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Are parents any good at assessing levels...?

(34 Posts)
justlumpingalong Mon 07-Mar-16 11:46:30

Is it as easy to assess levels (1c, 2a, and all of that) as it looks, or should I just be leaving it to the professionals?

DD's teacher is decidedly unforthcoming about how DD is doing relative to national standards - all I can wring out of her is 'she's doing fine' followed by a looooong list of everything she is a disaster at. I am nosy keen to see that DD is progressing well, so decided to have a go at a spot of DIY levelling.

So, with reading it looks quite easy. She's on ORT bands 9-10, and Google reliably informs me that this puts her at a 2b/2a sort of level. For Maths, there are various checklists online too, and referencing them against what I've seen in her school books / homework, etc, I reckon she's about 2b there too - she can do almost everything on the 2b list fairly well, but when I go to 2a there start to be gaps.

So, is that job done, or is really, much, much more complicated than that...?

TheBalefulGroke Mon 07-Mar-16 11:49:31

I don't think they use levels any more, hence the reluctance?

TheBalefulGroke Mon 07-Mar-16 11:51:01

What year is she in, which system, what month of birth?
How long until parents evening/since last parents evening?

almostthirty Mon 07-Mar-16 11:54:07

She is reluctant because levels have been scrapped and have been replaced with wishy-washy age related expectations, which everyone is muddling through with at the moment.

Keeptrudging Mon 07-Mar-16 11:57:10

Yup, job done, go teach grin. However, the key here is you are assessing one child, based on what you may only have seen them do once or twice, and you may be a little/lot more lenient when it comes to 'iffy'. Also, can they demonstrate these skills consistently and in different curricular areas/across a range of texts. Are they secure with those skills?

The assessing/ticking boxes is not the hard bit, it's getting the child there/secure which is tricky! It's handy to know as a parent what the progression is.

justlumpingalong Mon 07-Mar-16 12:14:48

Wow, that was fast! Thanks everyone. Hmmm, yes, it is entirely possible that I am a bit more lenient on the iffy areas than a teacher might be, and I definitely don't know how consistent her skills are over multiple areas.

We're in England, so yes, I guess some of the teacher's reluctance could be because there is no clear new system in place.

I'm reluctant to give year group, because I never meant this to be a 'is my child a genius/slowcoach' thread.

I think another part of the problem is that the teacher (who I like in many respects) tends to focus on the negative (other parents have noted this too). DD is a good girl, who tries hard, but she is a total space cadet bit of a daydreamer and I think the teacher gets a bit frustrated with her, and our discussions inevitably revolve around that.

TeenAndTween Mon 07-Mar-16 12:30:45

Because the levels have gone it really is harder.

They should be willing to tell you something such as 'working towards' , 'working within' or 'exceeding' year group expectations.

You may get more traction with asking 'what skills should we be focussing on next', though of course that doesn't tell you if she's behind or ahead.

Apples11 Mon 07-Mar-16 12:36:48

does your school do the Maths and English tests at the end of the year which gives your child their standardised scores? Could you use this as a measure for their ability against the national standard?

TheBalefulGroke Mon 07-Mar-16 13:02:21

You should have had some sort of report if assessment from school, using whatever the school is using to measure progress.
If the teacher thinks her progress is fine, then it probably is (don't forget, teachers have performance related pay, linked to progress of pupils. If there was an issue, you'd probably know about it!).
I tend to ask how mine are doing in relation to where they were on joining the school, then I can see which areas are fine, and which need some more support.

justlumpingalong Mon 07-Mar-16 15:36:11

Some great ideas here - thank you. I will ask what she needs to work on next, and also how she is doing against her entry level.

They don't do SATs (private school). They defo do some sort of end-of-year assessment, as it's in the School calendar, but I'm not sure what it is, or whether the results are divulged to parents.

Out of curiosity, do teachers in private schools get performance-related pay too?

Apples11 Mon 07-Mar-16 21:02:38

My DD attends a prep school and like yours, the teacher danced around the question when I asked how she's progressing against national standards. So I've given up on asking. Perhaps it's a private school rule not to dilvuge such information? However, I felt rest assured following her standardised scores in her English and Maths being 132 and 133 respectively which I understand is above average.

