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EYFS profile - a question about exceeding the early learning goals for teachers and parents.

(99 Posts)
tiredbutnotweary Sun 19-May-13 22:21:15

An EYFS teacher explained to me that following her moderation training she now thinks it is very hard to award the exceeding category for an ELG, even if, for example, a child is working at a secure 1a NC level. If I've understood correctly a 1b is the expected level for a child at the end of year 1. So a child working at 1a is working beyond the level expected at the end of year 1.

Is this right? Do parents have any expectations that their child is exceeding some of the ELGs? Are any teachers willing to talk about their own moderation training or what they think exceeding looks like?

I'm really interested in ELG "the world" where the expected exemplification materials include these 2 examples - a child using categorisation terms like mammal and stating that mammals have to have warm blood and a spine, the same child showing where her spine, heart, lungs and brain are. Another child stating the reason we do experiments is to see if what we think happens.

Is this level of understanding really "expected" for the majority of reception children?

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 09:39:33

I have no idea what is right or wrong as I am not a teacher but when DS was in YR he was L9 or exceeding the ELG in most things when he started school, they just gave him work that challenged him and that was fine.

They never reported NC levels to me at all although I knew he was on NC level 2c reading books as there is an accompanying record book.

It really wasn't an issue IMO as when he was in Y1 then they reported his levels correctly for KS1.

I think there is often lots of 'bits' missing in a childs knowledge at that age for them to be truly exceeding the ELG in all subjects which is why it is hard to report. Also the areas DS was a L6/7 were things like the RE aspects within knowledge and understanding of the world as they just hadn't covered those areas at that point of the school year.

Tiggles Mon 20-May-13 10:11:26

Does it matter?
Does it matter if a child has tried hard all year and accomplished all that they can does it matter if they are graded as 'exceeding everything' or that they 'achieved everything' or 'progressing as expected'? Or is that only needed to boost a parent's ego? Surely as long as the terms used, are used consistently between schools, the term used is irrelevant?

Regarding the knowledge about human/mammal biology, I can't comment on this module specifically, but DS3 is currently in a nursery attached to a school and they study with reception. He is currently studying dinosaurs (we are in Wales and I guess our topics are different). He can categorise dinosaurs into omnivore, herbivore, carnivore, knows what the terms mean, can explain how you can tell if dinosaurs would fit into those categories e.g. if they move fast they are likely to be carnivore as they would need to catch their food. If they have lots of armour they are likely to be herbivore as they need to be protected from carnivores. He knows when they lived etc. DS2 is studying the same topic but in year 1, he can explain the above along with evolutionary characteristics of dinosaurs. So I would think it quite likely that a reception child studying mammals should be able to categorise a mammal and where the organs are.

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 10:26:43

LittleMissGreen - they are graded to help the teachers identify the 'next steps' that is all, not to boost a parents ego (not IME anyway). The progress made is the most important thing and what input is given to the child to reach their potential or expected levels of achievement.

Some children excel in the knowledge and understanding of the world so as LittleMissGreen says it is absolutely possibly for a child to have this level of understanding.

Tiggles Mon 20-May-13 11:19:53

smile " The progress made is the most important thing and what input is given to the child to reach their potential or expected levels of achievement" Agree completely Mrs Melons.

I just thought from the way the question was posed that 'it now seemed impossible for a child to exceed expectations' that there was likely to be lots of upset parents that their child wasn't doing amazingly, and it wasn't fair as if they had been through in a previous year they would have appeared 'on paper' to be doing better.

Bunnyjo Mon 20-May-13 11:22:48

Cannot comment on the new EL Goals as I'm not a teacher and my DD (Yr1) was assessed using the old EYFS points scale.

What I would say though is that DD did learn basic human anatomy in reception. They did a creative curriculum topic called 'How we move' or words to that effect. They did basics about the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system and also covered why breathing and heart rate increase during exercise, amongst other things.

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 11:59:43

I must say - I am not quite sure what the OP is getting at either or from what angle!

redskyatnight Mon 20-May-13 12:08:56

Not a teacher of familiar with new EL goals.

