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Do schools assess differently?

(9 Posts)
Orlasuzanne Wed 05-Nov-14 13:44:58

My children have recently started at a new state primary school in years 4 and 5. We have just been given a report which states their levels, however they are different from the levels received at the end of the last school year.
Both reports are saying they are 2 sub levels below what they were last year. My son said his new teacher was looking through a maths assessment from his old school which was clearly marked 4a, and went on to put him down as a 4c. And this seems to be the case for all levels except my daughters reading which has gone from 3a to a 5c.
I thought they all followed the same assessments, and if the old school was using the proper assessment booklets, I find it hard to believe that they were wrong?
Their targets for the end of year are now what they had already achieved in their previous school year.
Can levels really vary that much between schools?

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 05-Nov-14 13:59:25

I suppose the main question then is have they achieved their targets already and are they able to demonstrate this in their work to their new teacher?

Levels don't exist now except for the current yr2 and yr6 so it is quite possible that the levels the new school are reporting are just different so the 4a is now a 4c? it could be that they just currently aren't convinced the children are demonstrating the level consistently at present and will revise this when they are?

mrz Wed 05-Nov-14 19:19:47

My question would be why are they using levels that no longer exist?

NerfHerder Wed 05-Nov-14 19:24:08

What mrz said!
NCLevels have gone now (though schools are still using them...erm)

A 4C in one school should be a 4C in another, but in a new school children do not necessarily display their full capabilities at first, until they're settled a little.

Orlasuzanne Thu 06-Nov-14 15:42:14

I don't know why they are still using the levels but they have targets for end of year so don't think they're planning on stopping soon.

I guess as they've not been at the school long the work may not be consistent enough for the higher levels. My daughter had her previous teacher for 2 years so he would have far more evidence of work than a teacher she's had 2 months. However if all previous assessments have been sent to the new school I'd have thought it was pretty black and white.

Does anyone think they could have purposely lowered the levels so at the end if the year it looks like they've made much better progress at their school? Or do things like that not really happen?

justanotherquestion Thu 06-Nov-14 17:47:39

Well, IME experience it does certainly happen and it is done with knowledge that the record is not accurate. When we moved DS his levels shot up by 4 or 5 sub-levels in one subject and at least a complete level in another. The new school were visibly shocked when I told them the levels that I had been given. Unsurprisingly, his records never made it to the new school (a private school) even though they were requested.

My friend, who was about to attend parent's evening, was complaining about the very same thing. In the November, she is rarely told levels, or if she is they have not moved since May/June. However, in the February parent's evening she is always told what amazing progress her DC have now made, how they have grown in confidence, matured etc, etc! <sub-text, 'your DC are making much better progress under me than your previous teacher'>. They still make the 2 sub-levels of progress every year!

Our new school are more than willing to show the many assessments to parents and how the levels are calculated, but I recall too well, what you must be feeling. What I would say though is that they did put your DD's reading level up a lot, so if they were 'gaming', then surely they would not do that. It is possible that there is a difference in the methods taught in maths which may be temporarily confusing your DD.

chickenfish Thu 06-Nov-14 19:19:46

No, justanotherquestion, that is NOT the subtext.

Children have only been in school for a few weeks by November and may not even have covered enough material yet to "move up", though of course the teacher will be tracking whatever progress they have made and assessing whichever topics they have covered so far. It depends what gaps they need to fill before they can fulfill the next assessment criteria.

It's possible for children to have gone up a level by November but it's not a guarantee. Most teachers like to have a broad range of evidence before they make a definite statement about a child having moved up a level.

(And levels don't exist anymore anyway).

chickenfish Thu 06-Nov-14 19:30:12

To the OP, technically sublevels have never existed and since the whole system is being replaced, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Levels can vary that much between schools because it was never a perfect system. It's not as simple as box ticking.

All the schools that I have worked in have continually checked and moderated their assessments either by comparing work within the school or by using outside help from advisers and independent bodies and links to other schools.

But I suppose a parent wouldn't know that that sort of thing goes on continuously throughout the year.

Orlasuzanne Sat 08-Nov-14 13:40:14

Thank you. I guess I'm going to have to wait and see how they get on through out the year. Hopefully this will give them time to show their full potential. I just hope in the mean time they're not constantly given lower level work to do.

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