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Teachers - approx mapping old levels to new descriptors

(17 Posts)
MillCandle Sun 06-Mar-16 13:22:31

DD is in year 6. I am keen to know whether she is in about the same place as her older brother was at the end of Primary, but it is hard to know with the change in assessment. DD has a few SEN things going on, so it is quite pertinent to us to be able to have a clear idea of her progress/attainment.

We were told at parents evening that she is working within age related expectations and should be secure by the end of the year. Does this equate to a level 4 (abc) or 5 (abc), just in approximate terms?

I know the curriculum has changed etc etc, but when you assess as at age related expectations, is that most of the class ie previous level 4's, or is that the top third ie level 5's?

Her teacher just said it was too hard to make that jump across different assessment criteria, but it leaves me none the wiser!

Wellthen Sun 06-Mar-16 13:49:40

You appear to be asking two different questions.
What does not equate to? The teacher is right not to commit to a level as ultimately they were always meaningless arbitrary numbers! But at is crudest level, expected year 6 equates to a level 5+

Is this the whole class or just the top? This is why your teacher won't say 'he'll be a level 5 by the end' as parents think that means 'he's above age expectations' because that's what 5 used to mean. Year 6 teachers are expected to get all their children to year 6 expectations. Some will be clinging on, some will be very comfortable, some will be slightly beyond. But the teacher will be busting a gut to get them all there so it tells you nothing about where he is in the class. The Tories seem to think that if they just ignore the fact mixed ability exists, then they will just disappear.

Where your son is in relation to the class has always depended on the class. I have a very high ability class at the moment so my 'top' kids are actually about 40%

spanieleyes Sun 06-Mar-16 14:24:24

In writing, we have been advised that the "working at expected level" description is roughly similar to an old level 4a/5c but not exactly as it measures different elements and more emphasis is placed on different objectives ( the "old " system had a heavy emphasis on creativity, expression, writing for purpose etc whereas the "new" system emphasises spelling, handwriting, technical accuracy and then description and detail) So a child who excels at the former may well come out lower than one who excels at the latter.

mrz Sun 06-Mar-16 15:07:13

The "official" announcement was expected would be approx 4b but the exemplilification materials suggest much higher ...should also remember this is intrim examples so things coukd change

spanieleyes Sun 06-Mar-16 15:13:29

It's certainly not a 4B, is it!!( unless I've been levelling incorrectly for the past 6 years!)

MillCandle Sun 06-Mar-16 15:52:22

Thanks. Your posts have been reassuring, I think.

So, roughly, and while it measures different things, 'age expected' means high 4/low 5. That is good to know.

As for my question about 'the rest of the class', I was just trying to establish whether it would be expected that most children would meet age related or whether it would be a smaller percentage i.e. like the difference between most children getting a level 4, but fewer getting a level 5.

Certainly in my children's school, the amount of children getting 4s and 5s has remained fairly steady proportions of the class year on year. Do you, as teachers, think that most children will get age related (i.e. most children used to get level 4), or that fewer will get it (i.e. like a smaller number used to get level 5).

On another note, SPAG aside, if a child struggles with say spelling and punctuation, but can construct and write appropriately to difference audiences and for different purposes, with interesting vocabulary, will they be able to get age related, or will their spelling, punctuation always mean they will be below age related?

spanieleyes Sun 06-Mar-16 16:01:07

If a child cannot spell accurately the year 5/6 spelling words generally correctly then they cannot be given "expected" And if they can't spell the year 3/4 words correctly, they can't be given "working towards"

I think the number of children achieving expected in writing will be significantly be lower than the number who achieved 4b last year. As to the "tested" subjects, who knows as we have no idea what the "pass mark" will be! ( As an example, my children sat both last year's SPAG test and this year's sample test. On the former, all but 2 achieved over 47 marks, which would have given them a 4b. On the latter ONLY two achieved 47 marks! So we have no idea whether the pass mark will be similar to previous years and fewer will pass or the pass mark will drop considerably!)

MillCandle Sun 06-Mar-16 16:07:42

Oh dear! DD can't spell AT ALL! So, she won't even get 'working towards' then? What will she get?? She can write a fab story. Just with 'interesting' spelling...

