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Would you take this up with the school? Re 11+/dyslexia

(41 Posts)
RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 09:33:26

This is really odd and please forgive my rambling, but I've just been among ds and his friends before school, and they were all talking about their 11+ scores.

I'm not sure what to make of it.

Basically all of them had passed, apart from ds and 3 boys who did not sit the test. And from what I could gather, all of them had got what I presume are maximum scores? So, 419...or very near to it.

Ds got somewhere in the low 300s.

This is the bit where I get a bit hmm - out of the three boys who didn't take it, at least two are confirmed dyslexic. The other one is new to the school so I don't know.

So we have a huge contrast. There are three boys who didn't take the test, and are (at least two) dyslexic.

There are 8 other boys who all gained near enough top scores as far as I can work out.

Then there is ds, who got a low score, and was assessed (privately) in y2 as possibly dyslexic and possibly just immature - we have no report - the school has refused, consistently, to acknowledge he has any difficulties.

His IQ was also assessed at the same time as above 140.

I have been asking them all along to help him because he is probably dyslexic but they have done nothing and insisted he has no issues. I have emailed again and again and a lot of the time this has been ignored. They did a ten minute assessment in which he had some elements of dyslexia but even so - no extra help.

I feel that they have let him down - I hadn't realised the chasm between him and the rest of the class was so huge.

What should I say? Or do? sad I just wonder how they could get everyone else through the test but seem to have written him off as just, well, just stupid? Rather than admitting he could have used some assistance...I don't know what I am trying to say.

NoComet Mon 21-Oct-13 09:50:46

I think I know exactly what your trying to say, in a perfect world my dyslexic DD1 would have received the help she needed at primary school to be able to read accurately enough to do the VR part of the 11+

We don't live in an ideal world and DD1 still finds occasional pockets of dyslexia means stupid. She generally puts them in their place.

But it's still shit when DD2, who is no brighter, just sails into set one.

Norudeshitrequired Mon 21-Oct-13 10:00:39

I'm not really sure what you want / expect. Your DS doesn't have an official diagnosis and as he is possibly only borderline dyslexic (from what you have written) he might not have got any extra help even with a diagnosis as help is defined by need and not a diagnosis (which is little more than a label to help understand the difficulties).
IQ can change as a child gets older, so he might not score 140 if he was to be tested now.
Do you think your DS would be happy at grammar school? Even if he was to struggle to keep up with the others?
I think you should tell your son that he has done amazingly well and that you are very proud of him. 300 is an Average score, so he did not do badly and he needs to be aware of that.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 10:08:05

Thanks for the replies.

I guess what I am thinking - and I may be wrong - is that I was surprised at the gulf between ds and his peers.

And that the school has consistently ignored my requests for proper assessment/guidance/help with ds's issues, which are clear to me (he still cannot read a clock fgs) but to them seem insignificant - so while all the other boys in his year have passed with maximum scores, he has been left to founder, and the other boys who did not pass are those with (aside from new boy) significant learning issues (that the school has recognised).

I feel as though if he was as neurologically typical as they claim, he should have been among those who passed, somehow.

Perhaps it is just coincidence. I don't know.

I expected mre of a gradient tbh, you know, some scraping through, some acing it - to find they all aced it is a bit of a shock.

tiggytape Mon 21-Oct-13 10:09:39

I think I understand what you mean.

The reality is that children with dyslexia who really struggle with literacy can get extra help and support at school (although not always very easily either).

But exceptionally bright children with dyslexia (or any additional needs) don't always get extra support because they are able to get average scores even though they have the potential to get so much higher than that.

So a child with an IQ over 140 who works at the level of an average child of that age is much more likely to be overlooked.

It shouldn't happen this way. With a high IQ, any failure to reach his individual potential should be investigated and supported. However when so many children in a class are struggling even to get to level 4's you can also understand why a child already on level 4 (for example) who has the potential to get a level 6 with the right support becomes less of a priority in the school's eyes.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 10:11:51

Thankyou Tiggy, maybe that explains it.

If so it is particularly sad for him.

He has always maintained average scores in things - I don't care about his scores, I just feel sad for him that he wanted to go to the school most of his friends are going to and that his needs have been ignored, and now he can't.

I tried so hard to get them to listen but they just ignored my emails again and again.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 10:13:23

He is a great reader, he can spell pretty well. But he can't tell left from right, or remember which order the days of the week go in, or tell the time unless it is digital and even then not always.

