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Yr8 parents/teachers, quick question about levels

(13 Posts)
alienbump Fri 22-Mar-13 20:44:43

DS1, was put in set 1 for everything at the start of yr8 apart from geography and history. These two he managed set 6 of 6, little odd we thought, did ring to check it was correct as such a difference but were assured that no mistake had been and he was in the right set. So fast forward to parents evening last week and both history and geography teachers while very nice were both a little reluctant to discuss levels. After a little persuasion they showed me his years test results and he's getting consistent 6b's with an occasional 6a thrown in. Now while I'm pleased at these levels, talking to other teachers, I'm being told that there's no way he's in the right set. DS1 just says he's happy in set 6, slightly worried he's seeing it as something to aspire to in all subjects as homework etc is so easy compared to his other subjects! So just after opinions really, does this sound right for a very good, but never the less non-selective state comp?

flyingcarpet Fri 22-Mar-13 21:13:33

Ds is level 6c History, 6b Geography. These subjects are not set in his non selective,high achieving comp. but he is apparently 'gifted and talented' i.e. top % of his year group in geography. He scores well at history compared to his peers also.

I attended a comp myself and was streamed in top 20%, then set within this and consistently top set in everything, except I was put in the bottom set (same as your son set 6) for geography for a term. My parents never questioned why. Next test I moved up (I remember my score was about 80% and most of the group was 20%) bypassing all the other sets to the top set, so not sure what happened there. Put me off taking geography as an 'o' level option though.

I would be requesting to speak to the relevant department head's or head of year 8 as this doesn't seem right.

shelsco Fri 22-Mar-13 21:45:54

Ds is year 9 and is 6b for his history and in top set as they are put in top set for everything if English and Maths high. When I said he was going to take history as an option and asked about his predicted grades I was told he would walk a c and would be getting pushed for an A or A*.

His history and geography marks are significantly lower for him (and most of his top set class) than his other subjects. Level 6 in year 8 does not seem to equate to the lowest set at all. In ds's school, most of the lower sets are working at level 4 or 5. DS was only a level 5a last year for his geography but, in the top set, was still 'about average'.
I think I would be tempted to go in and talk to someone about the criteria they use to set, the average level for the lower sets and the average level for the higher sets.
We were told at PE this week that level 7c at end of year 9 would put him in top set for GCSE. Your DS isn't far from that now! You need some facts and figures from the school I think!

alienbump Fri 22-Mar-13 22:17:53

Oh bugger, looks like I should ring up and ask a few questions then (don't want to come across as a "how very dare you not put my pfb in set 1 for everything kind of mum!). DS has his own theory (which I've discounted as typical hard done by teenager) that he was put in set 6 as head of humanities is his RE teacher and his Richard Dawkins stylee Athiest evangelism has upset her born again Christian sensibilities. Only problem is, she was off sick for his yr7 parents evening and again for yr8, so have not actually spoken to her yet - have a feeling this is going to end up with me cringing for one reason or another!

BooksandaCuppa Fri 22-Mar-13 22:22:10

No, it doesn't sound right at all. In a non-selective school there will be some (you never know how many, but definitely some) dc who are level 4 or maybe even below. No way should your ds be in bottom set with level 6s...

shelsco Sat 23-Mar-13 08:42:31

What were his end of year levels last year? At ds's school they predict next years targets by adding 2 sub levels, so if he was 6c one year he would be predicted 6a the next. If you have his levels and know his predicted targets you can work out whether he is well over target, which it sounds like he is. Don't discount computer error/wrong input of data as a reason.

My ds had completely the wrong level for his geography and I went armed with all the data from the previous year to query it. They said the computer is set to predict 2 sub levels and they couldn't over ride it so when the wrong data had been entered at the start of year 7, it couldn't be altered until the next year's targets had been set!hmm. If you have his previous report it might be worth taking that along as 'evidence'. Did the comments on it give any indication that his history and geography were a concern? If not, why not? It is reasonable to expect a child in the top set for everything else to be near the top for humanities too, unless there was some problem or reason, in which case you should have been told!

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 23-Mar-13 13:10:03

It does sound odd. I would get an appointment to discuss it if I were you, if only to get a clearer understanding!!

elliepac Sat 23-Mar-13 13:40:17

Speaking here as a History Head of Departmentsmile.

I teach our bottom Year 8 set (out of 9) they are working at level 3/4. I also teach set 3/9 and they are working at Level 5 in the main with a few just into Level 6. A child who is a secure Level 6 in Year 8 would undoubtedly be in at least second if not top set particularly as it sounds as if you have specific setting for History ( we are tied to English so don't necessarily get all the top historians in one group.

I would talk to the Head of Department. I am amazed his class teacher hasn't said anything because I would expect a big difference between his ability and that of the rest of the class which would mean far more planning/differentiation etc.

alienbump Sat 23-Mar-13 19:31:52

Need to root out his end of yr7 report as can't remember his target (should have asked at parents evening really), his geography teacher did say that "this is like no bottom set I've ever taught before" so while I got the impression DS was at the top of the class he wasn't out on his own by a mile. They are set for History, Geography and RE together and I'm starting to get the feeling that the elusive RE teacher may know why he's in set 6. DS really has a problem with the subject (ie, claims he shouldn't have to attend the lessons as he doesn't agree with it being taught as a stand alone subject... don't ask...) and if he's decided to protest Ghandi style I can imagine it could have caused a problem. Just don't want it to interfere with his progress in History and Geography if that's the case, it sounds like he's not falling behind too far at the moment but I can see he will over time, thanks for all the advice and I'll update with whatever response I get.

shelsco Sat 23-Mar-13 22:20:44

Good luck smile

ravenAK Sun 24-Mar-13 01:36:28

I teach English, have taught History, & would agree with Elliepac that secure level 6s at year 8 usually translate into higher sets - your ds would probably be set 2 out of 4 for us, possibly set 1.

ravenAK Sun 24-Mar-13 01:40:03

Bugger, hit post too soon!

Is it tied to anything else? Our Humanities are tied to MFL, which occasionally throws up anomalies - the top set do additional languages, which sometimes means a good historian who isn't great at French is placed in set 2 because he/she wouldn't cope with doing both French & Spanish/Latin.

Certainly can't see how this would lead to your ds being in the lowest set. Definitely one to query!

Niceweather Sun 24-Mar-13 06:55:31

At my son's DS, they only have one top group for History and Geography and the rest are mixed ability. But, they are named 2 through to 6 even though 6 wouldn't be bottom. Just a thought.

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