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Question re. levels at (mid) year 3

(27 Posts)
stoopstofolly Mon 10-Feb-14 14:46:32

Are there any teachers out their who could give some quick advice? I've just received DD1s interim report. She's in year 3 and is assessed as 3b reading, 3c maths and writing. What concerns me is that these are the same levels that she was at beginning year 3- so essentially there's been no progress. We've always thought she was bright but not G&T (am I still allowed on MN?) but this is a concern because we might have to move house soon with DH's work, and the area we're looking at has grammar schools. I've read that children need to be a solid level 5 when they leave to stand a chance at 11+ - with these levels halfway through year 3 does this seem remotely achievable?
I don't want to move to a grammar school area, put enormous pressure on her to pass if it's unrealistic- which means we need to rethink our plans to move!
Thanks for reading.....

hootloop Mon 10-Feb-14 14:51:31

I think that sounds good, DS is in his schools average class and his report at half term said:
Writing 2a
Reading 3c
And Maths 3b.

stoopstofolly Mon 10-Feb-14 14:57:53

Thank! I think the problem is I've been looking on MN and it's FULL of exceptionally clever sounding children already at level 5 or whole year 3 classes at 4c! DD is at a good London primary (rated 6th on results out of 60, in an affluent borough) so I think the teaching is excellent- I just don't want to put DD through 11+ pressure if it won't be right for her. She's a wonderful girl- very sporty, reasonably popular, happy- I don't want to upset that!

redskyatnight Mon 10-Feb-14 15:09:27

"Average" progress in KS2 is only 1.5 sublevels a year. I don't think it's an issue not to see a move in levels at this stage in the year (especially with the real or otherwise Y3 "dip").

redskyatnight Mon 10-Feb-14 15:11:27

.. and just to say that those are virtually identical to DS's levels at this stage in Y3, and he (now in Y5) is certainly on track for Level 5s at the end of Y6 (and this is in a bog-standard school).

stoopstofolly Mon 10-Feb-14 15:45:42

Thank you redsky.... Much appreciated everyone.

juniper44 Tue 11-Feb-14 02:53:48

Children who get 3c in year 2 are predicted to get 5c by year 6, assuming they make expected progress.

Have you asked the teacher why she's not made a sublevel's progress? Was she definitely 3b in year 2?

Expected progress would put her at 3a or 4c for reading and 3b or 3a for maths and writing- by the end of the year.

caffeinated Tue 11-Feb-14 09:28:23

Dd1 finished year 2 on 3c for writing in November of year 4 was still 3c have parent a evening next week and am hopeful that she may finally have moved up. Moved 2 sub levels up in reading and maths in year 3 though.

stoopstofolly Tue 11-Feb-14 16:11:47

She was definitely at these levels at the end of Yr 2- I've just checked her report. I think I'm just concerned that whilst she's doing well at school, she's just not academic enough to pass for Grammar School without a struggle. I don't particularly want to think about tutoring etc as I think that she's either clever enough (and would therefore benefit) or isn't (and would probably thrive somewhere different). DH says this is naive- he thinks that loads of children who are as bright as DD will be tutored- and if we can do it for DD then we should.
I admit- I was a very academic child who was horribly unhappy at school which I think colours my judgement. DD is nowhere near as academic but is a really contented child who loves school and who is doing perfectly well.
Decisions. hmm

jamtoast12 Tue 11-Feb-14 17:38:42

No experience of grammar schools myself etc but going just by friends of mine, those children who were heavily tutored to get into a school really struggled without continued tutoring whilst there. If they need tutoring to get in, then they are likely not at that level naturally iyswim? So when put in classes of naturally bright kids, they struggle.

