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Big difference in ability at home compared to school

(14 Posts)
Bloodywornoutnow Thu 13-Feb-14 23:02:05

Dd is 8 and in a state primary, she is very bright and particulairly good at maths working on advanced material at home, despite advocating almost constantly since dd started school we have yet to transfer this achievement to school and dd is working at just above average in this area.
I'm getting to the stage now where I don't know what to do about this anymore, dd is not unhappy and family often tell me she will come into her own at secondary school, should I just leave it be now?

Saracen Thu 13-Feb-14 23:31:11

It isn't uncommon. In some schools the "reward" for achieving well is to be lumbered with extra work. In some peer groups it is not the done thing to find the work easy, and girls in particular have been known to hide their light under a barrel. Perhaps your daughter has considered these factors and decided that showing her abilities at school is not something she wants to do.

What about the materials being used at school - are they less interesting to her than what you use at home? Or perhaps she thrives on individual attention and doesn't engage so well in a large group situation?

If you have been discussing this with the teachers for years to no avail and you are planning to leave her in the same school, I don't suppose there is much else you can do at this stage other than hope the circumstances will change so that she will be more inspired when she is older.

YoullNeedATray Fri 14-Feb-14 00:17:38

Playing Devil's advocate... but with genuine examples of former pupils of mine.

Parents of Child A, arriving at school mid-term, tell me that the child is VERY good at maths: "Exceptional" in fact. Actually, they are pretty average and rush to finish, so make lots of mistakes.

Parents of Child B teach their child lots of different methods at home (eg long division). Child cannot apply them in school and makes mistakes. Yet, because Mum has said this is the way to do it, child insists on using their own hybrid of school and home methods and gets frustrated.

Child C has been told by Dad that they are 'Gifted' at Maths and that I can teach them nothing, They therefore do not listen to my input in class... and therefore fail to achieve many of the tasks that I set because it actually was something new.

Many children have strengths and weaknesses in different areas and will perform well on one aspect while being poor in another (eg telling the time versus shape versus number skills).

Or, of course, you could have a shite teacher who is failing to differentiate for your child's higher natural ability. That does happen and should be challenged. :-)

columngollum Fri 14-Feb-14 10:44:13

If the task is to demonstrate on a number square the addition of 22 and 14, the fact that the child can model rabbit-breeding using the Fibonacci Series is irrelevant. And if the child (or mother) insists that Fibonacci is more important than what the teacher is asking for it's not going to turn out well.

After all, you can't write on your GCSE paper - well, I know you want the answer to that question, but look, this discovery by Archimedes is far more interesting...

WooWooOwl Fri 14-Feb-14 12:09:54

Is there a chance that your dd is more easily distracted at school and so appears to be capable of more at home because she is able to keep her focus there better?

Sometimes children are capable of the work but find it hard to concentrate in a busy and sometimes, quite loud, classroom. I've also known children to come across to parents as being more capable at home because the parents don't realise how much input they are giving at the beginning of the task, whereas at school they expected to be able to problem solve more independently.

bigbuttons Fri 14-Feb-14 17:31:20

You don't know how bright the rest of her class are though do you?
You don't know how well she can concentrate either, in a class setting.
If she is bright then school assessments and tracking will show that.

bigbuttons Fri 14-Feb-14 17:33:13

I have also found that most parents have somewhat overinflated views of their children's intelligence. It's incredible the number of supposedly 'very intelligent' children I come across.

columngollum Fri 14-Feb-14 17:42:11

Class teaching methods aren't very efficient, though. The smaller the classes are, with an able teacher, reducing to a single pupil, the greater the educational gains are.

So, the parents might all be right and their children's intelligence might be being overshadowed by the school environment.

Fairenuff Fri 14-Feb-14 17:54:20

How are you testing her at home? Activities in class are often problem solving and explaining their thinking. Is she just filling out worksheets?

richmal Fri 14-Feb-14 18:10:27

I have over the years had similar problems with dd.

YoullNeedATray I cannot see why when the parent and child are in such disagreement the child cannot simply do a KS test at whatever level the parent thinks they are at. You can probably tell I was that parent and this was what I thought would be a sensible solution. I was told my child was not as bright as I thought and it was teacher assessment only.

A few months after leaving school she got silver in the JMC. She was 9. Sometimes the parents are saying their child is advanced in maths because they are.

anklebitersmum Fri 14-Feb-14 18:37:03

In my experience far too many teachers are prone to dismiss parents opinions and previous school's SAT results out of hand.

because clearly they are so talented that within a week they can confidently say that a previous school has 'inflated' their SAT results hmm

When, three or six months later they realise they were wrong in their 'instant' assessment they already have a bored, disheartened child on their hands.

Personally I'd keep doing what you're doing at home and try to work with the teacher in question.

Pythonesque Sun 16-Feb-14 10:13:12

I'm not sure that I can suggest anything (beyond trying to keep in touch with the teacher and making sure they understand your concerns). I've got an 8 yr old son whose maths performance this year is all over the place - one lesson he will work steadily and swiftly, the next week he will get less work done over several lessons and 2 lots of prep ... In his case I think attention is part of the problem, but also some very weird self-confidence stuff is going on right now (I can praise him for something and he turns round and tells me it is rubbish). His maths teacher is oscillating between understanding and exasperation - she does know he is able, but is running out of patience with him when he goes off into dreamland! (this is at a small independent prep; one maths teacher takes all the classes so this is his second year with her).

Good luck finding the right ways to bolster your daughter's confidence or figure out what is going on!

scaevola Sun 16-Feb-14 10:25:28

Stating the bleedin' obvious, but teachers can only assess pupils based on what they do in school. The area to work on, if there is one, is discovering and removing the reason why there is a difference.

Your family are right that this will often resolve all by itself. Also that it is different in secondary when your DD will probably get a specialist teacher who will look to wider maths and problem solving, rather than the arithmetic-heavy operations and problems of primary.

Have a chat with her current teacher to see what she is not demonstrating in class at the moment, but don't worry about it yet. Keep up her liking for the subject and encourage her to work diligently (the latter attitude being incredibly important to school performance in the round).

Fairenuff Sun 16-Feb-14 13:52:44

At home, parents often help without realising that they are helping.

For instance, faced with a problem solving difficulty, the parent will tell the child, 'you need to add those numbers together to find out what this number could be' etc.

In school, the child would have to work that out for themselves if they were being assessed. Often, they can work out the answer but they have difficulty working out what it is they are being asked to do. It's a skill.

Give your child a SATS test at home. No talking, no help whatsoever. They can select their own resources but you don't help with that, or tell them, or get it for them. The child needs to work out what is the best resource to help them solve the problem and select it themselves.

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