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NC levels in year 7- I am turning into one of ^those^ parents.......!!!

(82 Posts)
seeker Sat 13-Oct-12 07:45:03

Do you all know what level your year 7 child is working at, and what their targets are? If so, are you willing to share? If not, do you know when you will/do you want to/are you bothered?

And does your child bring marked/commented on homework home regularly?

I have a parent's evening next week, and I am very keen not to appear to be a git with unrealistic expectations......!

BloooCowWonders Sat 13-Oct-12 07:52:55

Nope to levels. All groups are mixed ability this term.

Yes to hw and marked exercise books. Can see that dc does all work in class well, and does hw and gets it marked. And prep book has to be signed by parent each week for tutor to see.

I know dc is bored in some lessons - they were working at much higher leves in primary. No sets til after Christmas.

MaureenCognito Sat 13-Oct-12 07:57:10

1. Levels are a load of shit most teachers make up most of the time in secondary.
2. Grammar school. I dunno, a 6 or 7

No idea re targets. I focus more on targets by good marking but that makes them read what I wrote. An much more bothered on this at KS4

MaureenCognito Sat 13-Oct-12 07:58:12

Oh am I bothered by levels ? NO!
Ime year 7 is vital that they enjoy, develop organization and confidence

MaureenCognito Sat 13-Oct-12 07:58:43

Seeker, what are you wanting to ask?

nkf Sat 13-Oct-12 07:59:57

In the secondary school, I know the targets and the reports tell me the current levels. Books are not marked very often. Assessments are marked quickly. Am bothered.

Primary school - levels are given at parents's evening.

cumbrialass Sat 13-Oct-12 09:12:18

There can be a huge difference between primary and secondary schools in terms of the information given. This is especially true of Year 6, where children and parents are bombarded with sub-levels and targets, assessment results, homework with learning objectives and comments, books marked with next steps and levels, the lot! Year 7 can seem much more laid back and some parents are bemused by the seeming lack of information secondary schools feel necessary to impart. As a Year 6 teacher I remember clearly asking what sublevel my son was working at in English at his first parent's evening in Year 7 to be met by a completely blank look and "We don't provide any levels until after the end of year exams"

TantrumsAndBalloons Sat 13-Oct-12 09:22:08

If I remember correctly in year 7 we used to get a letter home at the end of every term stating the level they were currently working at, the expected level for the end of the year and the expected level by the end of year 9
We didn't get these levels until the end of the first term, so that would be Christmas as they are still assessing them.

Also the levels for different subjects really vary, for example in French/German etc the level they achieve will seem really low but that's because they have never studied it before.

I can't remember what levels they were at the first term of year 7.

I can try and find it if you want?

Are you concerned you haven't received the levels yet because I think that's pretty normal although at the first parents evening you should get the results for the CATS they did at the very beginning of the year.

TantrumsAndBalloons Sat 13-Oct-12 09:24:23

Oh also in terms of homework,ours is all handed in online and marked online so parents can check it. When the homework is set a level criteria is attached so the DCs can see what they have to do to achieve a certain level.

Iamnotminterested Sat 13-Oct-12 09:25:39

I am one of "those" parents then ? Because I do want to know levels, sub-levels, targets etc and tbh I do not give a fig if others criticise me because of it. DD has become a small fish in a very big sea and I need to have information to find out if she is swimming or sinking. Simple.

TantrumsAndBalloons Sat 13-Oct-12 09:31:38

I think it good to be one of those parents, how else would you know any thing?

JustGettingByMum Sat 13-Oct-12 10:12:31

Good point about the CATS results, I had forgotten DD sat these, so hopefully we'll get some feedback at parents eve.

Otherwise, we too have no info on levels. All homework, class work and tests (can't believe they've already had some tests!) have been marked, but generally the marking scheme is A-D for the work and 1-4 for effort marks. So A+4 is max you can get.

So different to primary where DD knew exactly what level she was working at and what she needed to do to go up a level.

lljkk Sat 13-Oct-12 10:17:57

DS is in y8 & I know nothing of his levels or targets.

seeker Sat 13-Oct-12 10:20:30

Thank you. My problem is that at dd's school, they did all their homework in books, which were marked religiously and which came home, so we could keep an eye on things. She also had current and predicted levels for every subject from very early on. I realise this is not usual!

Ds does most homework on sheets which are stuck into books which stay at school, so I don't know what sort of marks he's getting unless he remembers- and I don't want to quiz him. He tells me he's been given levels for English and PE verbally, but not for anything else.

I wanted to know whether asking for his current levels at next week's meet the form tutor session ( it's not a proper parent's evening) would be a reasonable thing to do.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 13-Oct-12 10:23:34

Seeker I'll oblige if you like though dd is in year 8, I think I still remember accurately.

Dds work seemed to be marked fortnightly usually. Art was hardly every marked. In each subject one piece of key work or a test gave the level awarded for that term.

Dds target grades for the end of year 9 are all 8s. It's a bit of a nonsense as she is not artistic, or physically minded, so there's no way she will get 8s in some subjects. She's already surpassed her target grade in maths so that's a bit of a nonsense too. Dds levels ranged from around a level 4 at the beginning of the year to a 5 at the end of the year for French (the levels being ridiculously formulaic as to which tense they were able to use!) other subjects were levels 6 to 7a (apart from pe, art ) maths as I said was a nonsense as they based it on a test for which she got 100%.

Does that help or have I just said a whole lot of really unhelpful stuff?

MordionAgenos Sat 13-Oct-12 10:33:24

More reasonable than poking inside homework books, I'd say......

I don't see a problem at all with asking kids if they got any marks (although sometimes the answers are incomprehensible). I would have a huge problem with poking around in their books either with or without their permission. It seems, to me, a massive overstepping of 'the line'.

