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(41 Posts)
icecreamvan Sun 06-Nov-16 23:39:55

How many marks are lost for failing to do cursive handwriting - in the SATs?

My son is in Year 5. His school has never taught them how to do cursive. I've tried at home, but never learned myself - so haven't done a very good job.

DS has cerebral palsy - v. mild, but it does affect his hands - one more so than the other

He writes legibly. Nicely when he tries - its just a mixture of cursive and print. However much he tries that is the best he can do. He is very good at literacy. I don't want him to have a scribe, just because he's not doing perfect cursive handwriting (which the school have suggested) I think its better that he expresses things himself without intervention.

And if he is forced to have a scribe or if he's going to lose loads of marks because of not perfect cursive - I'd rather he misses the SATs. We'll boycott them.

Am I being unreasonable/over-reactive?

Coconut0il Mon 07-Nov-16 21:58:45

No marks are lost due to handwriting. There are no marks for handwriting in either the reading, SPAG or maths paper. There used to be a few marks for handwriting when there was a writing task but there is no such thing now. Writing is teacher assessed and I'm not sure if there are marks for handwriting but it used to be a minimal amount, maybe 2 or 3.
I don't think a scribe would be offered just because he can't use cursive, maybe it's to help him finish the paper in time or to help him focus on his answers. The reading paper last year was extremely difficult to finish in the time provided. Also if it is for the reading paper the scribe cannot read the text/questions and can only write down what your DS says. He can't be forced to have a scribe but I can think of a few children I've worked with who would have benefitted from one, it's not necessarily a bad thing.

icecreamvan Mon 07-Nov-16 22:37:34

I've been told today by school that marks aren't lost as such for not using cursive - but you can't reach the 'greater depth' or whatever its called, level if you don't use cursive. You just have to stay at the basic pass. So even if everything else is exceeding, the lack of cursive, or not perfect cursive prevents a child from achieving that grade/mark in the test.

Seems unfair to me. I'd go as far as saying discriminatory - if talking about disabled hands not being able to create beautiful cursive writing.

LifeIsGhoulish Mon 07-Nov-16 22:53:40

Why are you worrying at all? The SATs make not an ounce of difference to his future education or his future life. Let him do the best he can with the skills he has, and feel proud of himself.

As my 16yo has pointed out, throughout primary he was pestered to join his writing and to use capitals properly, but nobody cared about cursive once he reached secondary. He's only now consistently using capitals correctly, but it hasn't stopped him from being an A/A* student.

icecreamvan Mon 07-Nov-16 23:04:46

I've posted on SEN children. There it explains better why I am worrying. Its more to do with what message this gives to children with disabilities and those who struggle to do everything perfectly - rather than me worrying about levels.

I don't care about levels and think the SATs are a waste of time.

Seeing things through my son's eyes though - he fails to reach expected levels all the time. Just seems unfair that the goal posts have changed with the new curriculum and now its happening in school. It never used to happen there before.

MrsKCastle Mon 07-Nov-16 23:32:08

I don't know about Y6 SATs, but what you describe is true of teacher assessment at Y2, so probably true at Y6. A Y2 child cannot be working at greater depth in literacy if they are not joining their handwriting in most of their written work. (Can't remember the exact wording). I'm not aware of any exception being made for children with physical disabilities; they can reach expected levels but not greater depth.

No, it's not fair.

As for boycotting- writing is teacher assessed, so you can't boycott I'm afraid, short of home educating.

icecreamvan Tue 08-Nov-16 00:28:09

I thought it was possible to miss the 2 weeks of SATs. There is a local group thinking of boycotting the SATs here. And I've read about it elsewhere too.

I probably won't be brave enough to do it. But its not something I'd rule out - particularly because of the above reasons.

mrz Tue 08-Nov-16 06:35:19

If a child is physically unable to write the teacher should use their discretion and only judge using criteria they are able to access.

LifeIsGhoulish Tue 08-Nov-16 07:09:51

I see what you mean. Yes, the new way of recording achievement is totally batshit and definitely disablist.

'Emerging/Developing/Secure/Mastered' - why bandy words? Let's just cut to the chase and go back to labelling children working a couple of years behind their peers as 'backward'. hmm

At least levels gave a representation of their continued improvement and development.

Most rational people would consider that a child whose writing can be read fairly easily, is fairly consistent, and contains all the basic structures of punctuation to give clarity and meaning, has 'Mastered' writing. But, no, they will be labelled as 'Emerging' and/or 'Failing' until they get to secondary, where - hopefully! - rationality will suddenly prevail.

