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PLease can someone explain these QCA scores for me? This is not a boasting thread, is a genuine question needing an answer to help DSD.

(16 Posts)
idranktheteaatwork Fri 24-Jul-09 15:52:32


DSD's school used to send home a report (albeit a very brief one) each year with her SAT levels on, ie 1a etc.
This summer we have received one with QCA scores instead.
Her scores were;
137 - English
109 - Maths

There is no explanation of where this is against a national average/expected scores. I have tried google but have only managed to find QCA levels as in 1,2,3 etc and no explanation of the scores.

Her grandparents have decided to employ a tutor and put her forward for grammar school (she is in Kent, her home life is a little complicated. School in Kent and with us every weekend, all school holidays etc.)
DP and i don't think this is a good idea, she has been in focus groups all her school life and struggles academically.
The tutor apparently assessed DSD at her grandparents home last week and has pronounced that she is a year and a half ahead in English and almost a year ahead in Maths.
I think that this is bollocks, that would put her as working at a yr6 level in English and end of yr 5 level for Maths.

The tutor i feel is pushing for business, she is a specific 11+ tutor. The grandparents and dp to a certain extent have been bowled over by this assessment, I am worried that DSD will be pushed into something she is not really suited to and i am concerned that we will be paying out an awful lot of money to someone who doesn't seem to be particularly truthful.

So, if one of you could explain QCA and it's scores i would appreciate it, then i will perhaps have enough info to insist we at the very least get a second tutor assessment to see if it matches.

Goblinchild Fri 24-Jul-09 16:01:21

My guess is that they are Standardised scores.
You match the raw score against their age and come up with a standardised score.
Average is 100, 137 is very high, but I've had children that fell off the scale altogether. 109 for maths put her above average, but not by a huge amount.
A flat score for English doesn't give you specific strengths and weaknesses, I have EAL children who are fabulous spellers but struggle to write grammatical English.
School deserves a kick for poor communication.

MrsWobble Fri 24-Jul-09 16:05:54

if those are the age adjusted scores used for 11+ type exams then her English score is very high and not inconsistent with her being a year and a half ahead.

these scores are basically a normal distribution around a mean of 100 and i think to be "grammar school selective" requires a score of at least 115-120.

don't know if this is what you've been given but might be worth asking for more information.

idranktheteaatwork Fri 24-Jul-09 16:06:33

Aha, see that's the explanation i was looking for really. I know that she does have some strengths, her spelling is good for example but her vocab and general grammar are really poor.
What sort of score is off the scale out of interest?

I have had lots of meetings with the school over the years and brought up poor communication every time.....

Also, with the tests that she did, she was in her focus group with teaching support rather than in a test situation with the rest of the class so she (and the school) openly admitted she had had assistance with the tests.

I just don't think we have a clear picture at the moment of what she is good at and what we can help her with.

idranktheteaatwork Fri 24-Jul-09 16:11:40

Sorry Mrswobble, crossposted.
I don't think they are the 11+ type tests in that she doesn't seem to have been tested on verbal reasoning type things. More comprehension and spelling.

snorkle Fri 24-Jul-09 16:16:22

most of the tests have a ceiling of around 140, so above that is above the scale.

I'll try & find a link explaining it...

snorkle Fri 24-Jul-09 16:20:10

Does this link help explain it? I think the bell curve diagram (scroll down a bit) illustrates what percentage of children you'd expect to be above & below a given score quite well.

idranktheteaatwork Fri 24-Jul-09 16:29:29

Brilliant link, thank you very much. smile

idranktheteaatwork Fri 24-Jul-09 16:35:20

So from that link, her standardised scores are being compared with the children in her age group (youngest group in the year) which has given her the 137 standardised score. A child born in say November in her school year could have got the same raw score but could get a lower standardised score if i have understood it correctly?

That would explain what the teacher has emailed me then, she replied to my email asking for an explanation/indication by saying that we had to consider that she was being measured against her closest(age wise) peers and that it wasn't a full picture.

About as clear as mud then.

snorkle Fri 24-Jul-09 16:43:33

Sometimes standardised scores are age standardised as well (to take into account of birthdays within the year) and sometimes they aren't. It doesn't actually make very much difference either way by the time you are in year 4 (roughly none if you're born in March, and up to about 3 marks either way if you are born in August or September, getting less the nearer to March you are born).

So, if it's 'age standardised' then the older children in her year would need to achieve a slightly higher actual score (called raw score) on the test to achieve the same standardised score as their peers.

idranktheteaatwork Fri 24-Jul-09 16:52:07

Ah, she is late August.
I get it now, I don't think her teacher does though. hmm

Many thanks for your help. smile

snorkle Fri 24-Jul-09 18:00:39

Good luck with choosing the right secondary school for her too. You may be interested to know that the eleven plus results in Kent (but not everywhere) are age standardised too, so she shouldn't be disadvantaged by her age on those. I'm not sure what tests they have to do for Kent grammars, but I do know they are not as selective as in many areas of the country (I think about a quarter to a third of children attend them) so it might not be as bad a match for her as you think.

I wonder if her apparent difficulties thus far have been on account of being so young in her year & maybe being in quite a high achieving school with much older friends to compare herself against? Her QCA results do seem good and not at odds with the tutors findings either (especially if the tutor was considering her chronolgical age).

seeker Fri 24-Jul-09 19:01:33

Can I ask what bit of Kent you're talking about? The 11+ is different in different areas - and this might affect your decision.

idranktheteaatwork Sun 26-Jul-09 16:11:55

Hi seeker, it is the chatham area.

I just can't reconcile the apparent results with the focus groups etc.
Her school is not high achieving, it is in a deproved area, the ofsted makes reference to the higher number of pupils with a lower than average ability with reading and comprehension at entry age and also at leaving age.

They do focus on the tests, so they will spend weeks each yr in the run up to end of yr tests practicing the test and methods.

DSD really does not have a good vocabulary or reading level.
For example, she will spell thought as fort, she will also say "I gotted my socks on now".

In other words, her speech and general writing/vocab skills are nowhere near that of a yr 6 child.

Her teacher doee not think that she should be doing the 11+ and admits openly that they coach for the end of yr tests rather than teaching in general if you see what i mean.

Sorry, this is garbled but i know where i am coming from. I am just terribly concerned that she will be tutored to pass the test but in reality will not be able to cope with a highly academic school.

She is even now in the lower stream in her year and only began to have literacy and maths classes with the rest of her class rather than a small focus group at the beginning of the summer term.
Her homework is very basic and really doesn't reflect the level they say that she is working at.

idranktheteaatwork Sun 26-Jul-09 16:13:10

deprived blush

snorkle Sun 26-Jul-09 17:38:45

I can see why you are worried then sad.

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