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SATs results today. I hate Gove!

(100 Posts)
auntiezzzzz Tue 09-Jul-13 23:39:57

OK this is going to sound like a stealth boast so I'll get it out of the way early - my DD is good at maths. I'm very proud of her but just so pissed off at how children are put through these ridiculous tests at such a young age.

DD came home today and told me she'd "failed" the maths paper. Of course I said she can't have failed. It's not that sort of test. Anyway turns out she got 30/50 on the L6 paper. The top mark in the school. Obviously a fantastic achievement and I am so proud of her.

But no - she thinks she failed because she didn't get the L6.

My issue is why the fucking fuck is my 11 yr old daughter getting upset about "failing" when it's the last two weeks of primary and she should be practising her sack race skills.

If these tests are for the schools, government etc then why do they have to even tell the kids and parents. And if they're for the kids / parents, shouldn't there be some sort of sliding scale for achievement. Not just a cliff-edge pass / fail mark.

Anyone else's DCs just miss out on the next threshold up? Are they upset by it, or are most kids not bothered?

QuintessentialOldDear Wed 10-Jul-13 20:44:28

I have only read the OP, but I am fuming with you.
(We dont have the results yet.) And this is exactly why I was not keen on my DS to sit level 6, and I told him that it was ok to tell his teacher he did not want to do it. If he had NOT sat L6, he would have been pleased as punch with a L5, but now, he will feel a failure. He was even crying after the exam saying he would have let his school down if he did not pass. hmm

I am proud of him whatever he gets. He came from Y3 in Norway to Y5 in Britain and had only done subtraction and multiplication when he came here! He had to learn fractions, algebra and geometry at light speed to catch up.

SoupDragon Thu 11-Jul-13 07:37:26

What is the point of the level 6s? I looked at the full results for DSs primary for 2012 and there is no mention of them, just 5 and above. Seems odd if they don't count.

SoupDragon Thu 11-Jul-13 07:44:25

And do the children actually know what the levels mean? ie what age they are the expected level for. Would pointing this out to a child who feels like a "failure" help. I think they need to understand how not passing something does not mean they are a failure - it's like being able to win the sprint rate at their sports day but failing at Olympic gold.

mrz Thu 11-Jul-13 07:45:41

Level 5 is the expected level for a 14 year old so definitely not a failure

SoupDragon Thu 11-Jul-13 07:46:43

So what is a level 6? 16 year old?

TheMoonOnAStick Thu 11-Jul-13 08:58:08

Dd is yr 9 (so age14) and they talk much of levels 6/7.

I completely don't understand the logic of suddenly pushing someone 3 yrs younger into work aimed so much higher. Esp as the school hasn't even been teaching it. The first my dc saw of level 6 type work was when they piled it all on in a cramming fashion merely for SATS and most of it was chucked home for us to cope with as homework.

If he even got level 6 after all that (I have no idea if he has or not) I can't see how the school can take credit for it.

Having identified an 'ability' (for want of a better word) to work at a higher level, post SATS, what have they done to capitalise on it? Absolutely nothing. They've done very little academic work at school since. He even told me that they'd been told to work with year 5's in English for a while.

tiggytape Thu 11-Jul-13 09:16:59

I am not sure it is Gove's fault - the SATS exams and worry over scores or league tables existed long before his input. However I do agree that the whole Year 6 focus on them and the tendency to make children cram and revise for a Level 6 is just bizarre.

The secondary schools are forced to accept a level 5 or 6 child as being genuinely at that level and set targets accordingly. In most cases however, it is obvious that most children are not securely at a level 5 let alone a level 6. And nor should they be - level 6 is the standard of very able pre GCSE students so it is hardly surprising that children who pulled it out of the hat on exam day after months of cramming don't actually perform at this level day in day out.

To give an idea - in order to qualify to sit the hardest science papers at many schools, children need to reach a 6b by the end of Year 9. It is expected that only the top children will do so. How then does this tally with expecting a large proportion of Year 6 pupils to achieve similar levels 3 years earlier?

At secondary school a level 6 in Year 7 (or maybe a level 7 for maths) is considered exceptionally advanced whereas primary schools are somehow of the opinion that more and more 10 year olds can reach this standard long enough to pass an exam.

TheMoonOnAStick Thu 11-Jul-13 09:27:34

Agree with you Tiggy. It's madness.

Schools that get a good Ofsted score on the back of level 6 results are giving the impression to future parents that they are identifying ability early, nurturing it, responding to it. Not the case though. They are merely cramming more able pupils at the last minute purely for one test and hoping for a quick result which will reflect well on them. This hardly has anyone's best interests at heart other than the school.

What would be the point of yrs 7,8 and 9 if children are (supposedly) already at that level by the end of yr6?

Lancelottie Thu 11-Jul-13 09:52:02

I have to say our school really, really didn't cram the kids for Level 6, they just let a couple of them have a bash. I gather from reading MN that that wasn't what was meant to happen either!

Neither of them got the Reading L6, but DD did manage the L6 grammar test and the other child got L6 maths, i believe.

Is L6 reading really what's expected of age 16? Bloody hell, no wonder it was a tall order for a (just) 11 year old!

Lancelottie Thu 11-Jul-13 09:54:00

I've just googled it, and it looks like L6 is 'expected of an average 14 year old', which sounds a bit more realistic.

