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standardised scores - worth trying to bridge the gap between English and Maths?

(20 Posts)
itsallamystery Wed 01-Jul-15 13:59:19

"we" have had quite consistent scores the last couple of years. This year English and NRIT 118, however maths always sits high 90's/low 100's. Can we work on this, or is ability just set where it is? There is selection for grammar (only year 4 at the minute), though very high scores aren't usually necessary.

I don't want to have rows about it, but if there's potential there, want to fulfil it. Does anyone have any experience? thanks.

itsallamystery Wed 01-Jul-15 15:05:34


itsallamystery Wed 01-Jul-15 16:04:00

can anyone advise please?

DiamondAge Thu 02-Jul-15 11:08:57

I would say yes because maths is a subject that is easy to improve with regular practice.

I've had DDs standardised scores for English and Maths and they are only a couple of marks apart, yet she has greater natural ability in English than in maths.

Personally I can't see the difference between DC reading to a parents most nights and spending the same amount of time doing maths (but often on MN the former is lauded whereas the latter in lumped in with tutoring - which bright children don't need!!).

IMO these activities both help fluency in their subject areas / accelerate progress and if you have a child that chooses to read but doesn't enjoy maths in the same way, playing lots of maths based games (real or computer versions) or even working through frowned upon work books can make a significant change to performance and increase confidence greatly.

itsallamystery Thu 02-Jul-15 12:51:32

thanks for your reply. We will be doing some practice over the summer. As you say, confidence is key. I suppose it can't do any harm to keep at it. I would really love those maths scores to shift upwards even a point or two!

mrsmortis Thu 02-Jul-15 13:32:55

My DDs find being allowed screen time to be a motivating factor so one of the online maths courses would work really well for them. We've used themathsfactor in the past and found it really useful.

Cloud2 Thu 02-Jul-15 14:21:04

I am not familiar with these scores. However, I think let DC doing some practice paper, then you mark it yourself, so you can find out the problems. Sometimes , there are some knowledge gap, sometimes it may be the exam skills, like speed, checking etc. Then you can certainly help him to improve.

Madcats Thu 02-Jul-15 14:51:53

My DD is apparently good (not brilliant) at Maths. I left her alone for year 3 standardised tests as school urged us not to stress the kids, but a few weeks' later I spotted that her memory of tables and times tables was pretty dire (in my opinion). I remember the school stressing that it was a really good idea for the kids to know all their number bonds brilliantly up to 20 (i.e bonds for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 etc rather than knowing that 7+3=10, 8+2=10). It helps with addition and subtraction apparently.

We have a 15 minute walk to school by ourselves so I started asking her 10 simple maths questions. She whinged for the first week but there has been a noticeable improvement. That takes about 200 metres of the journey, after which she can continue to tell me all about her latest favourite TV programme or plans for the weekend etc.

If you can reinforce these basic early skills she will find it a lot easier next year (and she might even enjoy it).

itsallamystery Thu 02-Jul-15 19:13:49

thanks. It's trying to get them interested enough to actually want to improve I find to be the problem. I agree that if you don't keep at it, basic maths skills just disappear. My mental maths has certainly improved over the last year or two!

Will plod on with regular work, just wish I could trigger some enthusiasm. Have tried rewards, app's, flashcards etc etc!! However, is encouraging to think it can improve.

nowitscleanugobshite Thu 02-Jul-15 20:03:30

The school that I teach in would automatically flag any child with a discrepancy of more than 15 points (we try to squeeze in those with more than 10 if we can manage it!!) between NFER test and NRIT as that would be a sign that they are not working to their full potential. A child with a large difference between PIM and PIE scores would also be monitored e.g. if the PIE score was the lower and was also below the NRIT score we would look for signs of dyslexia. In addition to being specifically named/differentiation shown in weekly planning etc, these children get whatever additional support that we can muster-small group support with additionally trained classroom asst, extra input from FS staff when their children go home, input from support teacher, senco etc. Parents would be informed about this and about how best to support e.g. the child may be performing well with pure number but struggling with transferring that knowledge into everyday problems, they may find shape&space an issue, or clocks/ timetables etc. In an ideal world we'd like to iron out the scoring discrepancy- but that isn't always possible, so we look to add 5 points on to the score. Sometimes children have very different abilities between literacy/numeracy but we have found that the addition of a minimum of 5 points to the NFER score has been an achievable target and one which most children have maintained/built upon for following years (if their score moves to within the "magic 10-15" difference they aren't "dropped off the face of the earth" but become part of a "monitoring group" who are .....monitored! by the class teacher just keeping an eye out e.g. that when their specific area of difficulty is the focus that they aren't being overwhelmed by the progression.
I know that NONE of that will either make sense to you OP or even be at all relevant in many ways but I wanted to pass on the fact that as a parent, I wouldn't be at all embarrassed about asking what was the plan to help support numeracy/is there a specific area of difficulty within numeracy that is pulling down the score?/how best could you support your child etc. If it is the pure number recall/application then just keep chipping away at the rote learning and speed of recall. It's dull-even with apps etc -but it HAS to be at their fingertips!

itsallamystery Thu 02-Jul-15 20:27:21

thanks, that's very interesting. Certainly, clocks/time have been a challenge! I would say that mechanical maths has improved and times tables are generally fine (no shift is score tests though), but application of maths e.g problems is not great. Also, speed when subtracting in head is not good.

The gap in scores has been consistent now for 3 years. We have not been identified for additional help (unless this will happen in new term). Maybe Senco is the way to go?