However I would say it is a "good" thing that it's difficult for children to be assessed as exceeding them in Reception. This means for the more able child there are areas they can actively be working towards - that are identified as part of the EY curriculum.

It makes no odds what a child's NC level would be surely - EY and NC use two different assessment criteria. Your child's NC level will be assessed when they start Y1, regardless of how they finished YR.

AbbyR1973 Mon 20-May-13 12:44:23

When I was at the parents evening at spring term I was told that DS1 was working beyond the expectations of EYFS in most areas. I asked what that meant and got the impression that he might be given a NC level for his working.

tiredbutnotweary Mon 20-May-13 12:53:19

Thank you for your posts. smile

What I'm seeking is a better understanding and a reality check - it's the first run for the new EYFS and I was really hoping to get a sense from teachers about the level of consistency in the way children are assessed across local authorities. From parents I just wondered if they thought their children were exceeding any ELG and what their expectations were.

In the EYFS profile pilot only 40% of children acheived "a good level of progress". Which seems rather low to me. I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion about this although I'm starting to wonder if I'm the only parent giving it any thought! blush

If a child is exceeding one of the 17 ELG they should be assessed against NC levels. I realise that (as a generalisation) MN tends to reflect a demographic of bright children, however if I've understood correctly the examples I gave are working at L2 of the science strand of the NC, as are some aspects of the shape and number elements of the ELG.

I didn't think think that this was average, or to be expected, but I thought it was worth checking what others thought.

tiredbutnotweary Mon 20-May-13 13:01:38

Thank you Abby - are you happy to elaborate a little on your DS1s abilities?

Also is he an Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer child (this was something the pilot report highlighted in its analysis)?


poppy1973 Mon 20-May-13 13:09:26

Hi, I imagine your child is hitting all the ELG's and working towards the NC levels. However, it is highly unlikely that the teachers will assess and grade on the NC levels. Some schools do.

However, the teachers will not grade too highly especially if the school is a primary school. It is important that child achieve different levels in each year group. E.g. So by the time they leave Year 2 for example they will be graded as a level 2. Therefore when they follow through into the KS2 the child will hopefully make a level 4 or above. This is what all the schools generally want - it shows the child has made progress in the school and has achieved the 2 levels +, which is good for the schools overall results.

If you are in an infant school then they will grade higher as they don't have to make up the levels in the junior school and it is better for them if the child makes 3 levels progress.

Unless you have an exceptionally bright child then the school will be careful how they grade. It is unfortunate but that is how most schools have to work.

Tiggles Mon 20-May-13 13:32:29

ah, I see where you are coming from now!
It's all different in Wales - we do foundation phase until the end of year2 and it is all 'levelled' differently. You are expected to progress by a level a year in primary school. So at the end of year R the expected level is 3, 4 by year 1 and year2 the expected is level 5, exceptional is level 6, and if you are a level 6 across the board then get a level of E (I think, could be a different letter/number).

Regarding the 'good level of progress' is there also a 'satisfactory level' ie that a child is actually progressing at the 'expected' rate, if so 40% working faster than expected is ok, I think. Just thinking about DS1, in reception he covered reception and year 1 work. But in year 1 he has only covered year 2 work - so he is now only progressing at an expected or 'satisfactory' rate, although his results are above average. But he certainly wouldn't be able to continually fit 2 years of work into 1 year at school. Reading that back I'm not sure that makes completely lucid sense - sorry!

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 13:43:45

Not read whole thread, but I would guess the OP is referring to the potential panic/muddle that could result from the very recent changes to the EYF categories.

In which case, her teacher is correct - a lot of parents who may have expected 'exceeding' as per old framework, will be disappointed.

No, OP, this level of understanding is not and should not be 'expected' for the majority of reception children.

Unless your name is Michael Gove, in which case your expectations are not likely to be based on normal child development, or on what really matters for very young children hmm

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 13:45:38

Sorry, rushing - that was confusing.

The government 'expectations' have changed, so officially 'expectations' are a lot higher than they were for 5 year olds.

They haven't changed much for most teachers, however, and IMO shouldn't change much for parents either. The new policy is unrealistic and slightly bonkers.

simpson Mon 20-May-13 14:41:43

DD is in reception and they are using the old EYFS (or the scores that are reported to us parents anyway).