TheMoonOnAStick Thu 11-Jul-13 09:59:01

Sorry, I disagree, I don't think it's realistic. A level 6 (14 yr old) has been educated through three more years worth of school.

auntiezzzzz Thu 11-Jul-13 10:16:04

I agree with whoever posted above that I'm glad DD didn't "pull it out of the bag" on the day and scrape three more points. It would have meant unrealistic targets being set for secondary. She is going to a secondary where they set based on SATs but I'd much rather she was set and targeted based on L5 than an unrealistic L6.

The school tried to cram them for the L6 paper but it was all a bit too little too late. They only started the extra classes after Easter, and they were with the headteacher. The week before SATs DD asked me to teach her how to multiply and divide fractions because the HT couldn't remember!

The school is petrified of a snap OFSTED. I know this because the deputy head told me so. The whole of Y6 (until May) was devoted to focusing on the children who were borderline, whether it was 3/4 or 4/5. DD was on a 5A for maths from early in Y5 so she was effectively ignored. I found out yesterday she got 98% across all the L3-5 papers, so they obviously did a great job consolidating that.

She's completely over the L6 thing now. She's chuffed with her 98% and so she should be. If I'm honest I'm a bit cross with the school. Not because she didn't get the L6, because who cares? but because she has coasted for 18 months when she could have been developing her maths skills and gaining confidence and skills ready for secondary.

Still - I could have gone in moaning about it and chose not to, so I guess if I want to be a pushy parent I need to be less wimpy!

missbopeep Thu 11-Jul-13 10:21:32

Who raised her expectations of achieving a L6? The school? If so they are the ones to blame. Not Gove. I'd be talking to school - especially if you have other children there- about giving pupils mainly unrealistic ideas of what is expected, and not praising them enough for their achievement.

Lancelottie Thu 11-Jul-13 10:25:04

TheMoon, I only meant 'more realistic than trying to get an age 16 level'!

lljkk Thu 11-Jul-13 19:08:31

Playing devil's advocate here, but what's wrong with raised expectations? You don't get if you don't try and you don't try if you don't hope?
The problem is how to deal with setbacks constructively, not to avoid them altogether.

Lancelottie Thu 11-Jul-13 20:18:06

Yep, I told DD that it was important to rise above disappointing results and move on. She gave me a very withering look and said she hated it when grown ups say that.

missbopeep Thu 11-Jul-13 21:14:51

I couldn't agree more about having high expectations but each child is usually given a target and it should be one within their reach and that is realistic.
The 'average' or ' target' is Level 4. Most schools are delighted to have some L5s. It is a rare exception for a yr 6 child to reach L6- many year 9s don't achieve that.
Most schools are too busy pushing their L3s up to a L4 so I just wonder which type of teacher or school is hoping some children will manage a L6.

Feenie Thu 11-Jul-13 21:43:23

The ones that have children who are a high level 5 at the end of Y5 - they have a right to make progress too, (check the G&T boards) but in some schools have been historically told 'sorry, the highest possible level in Y6 is L5'.

(Not true, btw - a TA of 6 has always been possible.)

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Jul-13 21:58:08

DS's Year 6 target in Maths was, rightly, a level 6. His Year 7 target was, again rightly, a 7c, which he exceeded, getting a 7b. His Year 9 target is an 8a, which is unlikely to be revised upwards (I believe L8 is the highest that can be formally be recorded at that age) though if he only achieves that his progress may well have been artificially slowed by the 'cap' on recorded levels.

he has the same right as any other child to have targets that he has to be taught the material for and challenge himself to achieve. It isn't 'pushing', it is giving him what a child nearer the 'average' has every day - teaching and targets that give him a chance to make progress.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Jul-13 22:00:13

(I seem to remember that last year 15% of DS's mixed ability state primary year group got L6 maths - they don't teach to the test, and they don't do SATS revision or practice. They just teach. Very well.)

trace2 Thu 11-Jul-13 22:10:42

we live in a village with 4 small primary schools and after talking to friends with children at the other schools in our area put lots of children in to the level 6s thinking some will scrap through, but ds school said at start of year that they would only put children through for level 6 if they got over 97% in the 3-5 test paper! and ds was only one who managed this in maths so was put forward for level 6 and no extra work load or stress smile and we told him if he didn't want to do it just say we would support him . he did pass and been told he is the only one in all the 30 years of the school, and he got high levels of 5 in other two. i would say your dd as done very well tbh i would be happy with what ever mark they got as long as they try there best smile

morethanpotatoprints Thu 11-Jul-13 22:18:42

Hello OP.

Well done to your dd, what a talented girl. I agree, tell her what the teachers have said on here about level 6 being the expected level for y8.
as much as I think Gove is incapable of doing his job, the pressure for SATS results and level 6 has been going for some time.

Feenie Thu 11-Jul-13 22:21:36

And then Gove reintroduced the level 6 tests....

morethanpotatoprints Thu 11-Jul-13 22:24:14


Sorry, I'm a bit dim. Are you saying that if a child is particularly bright/advanced in a subject their targets set by the school should exceed those for the average to encourage them to reach their potential?
If you are I totally agree with you, otherwise they will be wasting valuable time, become bored and not be challenged the same as other children.

lougle Thu 11-Jul-13 22:47:32

Maybe it was because we are not in a Grammar area, but we were never aware of 'levels' at school when I was there.

I remember doing a science investigation coursework in Year 9 and the teacher telling us we should be aiming for level 6,6,6, but don't worry because we'll do 3 investigations and they'll use the best results. I got a level 9,9,9 for my first one. I got a certificate of achievement and the science teacher seemed really pleased. I thought 'oh, that's nice.' I had no idea of its significance until about two days ago, when I suddenly thought 'ooh if level 6 is average 14 year old equivalent, that's why they made a fuss of my science investigation all those years ago...'

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