Is there a difference between “working above” and “greater depth”?

(20 Posts)
LemonFritz Tue 16-Jul-19 15:01:46

Googling does not make it clear, almost exclusively links discuss “greater depth” not “working above”.

Do they mean anything different or is my DCs school just using different language? My children are not in SATs years.

OP’s posts: |
sitlux Tue 16-Jul-19 21:15:43

I've actually emailed my DDs teacher about this. DD got "Above expectation" marks in her written school report for both reading and writing - this is her teacher's evaluation.

DD also got SATs scores higher than 110 for both reading and SPAG.

However, the teacher assessed her as EXS (expected) for Writing, not GDS (greater depth).

Will let you know what she says.

sitlux Tue 16-Jul-19 21:17:37

ps. Our school uses a 5-pt scale in the written reports:

working towards (1,2)
on track (3)
above expectation (4,5)

LemonFritz Tue 16-Jul-19 21:23:33

We have a three point scale:
Working towards
Working within
Working above

OP’s posts: |
LemonFritz Tue 16-Jul-19 21:24:00

Thank you, I’ll be interested to hear the feedback.

OP’s posts: |
Norestformrz Tue 16-Jul-19 21:39:00

Working at greater depth within the expected standard is the term used in the assessment framework for KS1 (Year 2)

sitlux Tue 16-Jul-19 21:43:50

Btw, GDS (dreater depth) can only be achieved for (English) Writing. This is based on teacher assessment.

For Science, there is no GDS, only EXS (expected standard), which is the highest.

For Reading, SPAG, and Maths there is no GDS either. You get the scores with 80-99 being below the expected standard, 100-109 being at the expected standard, and 110-120 being above the expected standard.


sitlux Tue 16-Jul-19 21:45:51

ps. I was referring to KS2, sorry.

ReganSomerset Tue 16-Jul-19 21:47:29

Exceeding = Greater depth = above age-related expectations

Different schools, different lingo. I think greater depth is used more commonly.

Russell19 Tue 16-Jul-19 23:59:55

Same thing x

sitlux Wed 17-Jul-19 10:00:18

DDs teacher has now called me and explained to me that to get GDS in Writing the child needs to get a "way above expectation 5/5" in all the Writing bullet points in the school report. My DD got the majority at "way above" (5/5) and only one bullet point at "above" (4/5) in Writing. However, this was the key one - it had to do with the way she organizes and edits her writing.

The way she explained it: even though she had a high score in SPAG (117), and all "working above" tick marks, she doesn't yet use her grammar knowledge in independent writing. Mind boggles smile

She's also said that 1 in 5 in our school got GDS in Writing, and nationally it's more like 1 in 10.

And she's also mentioned that there is a discrepancy between teacher assessment for Writing - which she says it's way too tough, and SATs scores for Reading and SPAG.

Apparently too many children now get scores >110 for Reading and SPAG but they get EXS, not GDS in Writing, and many teachers think that there should be more alignment with these two, as they correlate.

As a consequence, the percentage of children being assessed as "Higher Standard" in combined Reading, Maths, and Writing is quite low (10% nationally), because - to be banded in this group - you need >110 in both Reading and Maths, but you also need GDS in Writing, which not many get. So basically Writing has too much weight on the combined score, it's impossible to be banded as HS if you don't get it. SPAG scores get ignored for this purpose of banding.

The other thing that I learned was that - for Progress measures calculations only - GDS in Writing corresponds to a scaled score of 113, EXS is 103, and WTS is 91. But, these scores are not communicated to parents for Writing because they are artificially assigned and everyone in the EXS band gets 103, for instance - there is no gradation.

