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Should children's ability groups be on display for all to see?

(89 Posts)
choccyp1g Fri 10-Jul-09 10:38:47

At parents evening last night, I was a bit hmm to see all the groups listed up for everyone to see; in obvious ability order.
eg maths group in ascending sides (Circles, triangles, going up to hexagons), even the spelling groups go from words to thesaurus.

From the parents point of view, it is the only chance you get to really see how they are doing compared to the rest of the class, but it must be hard on the children to have it on display the whole time.

I help with crafts sometimes, so I know the lists are up all year round.

hana Fri 10-Jul-09 10:43:53

I don't see a problem with this, kids pretty much know where they are in a class anyways.

are you worried that parents will gossip?

I don't think the circles/triangles/ etc are necessarily ability based in that circles are the lowest set, triangles one above that etc etc. they aren't in dd's class

jeee Fri 10-Jul-09 10:50:06

All the kids (and, therefore, their parents) know exactly what level group they're in, no matter what the groups are called. So it's a bit pointless to try and mask the level of the groups.

choccyp1g Fri 10-Jul-09 10:50:16

Yes, my concern is more the parents gossiping than the children, as most of the children know roughly where they stand by YR3.
The maths groups really are done with the ascending sides thing, though I do know that the children in the "bottom" groups are not necessarily the least able, but the ones needing most help at the moment. (Sometimes due to language or concentration issues)

I think my underlying issue is that the groups are great if you move "up", but it is so dispiriting to move "down" a group.

choccyp1g Fri 10-Jul-09 10:54:13

But jeee, it's fine for us to know where our children stand in relation to the class in general, but should we really be seeing every other child's position?
Having said that, most parents probably just seek their own child's name; I found myself scanning the beautiful paintings etc. simply to find my darling's splodges.

choccyp1g Fri 10-Jul-09 10:54:16

But jeee, it's fine for us to know where our children stand in relation to the class in general, but should we really be seeing every other child's position?
Having said that, most parents probably just seek their own child's name; I found myself scanning the beautiful paintings etc. simply to find my darling's splodges.

choccyp1g Fri 10-Jul-09 10:55:02

Sorry for double post, I'm not that worked up about it.

MagNacarta Fri 10-Jul-09 10:55:08

Honestly it doesn't matter, I know which groups my dc's are in because they tell me and they tell me who is in the other groups. I already know and quite frankly don't give a monkeys about the other children or what their parents think about mine.

katiestar Fri 10-Jul-09 11:03:14

I think it should be taken down or covered up for parents evening.Often at parents evening the teacher will have a list of childrens names and grades/ marks in fromt of her.I find this very uncomfortable as I really don't want to see other children's levels.I have to try very hard not to look and to be seen not to be looking
Worse than that is the teacher often makes notes about parents concerns during the course of the evening and writes them all on the same piece of paper

Pyrocanthus Fri 10-Jul-09 11:23:03

If the groups' names really do reflect the 'level' of the group (ascending no. of sides, longer words), then I think that's very naff. Groups at our school are randomly named - ladybirds, spiders and ants, or yellow, red and blue for ex.

The children all still know, as everyone says, but it looks a bit less obvious to the outside world and a bit less schematic ('hexagons are for our more multi-faceted children').

lljkk Fri 10-Jul-09 13:49:35

The group list needs to be on display so that the children remember which group they're in; some remember easily but some need daily reminders (especially if they have changed recently). And the teachers and TAs and any other helpers or supply teachers have a quick reference, too.

If you're gonna complain about it being on display for parents' evening, then by the same logic all student work should be hidden away that night so that parents can't easily see and compare. And maybe always hidden away always so that children don't see and compare. Because * gasp *, it might not do for our precious DC to realise they're not usually the best at everything. hmm

UnquietDad Fri 10-Jul-09 13:56:12

It's so the aliens know which 10% to take...

lottysmum Fri 10-Jul-09 13:59:46


Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 14:03:01

oh yes
you dont want to be a badger.
I think most kids would tell you who is where.

themildmanneredjanitor Fri 10-Jul-09 14:05:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 14:06:30


quirkychick Fri 10-Jul-09 14:27:19

What lljkk said. If supply teachers/teaching assistants/head/student teachers come in they can see how the class is organised.

Most children know exactly where they are, anyway. The groups are also not usually set in stone.

cat64 Fri 10-Jul-09 14:43:32

Message withdrawn

mummyrex Fri 10-Jul-09 15:13:41

Sorry, but what is there to 'gossip' about?

Can't say I have ever heard anyone 'gossiping' about who is in which group. We have LOTS more interesting things to gossip about at my school!

myredcardigan Fri 10-Jul-09 15:23:34

I think that even when you call the groups by, say, colours, it's still obvious.
So a parent may know or have heard that Katie is 'the brightest' and so when (s)he reads the lists it is obvious which group is the most able and therefore who is also in Katie's group.

Important to be listed for other adults to refer to day to day. Obvious accending/decending groups is tacky though.

AMumInScotland Fri 10-Jul-09 15:40:46

I don't think the children will be affected by the fact that it's up on display the whole time - even if it wasn't, they're well aware of how other groups are ahead/behind where they have reached.

And the kind of parents who want to know about other people's children will be grilling their own child for this information anyway, or doing the traditional "check other child's homework diary during playdates"

At my DSs primary, the groups were described by the initials of the children in the group (small class so that was practical) - but he knew that group DAB was only just reaching books that group CFE had done two months back, without the group names having any intrinsic order.

smartiejake Fri 10-Jul-09 16:08:14

Groups with names are not so much of a problem unless like a colleague of mine it's patently obvious which group are the slow group ( we had squirrels moving down to moles!)

One school I visited actually had the levels in bubbles on the wall with the children's names inside which I thought was appalling.

fembear Fri 10-Jul-09 16:21:25

It's very obvious who is fattest / prettiest / most athletic / most popular / etc. Why should their academic status be a state secret? Why so paranoid?

faraday Fri 10-Jul-09 17:42:35

Where was it on MN where the bottom maths group was called 'Plankton' or was that a myth?!

mrz Fri 10-Jul-09 17:45:00

I don't have ability groups in my class as I don't really think they are needed and certainly wouldn't display them.

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