Ironically a girl in his class has severe dyslexia and went for help regularly and she managed to pass.

I feel so so sad for him and also, pretty angry that he was just give no help at all, ever, by the school.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 10:13:35


Cheryzan Mon 21-Oct-13 10:31:11

If the 11+ contains NVR and VR tests, then it is designed to discriminate against dyslexics.

So all the help in the world would't have got him to pass, because the test is specifically designed so that dyslexics fail.

A large discrepancy between NVR and VR more or less means you have dyslexia.

That does not however mean he has fallen behind his peers, it just means that the grammar school doesn't want him.

Elibean Mon 21-Oct-13 10:36:52

Sympathies. Hopefully Pigeons will be along to offer advice, as she had much knowledge and experience in this field!

My dd1 is probably mildly dyslexic, but is top set for literacy at her primary and as such never going to be taken seriously as having any sort of problem at school. Which I do actually understand, given the pressure they are under to find help for kids who struggle far more than dd.

It only really matters when it comes to exams, and suddenly - in Y5 - I can see that looming. Similar issues: left/right, muddling letters when tired, being slower to read as eyes jump around (she was diagnosed as having Irlen Syndrome in Y2, we had a private assessment) etc.

Currently debating having a formal assessment done privately, but confused by book I bought, according to which (it has tests) dd is not likely to be dyslexic after all.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 10:40:47

Thankyou and sympathies Elibean...I hope you get on better than we have.

Chery, that is interesting (and depressing). I had no idea that might be the case.

His NVR was 110, his VR was 124, maths 105 (aggregate 339)

Pass mark 360 with min 118 in each.

I don't even know if we are able to appeal a grammar place or if we should, not knowing the system very well...I don't want him to struggle massively but as he is a good reader etc, (above average I think according to y5 report) maybe he would be Ok.

It's just the other schools here are not great. I don't want him to be written off.

smee Mon 21-Oct-13 10:40:57

140 is extraordinary for an IQ. That puts him at genius level! Though as others have said they're not hugely reliable. Even so if he's really that bright and under performing to this extent the school are being hugely remiss. Being a good reader, that can mask dyslexia, but they should still be picking up on a gap in ability and achievement.

Has he got a spiky profile? That's usually a good indicator of dyslexia, so a huge dip in something. With my son it was writing (illegible!) and spelling (really woeful), but like yours his reading was excellent. Mine didn't read until he was 7, then was reading fluently.

Why don't you book an appointment with the teacher and go and ask them face to face? Could you afford a private Ed Psych assessment? If so, go for it as if he is dyslexic you can use the report as proof he needs extra help.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 10:42:02

I should say I don't want ANY child to be written off but that is often what seems to happen at some schools.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 10:46:08

Smee that sounds familiar, I can't read his writing, it's terrible...and his spelling is coming on but still, somewhat lacking.

His reading though is great.

Maths is the killer really. He doesn't seem to have patterns in his head - when I think of numbers they are in a pattern, or a 'map' which veers off at angles and so on, they even have different colours.

If you say a number to ds it seems to have no context - it is literally floating in the air for him. Nothing makes sense - times tables are a mystery to him, while I had mine down at 9yo (and got a handful of smarties for it from the HT)

I don't want to sound like I think he is a genius but I want fair treatment for him and he's not stupid, or lazy, and he tried very very hard.

If I felt t he school had put in any effort at all for him I'd not be moaning about this. But they just refused to and I don't want that to be the end of it.

Norudeshitrequired Mon 21-Oct-13 11:27:19

His NVR was 110, his VR was 124, maths 105 (aggregate 339)

Those scores are pretty good even though he didn't reach the pass mark.
If it was his dyslexia that held him back I would have expected it to affect his VR much more than his maths or NVR due to the need to spot spelling patterns and word patterns quickly in the VR which is something that most people with dyslexia would struggle with.
Your son scored above average in all of the topics and must be quite bright.
Are you sure that all of the other boys got perfect scores of 419? Who has actually told you that they all managed these amazing scores? It seems very unlikely that so many would get such a perfect score. Them all getting above 360 I could understand (but still be very impressed), but for all of them to get a perfect score hmm. I am leaning towards thinking that some parents might not be telling the full truth.
You do have my sympathies that your son will be separated from all of his primary friends, but on the bright side, he will be in the higher sets for most subjects at a comp and that will be good for his self esteem.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 12:50:35

It is good to know that he did well...I really didn't know what the general consensus was on a good score, or what is average...all I knew was that lots of them had scored around 419 which I presume must be the maximum as it's a bit weird otherwise.

