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Slightly confused by 1st secondary school report

(19 Posts)
microcosmia Wed 02-Jan-13 21:56:36

DS started secondary last Sept and his school gives 4 reports a year to all students. He will get an extra one at some stage due to having SEN. We got the first at Halloween break and the second at Christmas. Then it's Easter and Summer after that. We haven't had a P/T meeting yet but will later this month.

I'm in Ireland so we don't have the levels system but the grades are A, B, C, D etc. There are several short comments for each subject such as "keep up the good work", "more detail needed in responses", noting areas to improve etc. Comments run to 1-2 lines per subject which is fair enough given the volume of these being produced so soon after the house exams. One teacher changed 3 words in his comment from the first report so it was essentially the same. Still, it is nice to have a response and get a feel for how to read the result. Having said that, the comment "excellent result" accompanied a C (?) in one subject where other C's were more accompanied by more guarded comments (one said "fair"). All subjects are common level in first year they will split into higher and lower level in second year based on the summer results.

DS did better in his first report than the second probably as the first was based on in-class assessments and the second was based on proper exams which Irish kids typically aren't as used to at this stage (that'll change for sure!). DS has ASD and completing written responses with sufficient detail in a timed test is a skill he has yet to acquire. He got As in Maths, Music, and Science but fell down on subjects that require detailed explanations or essays. So we know where we need to focus at any rate. He puts in a lot of effort but the output doesn't always reflect it. The hardest subject for him is still Irish which really is tough going. Unfortunately he wasn't exempted from it despite the report recommending it confused

Madmog Sat 29-Dec-12 11:54:38

Forgot to say, if you go to parents evening do ask what individual tutors have said about your son. When my daughter asked about certain subjects, it was then that she was given feedback from the tutors, hers mainly being they would like her to speak up more in class.

Madmog Sat 29-Dec-12 11:50:30

We had the same, current level, target at end of year and target at end of KS3, and I had to laugh it was noted she had already exceeded two of her end of year targets, so I'd say with the still getting to know the children and assessing they were very general targets. As some subjects are being taught as new, the levels were lower, but if was only after help on this forum I had an insight into how my daughter was doing - from what I remember level 6 at the end of KS3 is good and indicates that a GCSE grade B or possibly A could be achieved if continues to work hard. Level 7 is excellent and again if works hard could generate a Grade A at GCSE. Of course, a slighly lower level could still give a Grade C which is great to have as well. Mentoring evening was all about speaking to our daughter, although I did manage to butt in and ask if she was struggling/doing particularly well at anything and the tutor just said everything looked okay.

countrykitten Fri 28-Dec-12 17:12:54

Levels are frankly very misleading in any case as schools and teachers are under pressure to 'up' levels to show progress when very often progress has not taken place. In subjects like Drama levels are a nonsense as it is not a national curriculum subject.

cardibach Sun 23-Dec-12 19:10:53

Startail, Parents' Evening my have been long for you (equally so for the staff) but imagine the length of time required for the teacher to write a comment about every child they teach? (HUndreds, as others have said). Once a year is quite enough for that, if you want the teacher to have time/energy to plan and teach inspiring lessons as well.

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Dec-12 13:47:48

We got one with effort grades only earlier this term, and a parents' evening with the form tutor - basically to identify any issues with settling in, and to signal early on that yes, DS is working hard.

(Interesting, though, that the only 2 subjects that he got 'as expected' in - rather than 'above expected' in terms of effort - are those that he genuinely finds very hard (art and music). It is clearly difficult to distinguish 'lack of effort' from 'doing his darnedest but wholly incapable' within a few weeks of a subject he is only taught a couple of times in each 2-week cycle!).

I believe that we get another one with effort and attainment grades next term, and a third with comments in the summer term, followed by the parents' evening to discuss concerns.

Startail Sun 23-Dec-12 12:44:14

The computerised, impersonal comments drive me nuts!

There is nothing in the computer that tells me anything useful about how eccentric, in your faces dyslexic DD1 is doing. Or more importantly how the teacher is coping with hergrin

All I want to know is that the teacher realises she has a brain, but finds other children hard work.