Is writing going to be externally marked or by teachers?

And, oh dear again about SPAG. The government surely won't let there be a huge drop on marks between years? Or will they, to show 'standards must improve', even if it means our children feel like failures...

spanieleyes Sun 06-Mar-16 16:19:50

If she struggles with spelling to such an extent I'm afraid she can only be assessed as "pre Key stage" This means that all the rest of her accomplishments are simply ignored as spelling is a limiting factor ( unlike handwriting) Writing will be marked by teachers but is moderated by local authorities.
Unfortunately children with dyslexia fall foul of spelling twice as it is a limiting factor in writing and also a large component of the SPAG test, twenty out of the 70 marks are for spelling and some of the answers in the test itself ( eg apostrophes, prefixes and suffixes etc ) are also reliant on correct spelling. So it will be impossible for a child with dyslexia who struggles with spelling to achieve a "pass" mark ( we think-it certainly was last year and I can't see it being any easier this year!)

MillCandle Sun 06-Mar-16 16:25:27

Oh, that's crap then. At least we can be forewarned.

Hopefully her better scores in reading and maths will show her ability at least.

There should be a way of excluding spelling scores in the writing assessment for kids who have a SpLD - DD will never be able to spell well, no matter how great the rest of her writing skills are sad

Thanks for this useful info spanieleyes. DD's teacher was far more guarded at parents eve (or maybe just knackered!).

spanieleyes Sun 06-Mar-16 16:38:25

The difficulty is that many parents want to know "how well" their child will do in SATS and we just don't know! I can tell you what my teacher assessment will be based on the coverage of the year objectives but I can't tell you what that means in terms of a test result-and that's what most parents want reassurance about! We have no idea what percentage of children will be at "expected" level so can't even say how many in a class might conceivably reach it.
Last year I could pretty much predict not just the level a child would achieve in their SATS tests but also how many marks they would get-give or take a couple! This year I have absolutely no idea at all!

bojorojo Sun 06-Mar-16 23:49:08

SAts are a snap shot of attainment though. Teachers are assessing all the time and progress of every child is monitored. Where I am a Governor, monitoring of progress is rigorous. Therefore whatever the Sats results, teachers will know whether your child is at one of the descriptive "levels" as they are marking, assessing and planning future work. They may also be using a computer program to assist with plotting progress. Where a child sits within a cohort depends on the rest of the cohort. Lots of bright ones or lots who are struggling.

mrz Mon 07-Mar-16 06:19:37

In my neighbouring LA schools using computerised tracking have been slammed by OFSTED.
Of course teachers know what their pupils can do but until the DfE decides exactly what they want we are all in a fog about expectations. At the moment we have interim exemplifucation materials (this year only) for Y2 and Y6. Of course these have been changed only days after release! There are no national expectations for other year groups schools are expected to create their own.

mrz Mon 07-Mar-16 06:21:19

As spaniels says we won't know until until after the tests what is expected 🤔

MillCandle Wed 09-Mar-16 14:20:38

This lack of a clear system must be so frustrating for teachers, as well as unhelpful for parents. I assume if Year 6 cohorts don't hit the 'floor' with the results, then schools will be in trouble, even though they haven't actually been told where the 'floor' is yet? And parents are just none the wiser how their children are doing in any meaningful way.

As I have an older child, I will try to take comfort from the fact that if DD is predicted to be 'secure' this year (except in writing and SPAG, where her dyslexia will mean she is 'pre key stage (FFS), despite being able to write a cracking story!), and given that this prediction is based on unknown targets (!), 'secure' equates approximately to her being an old money 4a/5c, so doing ok. Phew. I think.

flowers to all teachers out there battling with this.

Clawdella Wed 09-Mar-16 19:35:07

My year 6 daughter is dyslexic and I've just found out that despite excellent progress and even if she was Shakespeare she wouldn't be able to be working towards or at national expectations in her writing because she cannot spell. It is shocking and discriminatory. I am furious at this government 😡

spanieleyes Wed 09-Mar-16 19:59:29

Shakespeare used too many exclamation marks to be "expected" ( and his use of relative clauses is a bit shaky toosad

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