Even our local comp which is outstanding, strongly advises no tutoring for year 6 as kids are scoring high on y6 sats and then getting to high school and are not at that level in an everyday class situation (fine when talked through topics without time frame etc) so all get regrouped anyway!

stoopstofolly Tue 11-Feb-14 21:45:31

Jamontoast- my feelings exactly. Looking at her current levels I think we'd be looking a perhaps level 5c for literacy, perhaps 4c for maths. We could push her, but this would mean tutoring and the possibility that she'd be unhappy at a selective school. I think I'm clear that we should look to move somewhere in the catchment of a good comprehensive which does lots of sport and music, and where she'd be one of the brighter ones, and I think she'll flourish.
Now to persuade DH... It's ironic really- he's also what you would classify as academically successful (Oxbridge PHD etc) but was not happy at school or his subsequent stressful career. Don't know why he'd want the same for DD!

juniper44 Wed 12-Feb-14 01:17:51

Expected progress is 2 levels in ks2, so a 3c at ks1 would be a 5c at ks2.

Why do you think she'll get 4c?

stoopstofolly Wed 12-Feb-14 09:48:10

Sorry- I meant 4a- get confused which direction the letters move in! I think we might stand a chance of a 5c maths with a bit of tutoring, or perhaps just some more help at home- it's just that she really dislikes maths, so it's a struggle getting her to do anything.
I've just had my whole family telling me I'm letting her down, and that we should push her a lot more. I'll be honest- until this week, and the prospect of having to move to a grammar school area, I've been incredibly relaxed about her progress... She loves to read and seemed on target for everything else, so I just let her get on with enjoying school. She's not at all academically competitive, and at parents evening last night her teacher also said that he thought she was capable of more than she delivered, but that obviously he could only assess her on what he saw. I now feel I'm being forced into a tiger mother position which wouldn't suit either of us!
I think my best bet is to find a lovely house in the catchment of a good comp and let the house make the decision for us! (This pipe dream will prob be the subject of a subsequent plaintive thread...!)

PastSellByDate Wed 12-Feb-14 10:17:24

Hi Stoops

Not a teacher - just a Mum - but first off it doesn't sound like your DD is doing too badly. Have a look at the MN info on progressing through NC Levels here:

Scroll down and you'll see that on the second table - the expected notional achievement for a child is 2A/3C by the END of Y3.

So in fact your DD is doing slightly better than expected - as she's 3C or 3B right now and it's only 1/2 way through Y3.

Another little wrinkle is that schools seem very keen to achieve NC L3 for KS1 SATs and then there does seem to be a roll back of these scores. Several reasons:

Grade inflation (frequent if infant & junior schools are separate - just have a gander at the 'staffroom' bit of the education MN)

Transition Dip - the work does change between infants and juniors - it's more formal, more is expected of the students and things get a bit tougher - so initially there can be a plateau/ period of adjustment (again see MN blurb on this:

*Gaming of the system*: So the score at KS1 will just be 3 on the SATs. Some schools just start kids off at 3C, regardless if they're working higher. It does mean less pressure to achieve 1-2 sub-levels during the year - easier to show you're on target to Senior Management as a teacher.

OK - can you make a call on the 11+ at this point? To be honest it's hard to say really.

DD1 scored NC L1 across the board at end of KS1 SATs and was NC L2C by this point. My DD1 (now Y6) wanted to sit the 11+ so we agreed. She doesn't look to have scored high enough for entry to our highly selective but free grammar schools here (it's something like 1 in 7 succeed) - but I actually think going for the 11+ was a good thing. I wanted my daughter to leave primary as a strong student and that helps her regardless of whether on the day she passes the 11+ or not.

Like you - we opted to move into a good catchment over last summer - so I did have the security of knowing if DD1 didn't pass we had a very good alternative. But preparing for the 11+ meant radically improving the quality of her reading material, pushing beyond just multiplication/ division (really inverse multiplication) facts and starting to do proper maths work (long division/ multiplication, solving simple algebraic equations, working out area or circumference, converting cm to m, etc...).

