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I'm worried about my son's levels/grades

(12 Posts)
AFieldOfPaperFlowers Wed 20-Jul-11 09:44:51

Sorry another one about levels.

I've just received my son's year 7 school report which tells me he is currently a level 5b in English (he left primary school with this grade so he's made no progress all year??) a 5a in maths and a 5c in science.

I'm gutted, ds was always considered an academic child as he was going through primary and now I'm concerned its all started to go the the other way.

Some of his friends have recieved 6/7s etc and DS was always ahead of these children in primary so why has he suddenly slowed right down??

What SHOULD they get by the end of year 7?

He only got one level 6 and that was in music.

Is it too early to predict what kind of GCSE results he could be capable of?

nagynolonger Wed 20-Jul-11 09:56:55

Well we were always told that a level 5 in primary is not the same as a level 5 at secondary. I could never fully understand why, but maybe a teacher Mneter could try.

Did he do exams at the end of year 7 or was it based on teacher assesment.

I wouldn't worry too much some do slip back a bit at the start of secondary.
They do use KS2 and KS3 (I know there is no exam now) to predict GCSE grades. In the case of 2 of mine this was not a good indicator.

nagynolonger Wed 20-Jul-11 10:00:06

My 2 sons are dyslexic and really struggled with reading etc so they did a lot of catching up at secondary.

nagynolonger Wed 20-Jul-11 10:06:06

I presume they all had the same teacher at primary but they will have had different ones at secondary. Maybe this would explain why some got 6/7s the only cause for concern I would have is if the school now 'set' from these marks and your DS ends up in a lower group.

mummytime Wed 20-Jul-11 10:19:04

A level 5 is the target for the end of year 9.
Levels at primary and secondary differ because the criteria to give those grades are not the same (the government/DFEs or whatever's fault). Levels are based on a centrally prescribed list of criteria which pupils have to meet to be assigned those grades. BTW I was always told that sub-levels (a, b, c) do not officially exist, they are just widely used to show progress. Normally c means they are just starting to meet that level, b means they are meeting most of that level and a means they are scoring some grades in the level above.
In a good school departments will be having meetings to ensure there is consistency in the grades awarded, however it is very difficult to compare levels in say Science and English, as the criteria are very different.
Level 5's are fine, lots of students have level 4s at the end of year 7.

In subjects such as Maths, the curriculum changes a lot between Primary and Secondary; some pupils do better at Primary because they know their tables well etc., but then struggle more in secondary as they have to apply this knowledge more generally eg. algebra; others find they start to fly at secondary maths.

However there is also a lot of time between year 7 and GCSEs, and things change a lot.

kittyspolitti Wed 20-Jul-11 14:24:55

There could be many reasons he seems to have slowed down. Year 7 can be quite daunting and is a year of discovery in many ways. Ds (yr 7) has gone down a whole level and a bit in English. He's spent the year fitting in, making friends, working out what makes each teacher tick, etc. He's only just showing his potential in the last couple of weeks as he finally feels he belongs to the school and people accept him. His teacher wasn't worried and assured us he'll fly next year. As mummytime says there's a lot of time between yr7 and GCSE's.

DavidDickinsonsTan Wed 20-Jul-11 14:28:00

level 5/6 is the norm after one year at secondary.

Completely different to the level 5 from primary

Kez100 Wed 20-Jul-11 20:17:45

No it's not. Level 5/6 is the norm at the end of key stage 3.

Of course, there will be selective schools with higher levels earlier but that is not the norm.

confidence Fri 22-Jul-11 15:17:35

Can you form your own judgment about what he seems to be learning in English? Does he write reasonably well? Has this continued to improve, even if slowly, or at least not gone back? Has he been interested in the books they study? Does he talk about them? Do his critical and argumentative skills about such things seem to be devloping? Above all, does he LIKE English and appear reasonably happy and motivated by it?

I've always looked at the education of my kids this way, rather than whether they achieve this or that level at this or that time. It's probably true that those levels are a necessary check on them at least making reasonable progress towards decent GCSEs and A Levels at the end of it all, but they're not the point of education.

inkyfingers Fri 22-Jul-11 19:26:49

Ask to speak to year head or Eng/maths teachers in September to check what their expectations are for him this year. You can always ask what you can do to help at home. You'll get a feel for where he is in relation to his peers (ie was the end of year exam a one-off), and how keen staff are to see him progress in year 8.

Bearcat Fri 22-Jul-11 19:58:07

Remember this happening to DS2 in his first year at secondary.
He went on to achieve 7 A* and 5 A's at GCSE in 2008 at the local comp.
If he's academic, he'll be fine I'm sure.

Tortu Fri 22-Jul-11 22:46:30

To be honest, they are so, so inconsistent the teachers have probably made them up. Just being blunt. Students vary wildly from one piece of work to another. I'm an English teacher and, if your child's school are assessing using APP (the newish system in English), which they probably are, it is difficult to award just one grade (to make this obvious- children are often at very different levels in speaking, reading and writing. How can you award just one?). In writing alone there are around 10 or so further categories they can be assessed in e.g. use of paragraphs (might be a level 7!), sentence structure(could be a level 3), spelling, vocabulary etc. It's actually ridiculous to try and assign children one level when we are required to assess them by so many different ones.

Thus you tend to come up with some kind of feeble average which is almost meaningless.

p.s. I also generally advice my staff to be harsh in Year 7, because as we're required to show progression between years, marks have to be low so that there is somewhere for students to progress.

Yes, this is one area where I'm gagging for the Condems to come wading in and change (and so's every English teacher I know! It's a ridiculous system. Remember the problems with the English SATs? Scrapped in Year 9 a couple of years ago? This is part of the reason why).

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