Don't worry what level book your child is on. Comprehension skills is more important. As she progresses through the school, you will be told for sure what level your child is at as they will recommend the senior schools that would suit your child.

TheBalefulGroke Mon 07-Mar-16 21:45:32

You should have said in OP it was independent (I did ask!).
Independent schools often didn't use the NC levels in any case, so not surprising they'r not being particularly forthcoming.

Did they do PIPs or some other sort of assessment on joining the school? Ask how her progress is compared with the level she was assessed at then. That will give a clearer picture of whether she is actually on track or not.

I am assuming she is no longer in EYFS, as I think they still report under the various areas, in age-related goals.

Fedup21 Mon 07-Mar-16 21:47:17

What is the point in you randomly assessing her yourself using an obsolete assessment system?!

justlumpingalong Tue 08-Mar-16 17:10:17

Sorry BalefulGroke - I didn't think the private thing was important, and when you asked which system, I assumed you meant Scottish/Welsh/English!

That's right - she's no longer in EYFS. She joined in reception, and if they did some sort of assessment, they kept quiet about it.

Fedup21 - I didn't realise it was obsolete (not a teacher), and tbh, in the absence of a clear new system, and to just get an idea for my own purposes, I'm not sure it matters that much.

justlumpingalong Tue 08-Mar-16 17:14:51

Apples11 - it's a 3-18 school and they strongly discourage don't particularly support applying to other schools... If I was the suspicious type, I'd think that their vagueness about levels was to put you off looking elsewhere...grin

mrz Tue 08-Mar-16 17:31:20

By law they must report to parents at the end of reception ( the law applies to independent schools ) so you should have been informed if she was emerging, expected or exceeding.

In state schools there are national expectations for the end of each key stage but not for the tears in between.schools are expected to devise their own methods of tracking towards these expectations.

As others gave said levels have been scrapped and don't match the curriculum content so it's pointless to use them.

Ferguson Tue 08-Mar-16 19:13:26

mrz - "tears" (sic) - a Freudian slip?

mrz Tue 08-Mar-16 19:23:54

NO just iPhone predictive text it refuses to allow h ave insists on changing to gave and y ear insisets on changing to tear 😶

justlumpingalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:46:25

Yes, she got levelled in Reception, by her lovely Reception teacher, but nothing since.

So, its sounds as if, after Reception, it's only the state system that has a requirement to measure progress? Do most private schools do this anyway, even if not required to? And are they held accountable if there isn't sufficient progress?

Don't get me wrong - I like the School - a lot, and one of the things I like about it, is that it isn't very pushy. But I would like a bit more info on how DD is doing... and some reassurance that someone is keeping a formal eye on progress.

justlumpingalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:48:52

PS as a long-time lurker, I am feeling slightly star struck that TeenAndTween and mrz have responded to my post [faints] grin.

Balletgirlmum Tue 08-Mar-16 19:51:02

At my children's private junior school they did Incas instead. I think they are a bit like cats. You got given scores in various areas - below 80 was learning difficulties, 80-119 was average for age 120 was above average & 130 was exceptional.

mrz Tue 08-Mar-16 19:51:10

Did you miss that part that there aren't national standards for Y1,3,4 or 5 in state schools?

justlumpingalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:56:44

No, I got that mrz, but I wondered if private schools usually followed the same system. Or whether, because they aren't required to measure progress after Reception, they often just didn't bother at all.

irvine101 Tue 08-Mar-16 20:00:29

"I am feeling slightly star struck that TeenAndTween and mrz have responded to my post"

I felt exactly the same!!! mrz has always been my idle.grin
To get a response from her was like... dream come true! smile
Sorry to talk about you on random thread, mrz!

CocktailQueen Tue 08-Mar-16 20:01:05

OP, why don't you ask your school? Your teacher should be telling you how your dd is doing, not fudging around the issue. We can't second-guess how your dd's school is assessing her - it would be best for you to ask! Ask what system they're using and what classification - are they using working towards/at age-related expectations/exceeding expectations, or something different?

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