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An interesting trend with NC L5 at KS2 SATs

(54 Posts)
PastSellByDate Fri 02-May-14 10:29:28

Hello all:

My fondness of numbers/ statistics has lead me to consider some interesting tables the Guardian published regarding this past December's announcement of 2013 (May 2013 cohort) KS2 SATs results:

The article is an interesting read - but scroll down to the tables of overall results in England between 1997 - 2013 for English & Maths and there is a rather interesting trend:

English: 1997 20% achieve NC L5 and this steadily climbs until 2007 48% achieve NC L5 - and it stays in this general approaching 50% ball park until 2013 (48% that year).

Maths: 1995 - 13% attained NC L5 and this climbs to 31% in 2005 and then on up to 41% in 2013.


I'm sure there isn't a simple explanation - but if basically 50% of all English pupils are attaining NC L5 in English & 40% are attaining NC L5 in Maths - and there isn't a watering down of standards (which as a parent I can't really determine) - does this mean that NC L4 needs to be presented to parents as the minimum a child should achieve?

I just wonder if our school had been aiming for NC L5 rather than scraping NC L4 - if this entire process of preparing for KS 2 SATs would have been less stressful for the school (? less stressful for parents having to deal with kids suddenly getting endless photocopies of KS2 SATs busters books for homework after years of no homework at all/ and endlessly taking past KS2 papers for 'practise').

Our school seems to have thrown everything at DD1's Year 6 cohort in one last ditch effort to get >65% to NC L4+ in Maths/ English and I can't help but wonder if the pace of the curriculum and the standard of content hadn't been slightly higher if everybody wouldn't have had a more pleasant Year 6.

AmberTheCat Tue 13-May-14 22:16:40

Not that I know of, but then they're largely externally marked. I'm a fan of teacher assessment, but, given the pressure schools are under to achieve results, I can completely understand the temptation to give children the benefit of the doubt when a pass mark or grade boundary is known, which I think is what that graph reveals.

ipadquietly Tue 13-May-14 22:30:52

I'm not sure this is meant to be a normal distribution.
Children are expected to know ALL the sounds in the phonics test by the end of Y1, having had two years of phonics training. Surely, that expectation, and the fact that many children have good phonic knowledge by the end of Y1, would surely skew results to the +30 end.

Wouldn't it?

AmberTheCat Tue 13-May-14 22:39:33

The results should be skewed towards the upper end if children have good phonic knowledge, but it should still be a normal bell curve shape. The massive jump on this graph at the pass mark, and the fact that it actually goes down on the number before the pass mark, is so pronounced that it's hard to see any other explanation than teachers giving kids who were nearly there the benefit of the doubt, whether consciously or subconsciously.

As I say, completely understandable, but given that different teachers will respond to the pressure to have as many children pass in different ways, I think it makes sense not to publicise the pass mark until afterwards.

PiqueABoo Tue 13-May-14 22:46:58

I once got Excel to make some graphs out of RaiseOnline library (no logon required, anyone can go get that) KS2-KS4 transition data which had KS2 sub-level granularity, however it was KS2 data for the cohort who had just done their GCSEs so not exactly current. Their lastest KS1-KS2 transition data didn't have the sub-level granularity, just whole levels at KS2.

At KS2 it was normal distributions but with some significant distortion around 4c and 5c i.e. suggested 'boosting' to those levels. The top end was also clearly 'clipped' at 5a i.e. some of those children could have been more 'stretched'. GCSE grade graphs were much the same but the distortion was obviously for grade C.

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