And as for 'Passing' or 'failing' at 7yo! Ridiculous.angry

Feenie Tue 08-Nov-16 07:19:58

I thought it was possible to miss the 2 weeks of SATs

But the writing assessment regarding handwriting is teacher assessed and will be ongoing throughout Y6.

MrsKCastle Tue 08-Nov-16 07:20:15

mrz icecreamvan's son is physically able to write. Having read the guidelines, they suggest (to me) that you can only ignore the handwriting criteria if the child cannot write, for instance if they use routinely use a scribe or type their work.

Icecreamvan, in theory you could withdraw your child for the two week SATs window and miss the tests, although you would almost certainly be fined. However, your son's writing result will be a teacher assessment based on all the written work done in class over the year- it isn't test based. So even if he was off for those two weeks her would still be awarded a writing result.

Coconut0il Wed 09-Nov-16 01:25:28

That seems so unfair, I missed last year as I was on maternity and didn't know about that change. My DS1 always struggled with cursive at primary, he has never joined since starting secondary and it has never been an issue.
As mentioned above writing is teacher assessed over the whole year so missing the tests will not change that. The tests that week are reading, SPAG and maths. Is there a handwriting element to these now?

mrz Wed 09-Nov-16 05:29:53

It isn't really a change under the old assessment cursive writing was required for level 3 or above

mrz Wed 09-Nov-16 06:24:24

*"*^*mrz icecreamvan's son is physically able to write*^*"* yes I know but the OP also said it was unfair on children with disabilities but it does make allowances for children with physical barriers.

irvineoneohone Wed 09-Nov-16 06:55:27

What I really don't understand is why the obsession with cursive in English school(government?)?

My ds used to love writing. There were issues with contents which needed to improve, but need for write in cursive made it worse. He can write beautiful cursive, but it is painfully slow. If he writes fast, it looks very messy. His printing is very fast and neat. Why can't children choose how they write? Teacher forcing to write in cursive since yr1 definitely put my ds off writing in general.

mrz Wed 09-Nov-16 07:02:16

Fluent cursive script frees the writer to focus on content without the stop start of print. Research shows that handwriting links to memory/learning/retention which doesn't occur when using a keyboard for example.

Coconut0il Wed 09-Nov-16 07:15:17

I knew there was a handwriting element but thought it was a few marks, along with marks for spelling and structure. Maybe I'm getting muddled with when there was a writing task. Is handwriting part of the reading and grammar tests now or just writing?

irvineoneohone Wed 09-Nov-16 07:16:33

Why compare with use of keyboard, mrz?
Normally, primary children aren't using keyboard anyway when writing.
I just feel frustrated that ds can't write in the style he is most comfortable with, which isn't cursive, but fast and neat enough.

MiaowTheCat Wed 09-Nov-16 07:24:45

Old style sats it used to be up to 3 marks for handwriting, and I think if they had a scribe you gave them the middle 2 mark automatically (but my memory's hazy on that one and my mark schemes are squirrelled away since I stopped marking). It was more flow and regularity, consistency with sizes of letters and letter slopes that we were always told to look for when marking it.

That was prior to writing going back to teacher assessment but roughly what markers were told when doing the handwriting mark for old-style SATs.

mrz Wed 09-Nov-16 07:32:03

Children who have real difficulty writing fluently are often given keyboards at OT recommendation because print is much slower than cursive or using a keyboard once the expectations for volume of writing increases in KS2 onwards. It's very shortsighted to say they can do this now without looking at future implications.

mrz Wed 09-Nov-16 07:34:35

mrz Wed 09-Nov-16 07:36:11

mrz Wed 09-Nov-16 07:38:45

whereonthestair Wed 09-Nov-16 07:45:44

Mrz. I know you care about children and education but please be careful what you type. i have a ds with cerebral palsy. After a lot of intervention he can write, slowly. But he is never going to write fluently, all the advice from the ot, the ed psych, the neuro psychs, his consultant, shows that getting him to type now is going to close the gap not increase it as that will help with the neural pathway. There are children, for who, neuroplasticity is the real issue, and you have to work on it when they are small. Children where there is neuro damage are different, they use different areas of their brains to learn and it is vital that specific advise is acted on not that they are all put through the national curriculum without full advice being taken on each child.

TheDeskIsMyHome Wed 09-Nov-16 11:59:34

Just to add a positive note - in my role (I am in a senior position) I am very glad that I learned to type.... I use a computer a lot and actually this has stood me in good stead. I write actually quite rarely now

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