Feenie and other teachers(20 Posts)
I hope you don't mind me asking a question about KS1 SATS.
My son is 7 and has DCD and is currently being assessed for ASD. It is likely he has Aspergers.
He is undergoing OT for coordination problems and hypotonia (low muscle tone) and hypermobility and sensory problems. He finds it very hard to sit and is very floppy. He also has auditory processing and working memory problems (which I understand are part and parcel of autism). He has difficulty following instructions (they get lost from carpet to table)and finds handwriting tough.
Anyway, he is soon to see Ed Psych and the head of the ASD team is undertaken assessments in school next week.
To date, he has been doing averagely well - all level 2 - but school have been very slow to turn on to the ASD issues (something they admit and are trying to change). As part of assessments for ASD etc, he undertook verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests which put him above the 95th centile.
Anyway, I saw the teacher yesterday who said the SATS are test based and I know I have seen posts from Feenie stating that the tests form part of a wider year long assessment. Can I ask:
1. Is this national policy or is it up to school? Can it vary with LA?
2. Should some allowance be made for a child with SEN e.g. extra time, assistance with instructions etc
I feel these tests are meaningless and would rather he not do them at all. I also loathe the anxiety parents express about the level their young child is attaining and the competition that brings. However, I know find myself, as the parent of a SEN child, with a preoccupation for ensuring his educational needs are not neglected (especially when they are not presently greatly understood).
I am seeing the Head in a week's time so any advice would be appreciated.
My son is 15, has AS and we talk about reasonable adjustment for his needs.
In examinations, it means:
15% extra time as he's a slow writer
Working in a smaller room, fewer students,without noises such as clocks ticking and with a desk position at the front so that there are few people in his eyeline.
A prompt to tell him when it's time to move on to the next question, otherwise he may write about a favourite area for three hours and not get past Q1.
Other adjustments can be use of a scribe, laptop, breaks within the test.
taking some of the tests eg reading, but not others eg maths.
A whole range of possible adjustments. Including relying on Assessing Pupil Progress (the new thing that's being embedded at the moment) instead of him taking the tests at all.
No, the end of key stage 1 teacher assessment is national, not dependent on the LEA. Some schools still rely heavily on the KS1 test result - but LEAs who come in to moderate every so often expect to see a wealth of evidence contributing to teacher assessment, and sometimes won't even look at a test result.
If your ds is working at level 2, then legally he has to sit the tests. It is down to the school to ensure this process is as stress free as it possibly can be for your ds (and the rest of the class). This could include a quieter room, or just doing the test as part of a normal everyday lesson. The tests aren't timed, and a teacher would just remove the test when they could see a child had had enough - certainly after 40-45 minutes, maybe before if a child couldn't sit for a longer period of time.
I would ask the school how much evidence they have of his level 2ness already, and what strategies they have planned to ensure his needs are met within the constraints of KS1 testing (which aren't many, tbh).
Level 2 in writing, especially, is impressive, btw, for a child who finds handwriting 'tough'!
KS1 'tests' are not 'tests' anymore in the traditional sense of the word. They are not marked externally (KS2 are), the marks are based on teacher assessment-so if a child did significantly differently on the SATs tasks their score would be adjusted anyway. They are only part of the end of KS1 assessment. At level one they join in 'tasks' in small groups, level 2 they do sit tests but these are not the official level reported to parents/ the LEA anyway. See them as part of a collection of evidence for your child's level. If appropriate an adult could scrbe for your child or he could sit elsewhere. They are not formal tests for little people- to be honest most of ours are unaware they are sitting tests at the actual time of doing them! I really wouldn't worry.
Good info here if you would like to see actually what he may do: http://www.hamilton-school.co.uk/sats/ks1_sats.htm
"If appropriate an adult could scrbe for your child"
But not, however, in the writing test, only in reading/Maths.