This is all very technical and only applies to KS2, not KS1 - but perhaps it will benefit someone. smile

Norestformrz Thu 18-Jul-19 05:39:47

The teacher has spun you a line

Range of scaled scores and the expected standard
KS2 tests are externally marked and marks are returned to schools in the ‘Pupil results’ section of NCA toolss_. To receive a scaled score, pupils must take each test paper for the subject. For those pupils, schools will receive:
•a raw score
•a scaled score (except where a pupil has too few marks to be awarded the lowest scaled score)
•either ‘NS’ (expected standard not achieved) or ‘AS’ (expected standard achieved)
The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test is the same as set in 2016 and is intended to stay the same in future years. The lowest scaled score that can be awarded on a KS2 test is 80. The highest scaled score is 120.
Pupils scoring at least a scaled score of 100 will have met the expected standard in the test.
*A pupil awarded a scaled score of 99 or less has not met the expected standard in the test.*
Pupils need a minimum raw score before they can be awarded the lowest scaled score. Pupils who do not achieve the lowest scaled score on the test have not demonstrated sufficient understanding of the KS2 curriculum in the subject. Where this is the case, the scaled score field for the pupil in the ‘Pupil results’ section of NCA toolss_ will be ‘N’. The outcome of the test for the pupil will be ‘NS’, expected standard not achieved.
Schools can use the test conversion tabless_ to understand the relationship between the raw scores and scaled scores for each test. The conversion tables show that sometimes 2 or more raw scores convert to the same scaled score. This is because data from pupils showed that the attainment of pupils who scored these total marks was not very different.
There are also times when it is not possible to achieve a particular scaled score. This is because of the number of questions in the test, although these scores may be possible on previous or future tests.

There is no test for writing so the results can be very controversial with many arguing that writing should never be higher than SPAG and reading

OhNoIDontLikeIt Thu 18-Jul-19 06:01:17

I never understood why writing results are included in Sats report, and allowed to have GDS , when it's teacher assessed. This must be very subjective.

sitlux Thu 18-Jul-19 10:12:12

Not sure why you think the teacher was disingenuous, her explanation made sense to me. I agree with the poster that says that the writing assessment is very subjective though, and is not externally marked/checked - so it does make sense to exclude it from SATs results and from school accountability measures.

My DD scored 114 in Reading an 117 in SPAG, but EXS in Writing. This is the teacher's explanation, verbatim:

Many children scored exceptionally well in their grammar test but are still working on incorporating that level of grammar into their independent written work

The teacher also said she considered the government's Writing assessment scheme to be too severe (higher level is needed to get GDS than get high standard in the the SATs), hence this discrepancy between SATs test results and teacher assessment for many children.

Coconut0il Thu 18-Jul-19 20:04:49

We have a pupil very similar to your DD sitlux, 110 and over in all three tests. We have assessed her writing as expected and not as greater depth because she does not meet all the criteria needed in her independent writing. We were not externally moderated this year but when we were last year they were extremely thorough in looking at our evidence.

LostInNorfolk Thu 18-Jul-19 20:11:20

She's also said that 1 in 5 in our school got GDS in Writing, and nationally it's more like 1 in 10.


I agree with the poster that says that the writing assessment is very subjective though, and is not externally marked/checked - so it does make sense to exclude it from SATs results and from school accountability measures.

It is moderated so it is externally checked. Through in school focused moderation on a cycle and wider annual LA led moderation for all schools.

LostInNorfolk Thu 18-Jul-19 20:14:29

Exceeding = Greater depth = above age-related expectations. Different schools, different lingo. I think greater depth is used more commonly.

At key stage 2 greater depth for writing and higher standard for GPS, maths and reading

At KS1 greater depth for all

WooMaWang Thu 18-Jul-19 20:22:19

Our school uses a 6 category scale: working below age related expectations, emerging, developing A, developing B, mastering and greater depth. They seem to expect all kids to be mastering or greater depth in the summer term though.

I’m not sure it’s all that meaningful really.

BubblesBuddy Thu 18-Jul-19 20:43:00

WooMaWang: that’s only possible if children have made expected progress or better over the first two terms. No child with SEN which manifests itself by slower progress and lower attainment will get mastering or greater depth in the summer term. A school that has no lower achievers might aspire to that but it’s unrealistic for many state schools because some children just cannot do that well. That’s why not every child gets 100 in Sats.

WooMaWang Thu 18-Jul-19 21:09:35

Oh I know that not every child will achieve that. But the letter we got explaining the categories was very clear that’s what they were expecting.

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