As it was I had go and see every single teacher at parents evening, to discover yes most of them had worked it out and those who hadn't would keep an eye on her in group work.
It was a very long evening,

JenaiMathis Sun 23-Dec-12 12:28:56

I thought as much. 3 whole levels in as many months (or 2 - not sure if they start at 0 or 1) would be jolly impressive!

Kez100 Sun 23-Dec-12 12:24:34

MFL, yes a 3 is very good.

Drama, not necessarily, depends on how much drama they have done to allow assessment. My son went in on a level 5 straight away (and he is good but not excellent at drama) but they did have formal assessment in term 1.

JenaiMathis Sun 23-Dec-12 11:58:54

A 3 in MFL or drama at this stage in Y7 would be pretty darned good, wouldn't it, not just "quite normal"?

mummytime Sun 23-Dec-12 11:46:39

Any 5as or 6s are fabulous, 3 are quite normal for new subjects. The rest should be 4s and 5s. A good effort grade is good, and I would question poor ones.
Comments when they come many be just computer generated one liners. Remember most teachers, teach hundreds of pupils.

BackforGood Sat 22-Dec-12 23:22:43

Agree with others - you will get a more personalised report at some point in the year, this is likely to be one of the 'extra' ones, over and above that. It's useful in terms of being able to have discussions with them now if there are issues to do with attitude or behaviour or lack of effort, etc, but don't worry too much about the levels.
He is right that the levels for things like languages that they've not done before will naturally be a lot lower than for something like English or maths. Whether anyone can get higher than a 3 might depend on if they are what he's achieved in some work in the first term, or if they are what his targets are for the end of the year.

JenaiMathis Fri 21-Dec-12 13:03:57

Bearing in mind that each subject teacher will be teaching literally hundreds of pupil, I'm pleased to have got anything at all!

We had attainment grades (NC levels), target levels, a grade for behaviour and a grade for homework I think.

French and drama were "low" but only compared to the other subjects - your son isn't pulling your leg there op smile

oldpeculiar Fri 21-Dec-12 11:07:53

We get just an effort grade (1-5) and an attainment grade (A-E) for each subject and a comment from form teacher tutor & headmaster at xmas and Easter.And in summer a full report

Kez100 Fri 21-Dec-12 02:51:37

We get three reports a year. Two grade listings only and one full, with comments. Our full reports are spread over the year, probably to ensure teachers have the time to write them properly. Remember, at Secondary, each teacher sees many, many more children than a primary teacher does.

Our year 7 full report is the last one to be issued in the year - usually in May. That gives plenty of time for them to settle and for there to be something to meaningfully say. (obviously if there were major problems I'd expect them to be flagged with home independantly of any report)

creamteas Thu 20-Dec-12 23:09:31

The interim reports are often computer generated, and as long as the general trend is up (eg over the year) don't worry about it, You should get a proper report with comments later on

standsonshiftingsands Thu 20-Dec-12 23:08:31

Thanks Fridge - there are target levels - I was just trying to work out if he is doing ok and if it really was the case about the subjects for which this is his first year.

There are scores for behaviour/attitude/equipment(!) which range from 1-5. I'll look forward to a 'proper' report.

AViewfromtheFridge Thu 20-Dec-12 23:03:35

There should be a target level as well as the level he's achieved otherwise, as you say, it's meaningless. I'm an English teacher but know that in our school level 3 is common in MFL and Drama. Are there grades for effort, behaviour, homework or anything? You'll probably get a "proper" report at the end of the year.

standsonshiftingsands Thu 20-Dec-12 23:00:19

DS1 - 12 at Christmas has just moved to secondary school in a two tier system.

He came home with his report tonight and I'm a bit confused. Firstly, none of the personal comment such as 'DS is a pain in the neck or DS is this or that'.Just a bunch of scores. So it seems that normal is in the range 4d to 5b or something like that. He has done ok - nothing special. For maths and science a bit better - 5a to 6 something. What the hell does all this mean? For others RE and subjects he hasn't actually done before - scores are lower, like 3 something. He says this is because if you haven't studied the subject before - like French or IT you can't get higher than a 3 something. Is he pulling my leg?

Bit disappointed by lack of personal comment - thats the bit I used to enjoy!

Any secondary teachers out there???

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