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is it normal to drop sats levels with the move to high school?

(21 Posts)
sausagesandwich34 Wed 10-Oct-12 23:06:52

went to open evening the other night as DD curently in year 6

she finished Y5 with a 5a for maths, level 6 for reading and a 5b for writing

she has been in extension classes in her primary since yr2 and has covered things like algebra etc in yr 5 so I have no reason to belive the primary has over inflated her NC levels

but I was talking to the high school maths teacher and she told me that it was impossible for yr7 to be level 6, and they would almost certainly be a 5b as primaries over inflate scores

now I don't actually care what score she is at 11, makes no difference to me, but it makes a huge difference to DD as she is very self driven but also self critical

is this drop something that's normal at high school transition so I can start preparing her for it now because it will really dent her confidence if it comes as a shock!

BooksandBrunch Wed 10-Oct-12 23:54:49

Not sure about the level 6 once in, secondary school, I think that's the aim in selective schools, but don't quote me. I do know however, that many secondary school teachers argue that the new level 6 achieved in primary schools are not a true level 6.

Ponders Thu 11-Oct-12 00:00:48

I got the impression ages ago that KS3 levels & KS2 levels are not comparable. I've certainly known of kids who got level 5 in Y6 & then got level 5 again in Y9.

So yes, I think that drop is entirely normal.

In Y7 they do CAT (?) tests which are used for setting. My DD is a secondary English teacher, I'll ask her tomorrow about those & about SATs (if you haven't had a definitive answer by then, sausage smile)

ibizagirl Thu 11-Oct-12 06:25:37

They can be level 6 in year 7 because dd was level 7 in year 7!! She got level 5A in sats in years 4, 5 and 6 because she couldn't go any higher (there was no level 6 then). She took 3 assessments in year 7 and got level 7. Soon after she was being marked at level 8. Perhaps the school doesn't "like" children getting a level 6 at your school? And no its not a grammar school or anything special. Just normal high school.

PotteringAlong Thu 11-Oct-12 06:30:23

There's no such thing as ks3 and ks4 levels - levels are levels and a level 5 is a level 5 regardless of which school you're at.

The problem is is that lots of primary schools drill pupils fir Sats to within an inch of their lives with past papers etc and they then arrive at secondary schools with grades which don't reflect their actual ability.

teacherandguideleader Thu 11-Oct-12 07:39:06

The dip at the start of secondary school is quite common and there are many reasons. Teacher grades at primary may be over inflated, plus at secondary slightly different criteria might be used. I have lots of children in my year 7 tutor group who have come from primary as 5s but in my opinion are most certainly not 5s, and cannot do a lot of the things my year 9 level 5s can.

Having said that it's not impossible for a child to achieve level 6 in year 6 but it probably won't be the same as a secondary level 6.

noblegiraffe Sat 13-Oct-12 11:01:58

The Level 6 papers in primary are new and it's only this year that we've had kids turning up in Y7 with a level 6 that has actually been assessed as a level 6 by a formal exam than simply by a teacher. Only time will tell how solid the knowledge of these students actually is, or whether they've simply been taught a few tricks to pass the test.

That said, most students arrive in Y7 and are assessed at a lower level than they got in their SATs. Of course those exams, which are usually studied for quite intensely, represent a pinnacle of their achievement. Not many students would stay at that level from May to September with a long summer holiday in between!

radicalsubstitution Sat 13-Oct-12 11:18:46

In my subject (Science) it is very common for children who are awarded level 5 at the end of KS2 to still be on level 5 at the end of year 7. This is because they are now being assessed against the KS3 prgramme of study, which is completely different. For example, pupils will be expected to talk about the particle model of matter and use this to explain things like the compressibility of gases (not covered in KS2).

We do not routinely award anything above a level 6 in Year 7.

Dominodonkey Sat 13-Oct-12 11:37:08

Agree with most of the above posters. I have children in my year 7 who are allegedly level 5 yet cannot use capital letters, apostrophes or basic homophones correctly. Many students do drop. Having said that I just gave a 7b for a 1st assessment to a year 7. It doesn't mean she is a 7 overall though.

Niceweather Sat 13-Oct-12 14:22:28

Domino, my DS cannot use capital letters, apostrophes or basic homophones correctly because he has dyslexia. He was a 5a in Reading and a 6c in Speaking & Listening in Yr7. Not sure about Writing but it was a Level 3 at KS2.

Dominodonkey Sat 13-Oct-12 14:46:56

Nice weather - yes he could have been a level 5 overall and as you say higher in some disciplines but I would never give a level 5 in writing to someone who could not do the basics. In gcse a c grade and possibly a b is possible because the mark scheme is about two thirds content and one third accuracy. And the students I am referring to did not have dyslexia.