We tackled it in three ways:

using recommended reading lists for the 11+ to improve quality of fiction she was reading

using an on-line maths tutorial (our school is very lazy about any homework - so this was our way to help DD1 catch up post KS1 SATs (she scored NC L1 across the board)

using 11+ prep books - like bond (especially 10 minute books)/ letts/ etc...

I never expected her to definitely pass. I knew we had a mountain to climb. But boy she came jolly close - just 10 points shy of the predicted cut off this year (we'll know for sure in early March). It was just me, mathsfactor (an on-line maths tutorial we've been using since late Y2) and workbooks (often borrowed from friends). Given all the givens with her incredibly poor start during KS1 - I'm over the moon and incredibly proud of her. Moreover, I know that she's set to do very well on KS2 SATs which will feed into her new senior school and their decisions on which 'form' to place her in.

So we feel she's leaving primary school in a very good place and that preparing for the 11+ raised the quality of her comprehension, reading skills, vocabulary & maths skills. She put in a lot of extra work over Y5, often knowing (and feeling a bit glum about it) that her friends were doing nothing at all, just playing endless video games (we had no homework from the school for 4 months). So from our perspective we're relaxed, pleased with what she's achieved and looking forward to her starting in a school that looks to be interested in academic achievement (unlike her primary).

So don't be so worried about whether your DC is academic or not at this point - gosh it's ever so early to really be sure. But do think about what preparing for something like the 11+ - aiming high in other words - might mean long term.


stoopstofolly Wed 12-Feb-14 12:28:08

Pastsellbydate- thank you so much! As you can probably tell, I'm new to all this- the resources are excellent.
It is great to get another perspective on the value of the 11+ - I hadn't thought about how it might just be of value to her generally, regardless of the eventual outcome. It sounds like you managed it just right- not hot-housing but help, encouragement, and pride in eventual achievements. Given that the general consensus from everyone I've spoken to (my parents, DH, DD's teacher, DH's parents, my DB, my BF etc...) is that DD coasts along on a wave of cheerfulness without breaking into an academic sweat, I think I might have to rethink my approach a bit, and look at pushing her a bit more. I'll make the focus "being the best she can be", without pressure.
Now I just need to find a house in the catchment of a grammar school, but also with a great comprehensive. Looking on Rightmove this might necessitate selling off body parts.....!

richmal Wed 12-Feb-14 13:15:18

I'm in a grammar school catchment area, and though there is always the exception of children who are naturally bright, most do extra study to pass the 11+: Either tutors, private school or home learning.

It is better to do a little and gradually from year three than try and rush in year 5.

I did more maths and English with dd at this age as it would not be wasted no matter where dd went to secondary.

There is lots of information on the 11+ forum.

Level 3 at the start of year 3 seems like fairly good levels so there is no reason why your dd should not stand a chance of passing.

Waitingforthephonetoring Wed 12-Feb-14 13:24:05

How often do the teachers update their assessment levels? I asked at my children's school and was told at the end of each term. So I suppose half way through this term they would only have a formal level decision from December, so no levels progress since July wouldn't be a problem if only 2 are expected over a whole year in year 3, IYSWIM.

juniper44 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:38:42

Waiting we update the computer database every term, but assessment is ongoing. But you're right, the 'official' level will be based on the December assessment.

Following expected progress, your DD should be a 5c in writing and 5b in maths and reading by the end of year 6. Saying that, the benchmark has changed and expected progress is no longer good enough. Heads now ask for children to make 'good' progress per year in KS2, which is 2 or 3 sublevels.

Past even if schools declare children to be a '3' in KS1, rather than giving sub-levels, the teachers still know the sublevels. The SATS papers give either 'level 3 achieved' or not as their marking system, but nowadays teacher assessment is the main assessment tool, and SAT grades just help influence. So they can be recorded as any number above 3c, as long as the teacher can justify it.