Thanks. The teacher told me yesterday when I asked about teacher assessment, 'no we still use the tests' so I wasn't sure how much was teacher assessment.
It just seems unfair to test and grade him (whether external or internally) when he has so many issues that have yet to be addressed.
I know teachers always think children aren't aware of what's going on but I think it's like setting children or children taking home different level reading books - kids are not stupid and they know what's going on and who does 'well' etc. They also know if they can do something they are being asked to do.
My worry with DS is always that I have a bright little boy with some complex difficulties and it is so easy to 'lose him' when he disengages - and he does disengage when he feels he can't do something. His teachers agree about that too.
I realise you think it's unfair to grade him when he has so many issues. But if he's achieving level 2 already with the same issues, then he is already doing very well academically. And the tests are designed around activities which are exactly the same as the ones he would be doing every day in class anyway, and are for children working at level 2 - if he wasn't level 2, he wouldn't have to do them.
The other thing to remember is that he will already have been graded, without him knowing, from the minute he started in Reception. Teacher assessment is subtle and continuous - his teacher will already know what he can and can't do. The only difference between Y2 and Reception/Y1/Y3, ect, is that the teacher assessment is statutory and has to be reported to parents.
I think you need to find out how they will handle the test aspect of the assessment procedure. There are only 3, and it really is possible to make them very, very low key.
Feenie - you sound like such a good teacher though and I suppose it is a matter of having faith in anything to do with school because of everything that has gone on with the SEN side of things.
His teacher still doesn't quite understand the issues - 'he's not one to push himself if he can't do things' - so I do worry
Our school still relies heavily on the tests as well. It is infuriating. At last parents evening I asked what dd2 was predicted for her Sats, and the teacher told me, and then added "But it could change depending on how she does on the day."
I challenged her, saying that I thought KS1 was done on year long assessment. She countered that hopefully it will be in years to come, but currently we still have the tests and have to look at the results. I asked why and she said "Well what would is the point of the tests if we do not use them."
I felt like saying "Exactly" but by this point I had given up.
Of course you worry - 'tis only natural! And especially if you've felt like the school was dragging its feet till now. It does sound like they are properly on the case at last though regarding the SEN side of things - let us know how your meeting with the Head goes.
Yes, that is the impression I got too. That this was a test day and not a continuous process but I will clear it up with the head.
I should add that in writing DS is 1a/2c borderline - same as he was a year ago. I feel so frustrated for him. He has problems writing but because he is managing a certain level, he's been left to it.
This is changing at school but it has been a very slow and difficult process.
Download Building a Picture of What Children Can Do for her, which explained the changes to KS1 assessment - and came out in 2004!
Glad to help, Debs40 - hope your ds and you get answers to your frustrations very soon.
I find it appalling how many schools seem to be 6 years' out-of-date with assessment procedures.
If a teacher continues to report SATs results at the end of KS1 I think it should be reported to governors, as there are obviously huge holes in the strategic planning of the school.
What do you mean by report SATS results? The test results? To whom - parents?
To be clear, the situation should be that schools use continuous teacher assessment for SATS but that they can use tests as part of that assessment process but that SATS should not just be about tests?
Sorry, when I say 'to be clear', I mean is that right??
"To be clear, the situation should be that schools use continuous teacher assessment for SATS but that they can use tests as part of that assessment process but that SATS should not just be about tests? "
100% correct. But it seems some schools are using the SAT result as the only evidence and reporting that instead. God knows where their LEA moderation is - we've been done twice since 2004.
Same here Feenie. Even when we go along to writing moderations, it says quite clearly ' bring work from throughout the assessment period' and people still roll up with their SATs writing tasks.....
Sorry Debs40. I wasn't clear. I just think that it is really bad practice if teachers are still reporting SATs test results at the end of the year and not teacher assessments(as implied by some of these posts). It implies that the HT is not keeping governors aware of current KS1 assessment procedures, and therefore puts into question the whole assessment and monitoring process throughout the school.
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