We were never been given targets or levels for DD1 until she started her GCSEs when we were given target grades. For DS we were given targets for the end of KS3 midway through Y7 (I can't remember exactly when. Not this early) and in two subsequent reports, (the first wasn't at Xmas it was after) we were given an indication if he was on target, ahead of target or not on target for each subject. But not an indication of actual level at the time the report was written.

At DD1's school they have a parent portal which in theory should show all the marks your child gets in the year. In practice some teachers do this religiously some not at all. So last year we had loads and loads of PE marks (I don't give a flying fuck about PE and the marks were ludicrous anyway) and not one single French or biology mark.

noblegiraffe Sat 13-Oct-12 10:44:00

What levels are they on the first term of Y7? Usually lower than the ones that they left primary school with.

My school does baseline assessments at the start of Y7 because we found the SATs grades were usually over-inflated and can't be trusted.

As far as the rest of the year goes, I think levels have to be reported to parents 3 times a year, but these are usually, made up by the teachers to tick a box. Sub-levels are not an accurate measure of anything, there's nothing official that they actually mean. If you went from one school to another and asked how they reported levels in January you would get different answers.

If we report levels 3 times a year and kids are 'supposed' to go up 2 sublevels per year (this is utter bollocks btw), then don't think that an unchanged level means your kid is floundering. What I do is in the first report, leave them at the same level they were in the summer, bump them up a sublevel or 2 for the 2nd report (top set kids make more progress than bottom set ones), then they have their exam in the summer (which is the only decent assessment of their actual level all year, being a SATs style exam, but that, too, is fraught with problems of inaccuracy) and an actual assessed level from this is reported for their end of year report. Fingers crossed that they get at least the same or better than the level I made up for the previous report.

If you actually want to know how your kid is doing, then pay more attention to how they're doing in homework and class tests than the sheer misinformation that are sub-levels and yearly NC targets.

seeker Sat 13-Oct-12 10:44:52

"More reasonable than poking inside homework books, I'd say......

I don't see a problem at all with asking kids if they got any marks (although sometimes the answers are incomprehensible). I would have a huge problem with poking around in their books either with or without their permission. It seems, to me, a massive overstepping of 'the line'. "

I don't think I understand you- you seem to be saying that looking at your 11 year old's school work with them is an invasion of privacy. But you can't be saying that, surely?

noblegiraffe Sat 13-Oct-12 10:47:28

I should add to my post that although my school does baseline assessments at the start of Y7, a lot of schools don't, so if you ask a teacher what level a kid in Y7 is on right now, they would probably ask you what they got in their SATs. It is nonsense to ask a teacher to assess a child's level based on a couple of week's classwork. It would be meaningless.

goinnowhere Sat 13-Oct-12 10:58:33

Levels are tricky and actually difficult to apply. They should not really be used for one piece of work but as an overview when several skills have been assessed. Each teacher may see your child once or twice a week, so a max of 12 hours so far. Equivalent to two or three days in a primary classroom. I would not be happy assigning levels before half term as a result of those factors. You should have been informed about the school marking policy though and be able to see graded work. At this point, I'd expect to have maybe three marked pieces per subject, maybe more for Maths and English as they have those lessons more frequently, and those teachers therefore have fewer classes.

seeker Sat 13-Oct-12 11:02:27

Hmm, yes, I see what you are all saying about levels- that makes perfect sense.

Would you expect targets at this stage, or is it too early for those too?

goinnowhere Sat 13-Oct-12 11:05:03

Year 7 targets can be later than other years, depending on when info comes through. Some schools also do CATs. I'd ask them when targets will be available, no harm in that.

crazygracieuk Sat 13-Oct-12 11:09:30

We get our y7's targets etc in November as it must take longer for secondary school teachers to reach their conclusions due to much less teaching time per subject compared to secondary. I know ds1's CAT score and which sets he is in for the sets that are not mixed ability.

TantrumsAndBalloons Sat 13-Oct-12 11:09:56

We were given target levels for end of year and end of year 9 at this stage.

noblegiraffe Sat 13-Oct-12 11:22:20

Target levels are usually generated by an outside company, e.g. Fischer Family Trust. They would take the KS2 data and a whole host of other factors including post code, ethnicity and free school meal status to generate a target for the end of KS3. This is based on what the average student with a similar set of KS2 results and a similar profile to your child achieves at the end of KS3. (I think the same can be done with CAT scores, I'm not really familiar with what happens to them). Some schools wouldn't look at the average student target, but would instead use a target based on what the top 25% of students would achieve.

That data then gets sent back to schools. Levels are only supposed to be used to assess progress across Key stages, so a KS2 to KS3 target would cover 3 years of schooling.

However, this isn't precise enough for schools (or parents) who want to know where that kid is making progress (or not) towards that target every year. So some schools then take that computer generated target and try to break it down into yearly targets (which levels are not designed for). The crudest way of doing this would be to simply divide the expected progress by 3.

This, once again is bollocks. Progress isn't linear, we shouldn't expect to see a neat straight line graph for students' progress, they make big leaps sometimes, and sometimes they stagnate. Sometimes they even go backwards. As I have already mentioned, sublevels are made up. The difference between a 5.5 and a 5.8 at the end of a year could be simply 1 mark on a test. Yet because of these yearly targets with their sublevels, parents get all worked up about how Little Johnny has failed to meet his yearly target. Of course he didn't! Some kids will achieve less than their target, some more, and some will be spot on. That's entirely to be expected due to the nature of the targets and could be nothing to do with Little Johnny. Better to look at whether Johnny's teacher thinks he has been working hard or pissing about all year.

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