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Confusion following Parents Eve

(8 Posts)
Chocovore Wed 05-Mar-14 22:36:13

We had parents eve tonight for DS in Y3. We have had a mixed bag of NC levels given to us. His reading ability has apparently rocketed this year. He is now assessed at age 10 and level 4C.

However, his writing has apparently stalled and he has made only 1 level of progress since Sept which means that he is now in a focus group. Teacher said he is now 3B+ (What does the plus mean?) but apparently that is actually 3 levels of progress as something about at the end of Y2 he could only be recorded as a 3B instead of a 3C. Does anyone understand this?

Should we be concerned about writing progress and is there anything we can do to support that at home? Most of the educational websites I have seen seem to focus on Maths. His score for maths was 3B.

MrsKCastle Wed 05-Mar-14 23:00:39

Ok, firstly one sublevel of progress since September is perfectly fine- he should be making around 2 sublevels per year (technically 1.5). We're halfway through the year, so one sublevel is just right.

However, the levels themselves are a little confusing. I think what the teacher means is this: in Y2, a level 3 is just reported as a level 3, not broken down into sublevels. So he may have appeared to be a 3b, when he was really a 3c. The 3b+ is unusual terminology, but I assume the teacher means he's almost at 3a- so he is making progress.

What would be much more useful to your is a description of where his strengths and weaknesses lie within each area, and what his next steps are to move him up to 3a - did the teacher not give you this kind of information?

MrsKCastle Wed 05-Mar-14 23:03:23

I forgot to say- for what you can do at home, keep reading to/with him and look for techniques and features that he can use in his writing. If you see a good phrase, or an interesting use of punctuation, then discuss why it was used and how it helps the reader. Discuss how the text is organised, and what style is used- formal,chatty, scientific etc.

Nocomet Wed 05-Mar-14 23:32:55

Writing levels normally lag reading, especially as school 'reading' tests are not the reading age lists of words I did as a child, they are comprehensions.

DCs can read and understand far more complex text than they can write.

By the end of Y3, DD2 could sail through a Y6 SATs reading paper to pretty much L5 standard. She didn't write that well until late Y5/Y6.

Answering a comprehension question when you only need to write one or two sentences and the spellings and tense are in the question and/or the passage is very different to planning a story or a piece of non fiction.

simpson Thu 06-Mar-14 00:58:48

My DS's scores at end of yr2 were broken down to sub levels ie 3(c) etc....

He is now in yr4 and in yr3 he stalled in yr3 ( literacy) massively and ended up going one sub level in the whole year by the skin of his teeth.

His reading was quite a bit higher ( as others have said) I do believe it can be down to maturity too.

PastSellByDate Thu 06-Mar-14 10:27:25

First off Chocovore those levels sound great for mid-way through Year 3:

end Y3 targets according to Mumsnet are 2A/3C (i.e. notionally what a child should achieve) -MN link here: www.mumsnet.com/learning/assessment/progress-through-national-curriculum-levels - scroll down to table at bottom of this page for notional end of year targets against years in primary school.

So my thinking is this:

1) Your school is clearly working to high standards and aren't continued to just make the target - they want to exceed it.

2) It's a great thing that your school is focusing on a child working at 3B+ (also agree that most likely means nearly 3A - with c being just working at the level/ b = working securely at the level and a = working well at the level and sometimes working into L4. I can assure you there are schools that would just leave them to it.

3) Also agree with Nocomet writing ability often lags behind reading ability - but it will get there in time.

Things you can do at home:

1) I don't know if your DC's school uses this but many schools show the progression in ability in writing in a pyramid structure like this: www.highleyprimaryschool.co.uk/resources/vcop_pyramid.pdf - I stumbled across this at some point in Y4 for DD1 and it really helped me to focus on what she is doing and what she needs to do next. So by reading things like the connectives pyramid I could see that DD1 was very found of but, so, because & and - but rarely used: even though, however, besides. So I started to look over her written work for school and encourage her to replace but, so, and, etc... with more complicated connectives. You can do the same for openers, ambitious vocabulary & punctuation.

2) sneak in the writing: postcards (have them send cards to friends/ grand parents/ aunts/ uncles when on holiday), thank you notes (cheer up Grandma or shock her - and have him send a note thanking them for a present/ nice day out/ etc...), don't e-mail for competitions - send an old fashioned letter. Encourage fan letters to favourite TV shows.

3) A friend of mine found that although girls like the idea of keeping diaries (which was my successful solution for more writing for my DDs) boys don't usually. Her solutions was to encourage her son to make cartoons and write captions for the characters/ update of events/ etc... He's doing some brilliant stuff now and really into it.

I think your DS's teacher didn't get across that your DS is doing well but they think he could be doing better and that s/he has identified the area of weakness is his writing. I don't think you should feel that worried -but clearly this is an area where a bit of encouragement/ double checking of his work at home might benefit him.

HTH

Chocovore Thu 06-Mar-14 13:29:22

Thanks all for the input/explanation. MrsKCastle - I think you have hit the nail on the head with regard to the levels. Thanks for explaining.

PastSellByDate - that pyramid is fab, thank you! Will definitely try some of that at home.

He did explain what DS could do to improve. I am not overly worried - I am glad they are onto it.

Re. the Focus Group, the school went from Outstanding to Special Measures in the summer and so this pupil progress is being tracked every 6 weeks currently, so they can't just ignore it. Ironically we were slated over reading .....but that's another story!

pgwispa Thu 06-Mar-14 21:58:30

Each sublevel is worth 2 points so to move from a 3b to a 3a your child would make 2 points progress. 3b+ means that your child has made 1 points progress. He has moved within 3b, and is showing some elements of 3a but not enough to be a secure 3a. At Y2 children are just reported to the la as a level 3 and the la puts them into reports etc as a secure level 3 ie 3b. In reality most are a 3c. This makes it very different to show progress in y3 and is a big problem at my school.

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