SecretSquirrels Sat 13-Oct-12 14:47:52

Yes, both of mine were the same. Teachers patronisingly announced that a primary level 5 is different from a secondary one. I could accept that in subjects such as languages that haven't been taught as much at primary but not sure about Maths and Sciences.
Anyway if it's any consolation DS1 just left y11 with a string of A*s.
I wonder whether it helps the school with added value, one of the important measures of a school's success?
<cynic>

noblegiraffe Sat 13-Oct-12 15:21:55

If you compare a maths KS2 level 3-5 SATs paper with a KS3 level 3-5 SATs paper, they are very different, especially in the amount of algebra on them.

ravenAK Sat 13-Oct-12 15:34:04

IME (secondary English) end of KS2 levels are unlikely to be secure at the start of year 7.

They're the cumulation of several months of teaching to the test, so the reported level 5, say, may well be '4a really, 5c with a following wind'.

Then you give them a six week break, & then suddenly they have to cope with lots of different subjects/teachers/rooms. It very commonly causes some slight drop off in attainment.

There is a degree of truth in what SecretSquirrels says, too; unfortunately the law of unintended consequences means that it's in any teacher's interests to game the system by erring on the side of caution at the start of the year.

I'm not saying we do it consciously or cynically, but if a kid's got a 5c in one piece of work & 4a in another by early October, & you're being asked for a grade to put on a Progress Review, you're going to go with the 4a...

radicalsubstitution Sat 13-Oct-12 16:37:22

Not at all cynical SecretSquirrels - that's exactly what happens.

If I were to award a level 8 at the end of year 7 then it would be impossible for a student to make any progress over the next two years, and that reflects poorly on the school and the subsequent teachers. You could argue the wrongs of that until you are blue in the face (and I totally agree), but that's the way it is. Thats' just one of theh results of the 'progress driven' reporting and inspecting driven system we are working under.

I had exactly the same with DS at the end of reception - although he finished the year comfortably able to read green band books, he was given a point 6 score for phonics. Utter crap - and not surprising as Ofsted have pointed to the fact that pupils make poor progress in KS1.

The criteria for awarding levels at KS3 in science is very prescriptive and there are various areas of curriculum knowledge that students must be able to demonstrate to be considered to match a level. Many of these curriculum areas - digestive enzymes, parts of a plant and animal cell, particle theory, and the refraction of light to name just a few - are simply not part of the KS2 curriculum.

cricketballs Sat 13-Oct-12 16:41:14

Secretsquirrels - "I wonder whether it helps the school with added value, one of the important measures of a school's success"

The value added figure is from the reported KS2 figures from primary, nothing at all to do with secondary assessments in year 7.

It is very true though (in my subject at least) that KS2 programmes of study would not go anywhere near secondary programmes of study to enable level 5s and above. Far too often at a year 7 parents evening I have to explain that KS2 work would not even go near a level 5 in secondary as they don't cover the work in order to secure a level 5

choccyp1g Sat 13-Oct-12 17:38:58

Well I have to go against the trend here, DS got level 5(a) in maths in the SATS, and is now offically working at level 6 and doing some L7 work in yr7. To be fair, they didn't sit any L6 papers in his school, though they had covered some of the topics.

In English, even more amazing, he just got to a level 5 for writing, (5a reading) by the end of Y6, and his first 3 piece of assessed written work in Y7 were scored 5a, 6c, 5a. He said his marks were about average for his (supposedly "top") set. I think there are several top sets, so his class were probably a mix of level 5s and 6s in the SATS.

So not all children's scores go backwards when they change schools. Especially when the y6 SATS were based on test marks and well-moderated assesments.

choccyp1g Sat 13-Oct-12 17:39:39

Oops I meant asse*ss*ments.

Niceweather Sat 13-Oct-12 20:19:46

Domino, thanks, very interesting what you say about GCSE English. The whole business can be difficult for a child with dyslexia who is writing with very good comprehension, vocabulary and imagination but still not getting the basics of punctuation correct. Secondary school has been much better than Junior and he's in 2nd Group English despite probably having the lowest Writing Level in the whole class.

Kincardine Tue 16-Oct-12 05:34:59

Also it is a bit of a game.

My son took level 6 papers in both Maths and English in Year 6 and did well in both. This was to his benefit (as he was stretched a little) and also added some cred to his school in terms of pupil attainment.

When he went to Grammar School in September it was ignored (and rightly so).

I'd not take it too seriously. It's good for kids to try a bit harder but at that age it isn't significant.

pointyfangs Tue 16-Oct-12 18:38:18

Many of these curriculum areas - digestive enzymes, parts of a plant and animal cell, particle theory, and the refraction of light to name just a few - are simply not part of the KS2 curriculum.

DD1 did all these in Yr6, in her top set. It does happen.

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