How able are the kids at your DC's private school? Is DD's class unusual...?

(50 Posts)
Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 17:16:37

I've namechanged for this post, and I'm just asking out of curiosity, rather than any kind of concern.

My DD is in Year 4 at a non-selective (none are round here), not particularly pushy independent school. She's really happy there.

We've been given the sense that she is doing well academically - not spectacularly, but above average. For instance, in maths, she is on the second table (there are around 7 tables of 4-5 DC, as far as I can tell). She seems to be in the right place there - the work is pitched well for her, and she and the other DC on her table all seem to be about the same level in homework and class tests, etc.

The curiosity comes from some standardised testing results that just came out on her report. Apparently these are from external attainment tests, the results of which are compared against national norms. In maths, DD scored at the 99th centile. I was surprised and really pleased by this, as I really didn't think she was that good. However, what strikes me as strange is that at least 6 or 7 children in her class are as good or better at maths than her and will, presumably, have scored similarly or higher. Is it usual that 7 or 8 kids (out of a year of 30) are operating at around 99th centile? Or is DD just in an extremely able class?

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LIZS Wed 18-Jul-18 17:28:04

What sort of tests are they? In CATS and Pips it would not be unusual for those in an independent school to average well above the national mean and the spread to include relatively more of those at the higher end.

Firsttimer1234 Wed 18-Jul-18 17:30:46

Not unusual at all. I've had a class before that had 12 at that level

Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 17:33:16

LIZS - no, not CATS/ability tests, although I suspect they do those too (but haven't reported to parents). They seem to be tests of attainment, so it's possible that their (fab) teacher has got them all working above their natural ability, as it were.

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trinity0097 Wed 18-Jul-18 17:33:32

Not unusual. Almost every child I teach has standardised test scores above the national average.
Might be due to intelligence, parental input, good teaching, tutoring, high standards and expectations of the school etc etc

Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 17:34:05

Firsttimer - wow, 12!!! That must have been an interesting class to teach.

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Yokatsu Wed 18-Jul-18 17:39:20

Independent school means your paying for your child to go there. In order for you to afford for your child to go there you've got to be earning pretty well. In order to be earning pretty well chances are you are pretty capable, driven and bright. Intelligence tends to have a genetic component... see where im heading?

It may be "nonselective" but that doesnt mean alot if you are selecting be parental income. Yes you are likely to getting higher than average performing kids.


Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 17:41:05

Trinity are you in a selective or non-selective school?

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Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 17:43:43

Yokatsu I hear you - I would be surprised if the distribution wasn't at least a little skewed, but to have around a quarter of the class at the extreme right of the distribution seemed odd.

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Raederle Wed 18-Jul-18 17:45:57

Was it presented as stanines?

ohnothanks Wed 18-Jul-18 17:47:38

Is this 99th percentile or 99 as a scaled score?

What is the population?

NeedAUsernameGenerator Wed 18-Jul-18 17:51:55

I would say there are around 3 children in my DD's state school class of 30 who are highly able at maths so I wouldn't be surprised that there might be 5 or 6 in a private school. Alternatively your DD maybe just tests better than she works in the classroom. My other daughter is a bit like that, she wouldn't necessarily be in the top 4 or 5 for Maths but she has come top in tests before now.

Yokatsu Wed 18-Jul-18 17:52:45

Quite the opposite. Have a think about what salary is necessary to support the fees to your school. Then have a think about what proportion of the population will have that level of earnings. I'm surprised its only about a quarter at the extreme right.

I had this discussion in teacher training with a friend who claimed that her comprehensive school wasn't selective. Told her to go a look at the average price of houses in her catchment and what kind of cars picked the kids up from the gates, then tell me there was no natural selection occurring.

Namechange128 Wed 18-Jul-18 17:53:24

@yokatsu - agree, but paying for independent school also = parents who put a high value on education, funding for good teaching staff and smaller classes, families who likely have resources, education and time for activities that develop children outside of school, money for tutors etc - all the things that @trinity0097 said.
So agree that it is quite likely even at a non selective independent, however don't think this necessarily indicates that the class is full of very bright children.

Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 17:54:14

Raderie no it wasn't presented as stanines, though when I googled it, it was stanine 9.

ohnothanks it was 99th centile - the standardised score was in the 130s.

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BertrandRussell Wed 18-Jul-18 17:56:25

It's impossible to say without knowing what the tests were.

Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 17:58:54

Bertrand piecing together the few snippets of info provided by school, I think it was GL Progress Test in Maths.

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Raederle Wed 18-Jul-18 17:59:39

My DCs also at a nonselective school. One of them got similar results to your daughter and I put it down to the kind of test it was. Not a true national test like CATs but maybe a smaller cohort.

Not to take away from your DDs achievement but I think you’re right to be a bit sceptical. Without knowing the test and the cohort it’s hard to gauge.

Would add that my DC went on to selective private secondary school but would not have got into the 11+ grammar school at first cut. Which is why I would take the test with a punch of salt.

Raederle Wed 18-Jul-18 18:00:25

A pinch or a punch whichever you prefer!

Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 18:01:18

needausernamegenerator yep, DD is definitely a 'pull it out of the bag when you really need it' kind of a girl...

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listsandbudgets Wed 18-Jul-18 18:02:09

No idea really.

DS is year one and did some kind of standardised tests. He was just below the year average in English and well above in maths. No idea what the results mean except that he's doing ok.

Balootoyoutoo Wed 18-Jul-18 18:04:17

Raederle I could actually really go a nice glass of punch right about now... Yes, I am inclined to take it with a bit of a pinch of salt. We're not in a grammar area, so don't have that pressure to worry about.

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Raederle Wed 18-Jul-18 18:06:23

It sounds like she’s doing really well and can ace a test. A glass of punch to that!

Racecardriver Wed 18-Jul-18 18:12:14

I knew a pair of boys who got A stars on their gsce maths exams while drunk after finishing the exams halfway through. Apparently the smartest kids in the class finished the exams under 7 minutes (they were racing each other). This was at a non selective school. The overall sense I get is that the private sector just has enough resources and parent support to make sure that all the children learn 100% of the curriculum unless the children are completely incapable in which case they manage them out. State schools don't have the means to educate to this standard or remove challenged children.

Yokatsu Wed 18-Jul-18 18:16:01

Yes, I am inclined to take it with a bit of a pinch of salt.

Please please dont do that. Shes a bright kid in a class of other bright kids. Its good she knows that. Being second set in private school if you dont realise just how bright your cohort are naturally going to be can be sole destroying

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