Next school year is a big one and I am really worried about the level the children will be working at and my child may struggle to keep up with the maths. Do these scores suggest a child who can be pushed?

nowitscleanugobshite Thu 02-Jul-15 21:09:27

I'd say they suggest a child who needs "pushed from behind"! In other words child who needs a wee bit of support in order to maximise their potential-if that makes,sense? And I'm a great believer in the fact that there is very little point in carrying out standardised tests if you aren't' going to do something about what they've shown? Plus the school has shared the scores with you so you get to be part of the game plan! I'm in NI so our school year is over but I'd definitely not let things,sit in the next school year. I know that our senco (who happens to also be my best friend!) is stretched to the limit! We are a single stream PS with 214 children-so all classes of 30+, & there are over 40 kids on the special needs register (not all with statements). But that's simply "how things are" in the current climate and we cope as best we can and support to the very best of our ability. In my school, we'd be bringing you in but that doesn't seem as if it's going to happen where you are so I dont think there's any harm in asking to meet with the teacher as early as possible in the new year and lay out your concerns about the difference between NRIT and PIM and say that you want to work on narrowing that gap if at all possible. The likelihood is that the senco/teaching staff are job to their eyes coping with kids who have statements or who are at earlier stages on SNR but there may be something that they can offer? E.g. my 20 year old daughter is at uni locally but she has had no classes on one day a week for the past two years so she comes in and works with individuals/small groups on their maths skills (i refer to it as her devil of a mum finding work for her idle hands!); we have two parents who are ex teachers who offer reading support one day a week and 3 retired people who help out wherever needed. There might be something like that on offer? Regardless of what is/isn't on offer I'd ask the teacher to spell out what the areas of weakness have been in the previous year(s), and ask how you can support your child so that they can move forward. Don't get me wrong, your wee one's scores are very solid. I just think there might be a bit of "wriggle room" for improvement!

itsallamystery Thu 02-Jul-15 21:31:28

Thanks. Do you really think it'll all be ok with those scores?!?! Think it's time, well after holidays, to approach the school about the consistent gap.

Any tips on how to help with application of maths/comprehension of problems during the break? Focus is an issue.

Thanks so much everyone.

nowitscleanugobshite Thu 02-Jul-15 22:40:48

Small bursts of focus. 5 good minutes is better than 25 minutes of torture for both of you! And "ok" will always mean different things to different people? My DD would have always had all scores 130+ and has achieved all A*/A throughout gcse and A level. Her brother would have had scores in 90/100 NFER and NRIT range. He was the last year with A/B/C/D grades in NI 11+ & he got a D-which was entirely expected as bottom 55% got D in those days. He went to the (grammar) school which would be known as being for the "cream of NI" ie "rich and thick"!! It was our fourth choice-he didn't get into the secondary schools thAt we had placed ahead of it. But it was absolutely the right place for him. He has flourished and while he will never be the "academic" that his sister is, he has blossomed into a confident, thoughtful (& v handsome!) 17 year old who got 6A/4B at gcse, has a distinction* (D*???) already banked at As and is predicted AAB for the others (will believe it when I see it though!). This is the same 5 year old that I taught and who was bottom group in everything in my class. He simply needed more time, more support, and more maturity. And acceptance of the fact that while he wasn't his sister, he could be the very best "him" that he could be! And while his school gets a LOT of local criticism for being a "grammar" that is actually a "fee paying comprehensive", it has "added" more to him than the high flying "all A intake" girls' grammar added to his sister. Good luck for a productive summer!!

itsallamystery Thu 02-Jul-15 23:05:16

Thanks again. Glad to hear a positive story. Am hoping the strength in English will balance out weakness in maths, but it still needs to improve, regardless of selection process, it's just such a battle at times.

roguedad Sat 04-Jul-15 07:09:38

We've routinely had DS maths around 20+ points higher than English all through JS. We did our homework for senior schools and found a selective school that tolerated an isolated weakness and he made it through their entrance and is thriving, getting support where he needs it and being well pushed where he can take it. When it is the other way round bear in mind that maths can improve a lot with practice. Talk to senior schools about how they help uneven kids - it can make a huge difference.

PettsWoodParadise Sat 04-Jul-15 07:25:28

There are lots of great tips on the elevenplusexams site

JustRichmal Sat 04-Jul-15 07:59:14

I agree very much with Diamond, maths can be improved by practice. I have just posted (a very long post) on the HE section about how I went about teaching dd maths, if you wanted to have a glance.

The clock thing was also a bit of a sticking point for dd. We only have digital clocks around the house, so getting an analogue clock on the wall and using it to tell the time helps.

I also used to teach dd on the journey to and from school. We used to do one times table sum a day.

Dd was the opposite, in that she was further behind in English than in maths. I did get a tutor for English for about 10 lessons to boost her 11+, as this was a subject I did not feel confident to teach.

The enthusiasm does sound like a problem. At your ds's age they are just beginning to see the importance of education so it could well be worth asking him if he wants to improve and how he feels about his maths. We also chose a cuddly toy whose job it would be to help with that subject.

RashDecision Sat 04-Jul-15 08:05:04

Work on it. DS got 100 in standardised score in English in Y4, I forced reading on him and did some stuff with him in Y5 and he got the highest English score in the 11+ in his school.

Maths is even easier to teach.

itsallamystery Sun 05-Jul-15 14:22:09

thanks everyone! I think I will speak to the school in Sept about the gap and maybe ask for additional help. I've had a look at the websites and will try a few. Will keep at the practice. Any improvement we can manage is better than none. I am worried about the selection process as confidence is low generally and not doing well will be very hard and will lower morale even further I think.

If anyone has any more good news stories about closing the gap, please let me know!

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