good GCSE results are normal for able children. If your child does not get good GCSE results, that will be their poor work ethic, poor parenting and poor teaching and it is abnormal. wink

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