PastSellByDate Thu 13-Feb-14 11:29:37

Hi Juniper:

And I quote:

NEW TEACHER: Mrs. PSBD your DD2's targets this term (Term 1/ Y3) are 3b.

MRS PSBD: I'm slightly confused new teacher - DD2 finished Y2 as 3A in reading, she's really good at it. My gosh, she just finished the Harry Potter series and she's not 8. She was 3c/3b for maths so fair enough. But it seems odd to start her again as 3c.

NEW TEACHER: Oh Mrs. PSBD - if a child hasn't finished the NC Level, we begin each school year at sub-level c. so if they finished the previous school year still working to 4a, they'll start as 4c the next school year.

MRS PSBD: confused Hmmmm????

Some version of this discussion has happened to me 5 times during my 7 year's at 'St Mediocre' for one or both DDs.

Agree the problem may just be our school - but this kind of thing crops up so often on MN, I think parents are entitled to include in various 'reasons' for a roll back - that teachers are 'gaming' the system. [Let's face it this policy means showing 2-3 sub-levels of progress over a given school year is a doddle for the teacher - hello pay rise]

Doesn't mean to say they definitely are - or that every teacher does - but that possibility is also out there.

columngollum Thu 13-Feb-14 11:34:32

A teacher could try a "we start them off at the beginning of the level" explanation on me. I've got a funny feeling that it wouldn't turn out well for her. But she could try.

redskyatnight Thu 13-Feb-14 11:40:25

IT's not like you can just start a child off "at the beginning of a level" is it though? I mean, they can do something or they can't.

DS ended Y2 on 2a, started Y3 on 2c, ended Y3 on 3c, started Y4 on 2b, ended Y4 on 4a ... (these all based on assessments) I gave up and observed the general upward trend (and nodded and smiled when his Y4 teacher talked about the "exceptional" progress he'd made that year).

redskyatnight Thu 13-Feb-14 11:40:48

Aarrggh ended Y4 on 3a - he wasn't that exceptional

juniper44 Thu 13-Feb-14 16:11:38

PSBD- I would be seeing the Head over that. That is not acceptable practice, and not something I have ever heard of before.

The pay related progress idea only started this September, so there should have been no incentive to fudge results before then.

Incidentally, even if I give my class lower grades in autumn than they received in the previous summer, leadership still base progress on the summer data. I can explain, over and over again (with samples of work) that that child was not that grade, but it doesn't matter. Progress, in my school, is based on the end of term data from the previous year.

As I teach year 3, this infuriates me. A lot of the data I receive is rubbish, so I end up with the near impossible job of making massive leaps of progress, just to make it look like the child has made expected progress. And from this year onwards my pay will be dependent on it...

PastSellByDate Thu 13-Feb-14 16:24:59

I hear you juniper and truly believe that you receive kids in Y3 who's KS1 SATs scores don't marry up with their performance in early Y4.

What is needed is a cross-check & repurcusions for 'inflation'.

But how this is achieved - I really know not.

hels71 Thu 13-Feb-14 16:56:13

A couple of things I have noticed as a year 3 teacher, with the stuff we use for leveling.

Firstly several of the levels children came to me with were not reflected in the work they produced, nor what they seemed to know or understand when questioned by me and TAs. Their previous teacher, now left, was well known for over estimating levels so it looked as if children had made more progress than they had...

Secondly, the things required at levels 2 and 3 are far more than those for level 1. Therefore it can take longer to progress than parents might have been used to from earlier in KS1.

Thirdly, a child might have been just a 2c at the start of the year and now they are almost a 2b. That is quite a lot of progress......but may not look like it on paper. Whereas a child who was a good 2c at the start of the year and just a 2b now will seem to have made progress on paper...but actually may have made less progress.

Fourthly, lots of ways children progress are not on the levels...confidence, having a go, being more creative, keeping trying.........

And finally, levels with sub levels are a loads of ** designed to stress teachers, worry parents and take the joy out of teaching.

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