DD started reception with quite a few 9s and I have been given her NC levels for several areas but I don't think she has covered anything to do with human anatomy (although there is still half a term to go).

AbbyR1973 Mon 20-May-13 17:05:34

Tiredbutnotweary- DS 1 is autumn birthday. Reading wise he is at white+ level books at home, school give him gold level. His comprehension goes beyond recalling the story and he can express his own views, predict what might happen next etc. Writing- he writes sentences with mostly correct full stops and a smattering of other punctuation such as occasional speech marks, he spells all words phonetically plausible and can correctly spell a number of tricky words, he has recently taken to writing stories which have a clearly identifiable beginning middle and end. Maths- he can recognise 3 digit numbers and understands what they mean, can count in 2s,5s and 10s, can add and subtract a single digit number from any single or double digit number, can identify coins and use different combinations to make a given amount, recognises 2D and 3D shapes, number of sides and shapes of faces, can tell time to quarter hour.
Like Simpson DS was level 9 in old terms in a number of areas on starting year R.
Reading the handbook it says children who are thought to be exceeding should be compared to ELG expected statement and national curriculum levels and discussed with year 1 teacher. It suggests that a child comfortably performing at a national curriculum level would be exceeding to me but I'm not a teacher!
Will see what's what when the reports are given out in the summer and I guess it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things anyway.

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:24:01

I'll certainly take my daughter's end of year report into account but I already know that it's not a reflection of what she's capable of. It might be a fair reflection of what she's being asked to do in school but the two aren't the same.

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 17:31:35

Thing is, in reality 'normal' expectations at that age should be flexible and very broad - to encompass the huge range of skills and development rates.

Some kids have wonderful motor skills at that age, and reading comes later. My dds had crappy motor skills, but good reading skills. Some kids are young emotionally, and regardless of academic potential they will not want to engage with some areas of learning. Others are busy learning social skills.

I just think its wrong, and daft, to set parents up to see their 4-5 year old children as 'failing' somehow, or as their schools for failing them, by measuring things like anatomical language or - for that matter - ability to punctuate.

Grrr. <feels better and steps off soap box>

But it is very true that, in the scheme of things, none of it matters very much. We're talking very small children here. I didn't even look at my kids' levels at that age.

simpson Mon 20-May-13 17:32:05

I have asked if DD's NC levels will be on her end of year school report...but I have not got an answer yet (I asked back in March!)

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:36:52

I'm not going to ask because I don't think our school believes in teaching children beyond the expectations for their ages. That might change next year, we'll see. There's no real point in getting results of any kind if you don't think they're accurate.

MrsMelons Mon 20-May-13 17:47:03

DS1 was similar to Abby/Simpsons DSs at starting YR. He is a spring birthday but was quite mature (as much as a 4 YO can be) when starting school.

The school didn't offer NC levels and I didn't know to ask as had no idea what they were at the time.

During the Autumn term (1st half term) of Y1 he was assessed as a 2b in reading, 2c in writing and 1b in numeracy. He must have been exceeding the ELGs in YR but all they did was tell me he was exceeding them at the time.

I guess there was no real need to assess him at NC levels as they were clearly challenging him anyway for him to be those levels at the beginning of Y1 so I don't think they were necessarily wrong in doing that. We were lucky I guess as the school have mostly challenged and pushed him (and all the others) but I may have felt differently if I thought the school were not teaching to his full potential as learnandsay mentions.

TolliverGroat Mon 20-May-13 17:53:14

As a parent I'm really not fussed about the EYFS goals and levels (assuming child isn't massively adrift of where a 4/5 year old ought to be, and if they were I'd still not really be focused the EYFS levels so much as on concerns I'd expect to be flagged up over the course of the year).

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:54:30

I'm in two minds about it. The school gets the best results in the area, so, presumably it thinks that this laid back approach works. I'm not on it's case all the time about its methods, but when I get the results, obviously I'm not going to see them as a fair reflection, but just as a reasonable refection of what's been going on. In the grand scheme does it matter? Clearly the school doesn't think so.

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 17:54:56

its case

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