One very good friend told me her child's score, the others were the children themselves talking to ds and me this morning.

He will be encouraged to know he did well then...thankyou. I think I will ask the HT tomorrow and see if he can elaborate a bit on the strange extremes of scoring.

Cheryzan Mon 21-Oct-13 14:20:46

Yes, those scores don't look like typical dyslexia. For typical dyslexia you'd expect VR to be significantly higher than NVR.

From those scores it does look like he might have SpLD, but not necessarily dyslexia. 14 is quite a big difference, although for some reason I have in my head that 20 is 'significant'. But I can't find where I read that.

The low NVR score is why he struggles with maths.

Honestly, I'm not sure that he could have got into a grammar with such a big difference between his NVR and VR.

Cheryzan Mon 21-Oct-13 14:22:43

I found it - a difference of 10 is significant:

So his NVR being 14 points lower than his VR is a real cause for concern.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 16:33:47

Oh wow thankyou Chery. I'm not sure what spld is? Will look at the link...should I go armed with this for HT meeting tomorrow?

Cheryzan Mon 21-Oct-13 16:52:31

SpLD is specific learning disability. It's a more general term for dyslexia.

I would certainly print off the section saying that a difference of 10 is significant and say you're concerned that he had a difference of 14.

However I'm not sure what the school will be able to do to help.

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 17:01:04

Ok, thankyou. I will mention it - I have bookmarked the GL page.

I found someone's dissertation on CAT assessment and their usage in identifying a child with dyscalculia and it mentioned 20 a lot.

But I am happy to go with 10 smile

Thanks ever so much. It's mainly to say, look, I told you he had some difficulty and why haven't you done something about it sooner.

And to ask if we could have a better chance of appealing on this basis - with the right extra curricular help maybe it would work.

OTOH you may be right and he'd not get on well at grammar. I don't know.

Found out that one other boy didn't pass, and one of the others didn't quite score high enough for super selective. So it isn't looking so extreme as it was this morning.

smee Mon 21-Oct-13 18:06:53

Random, not sure if this helps, but when assessed for dyslexia we found my son had high scores in Verbal comprehension (98%), but then a massive gulf down to his Processing Speed (42%). He also had a low Working Memory Index. Very common with dyslexia, but it makes things tough as it affects speed and retrieval of information, organising information, etc. That obviously counts against you hugely in a test/ exam situation as you're so slow in comparison to others.

If your son's similar to mine, I'm guessing extra time might have made all the difference to his scores. We're not in a selective area, but we've already been told by DS's primary that he'll have extra time/ a scribe for SATs and that should continue as he goes through secondary to GCSE's.

Good luck tomorrow!

RandomCitizen Mon 21-Oct-13 18:30:18

Hi Smee, yes that really helps a lot - plus you have explained it in a way I can understand, which is even better!

I have always had doubts about his processing ability.

I'm in two minds whether to go to another private assessor we have heard of, or if it is too late now.

goingmadinthecountry Tue 22-Oct-13 07:16:06

My son also has low processing (much lower than Smee's ds) speed but high IQ according to Ed Psych. Is very dyslexic. Didn't get extra time for 11 plus but passed. He was OK at grammar school - verbally v v able but still struggled in written exams to do himself justice despite getting 50% extra time. Is now at 6th form in a comprehensive school and so so much happier - the whole ethos just suits him better - and even wants to stand for Head Boy next year and has already read something out loud at a public event there. It's horribly unfair - he has 2 very able older sisters and feels hard done by sometimes. There's been lots of frustration. I think we've all changed our expectations - not lowered hopefully.

I feel for you - it's a constant battle. Even at grammar school and with a diagnosis.

talkingnonsense Tue 22-Oct-13 07:49:50

The highest mark was 423, but that is usually a raw score of around 75% so not as shocking as it sounds! Almost certainly the children scoring those marks will have had some kind of tuition or familiarisation at home, using GL practice papers, bond books, etc. Depending on how your sons dyslexia presents, the VR and nVR would be hard, but 105 in the maths is not statistically above average and would probably suggest he would find the pace of maths hard at a grammar, especially if he has processing problems. Many able children go to comps and do well, and on average their dyslexia support is better as they have more experience (conversely grammar schools are often experienced with children with HFA).

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