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Is this unusual/common re Level 5 SAT's and Set 3?

(80 Posts)
urbancupcake Thu 28-Mar-13 08:51:34

My dd's school decide on sets (for all subjects) when they start the school based on their primary school SAT's results.

My dd received all level 5's in her primary school SAT's results and was placed in set 3 and after their exams in the new year, achieved all level 5a's but wasn't moved up. She's quiet and well behaved.

Is this usual/unusual?

tiggytape Sun 31-Mar-13 12:38:15

SATS are just the starting point though - or should be at a good school.
Even schools which use SATS alone for setting purposes should still allow movement between the sets when it becomes apparent that a child is much more able than their SATS suggest (or are struggling more than their SATS suggest).

When you've got 200+ children all starting on the same day in September, there is usually a pretty blunt tool used to assess them. There isn't time or money to spend weeks examining each child's strengths in detail. So they do a rough sort through at first and then tweak it as the year goes

JenaiMorris Sun 31-Mar-13 12:14:42

Well ever since I discovered that quite so many classmates are working a couple of levels higher than ds, I've realised that SATs etc clearly measure the wrong things grin

BrunellaPommelhorse Sun 31-Mar-13 12:01:46

i'm jealous obvs grin

Mine all fine - did v well but i take all levels with a huge pinch of sel de subjectif

seeker Sun 31-Mar-13 11:59:14

Assuming your children didn't do as well as you hoped, brunella! grin

BrunellaPommelhorse Sun 31-Mar-13 11:52:10

SATs and levels are generally shit.

JenaiMorris Sun 31-Mar-13 11:49:38

Can you imagine what sort of standard any of this lot would have to be working at to get an A if we had normative assessment at GCSE?

tungthai Sun 31-Mar-13 08:21:03

I think the current year 6 is a bright cohort in our area. On the 11+ forum they were saying that the children had done exceptionally well in this years 11+ exams.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 30-Mar-13 22:02:27

My dd is in a comprehensive, though she did pass her 11plus.

So she is bright, got Lvl 5s in year six sats. Initially she was in middle set for maths and science. They did Cats and she was moved up for maths. She's now getting Lvl 7 in most of her homework and tests in all subjects. Well main subjects, I'm not counting PE, ict, etc.

urbancupcake Sat 30-Mar-13 20:26:30

Tiggytape - I've printed off your reply. You're tops. Yes will go through the correct procedure.

You should set up a education/parenting consultancysmile

ps: just spotted my grammatical error in my earlier post - 'your', instead of you're. Daft parent, eh?

tiggytape Sat 30-Mar-13 19:52:47

blush - thank you urbancupcakes.
The first point of call might be your DD's form tutor rather than the individual subject teachers or, failing that, the Head of Year. I think you definitely have good cause to query the decision – you aren't a loopy parent at all. In your shoes, I would want answers and / or changes.
The school will hopefully be able to answer your questions or move DD's stream. It is in their interest too - if they have a significant number of level 5 children entering the school who are not being allowed to strive for top grades, it will show them up as not offering good value and failing to reach expected levels of progression. Schools aren't just judged on grades, they are judged on whether they help pupils meet their full potential. Preventing level 5 children getting good GCSE grades goes against that.

It might be that this blip year (if it is a blip year as seems possible from the feedback here) has caught them on the hop. I know our school have gone to great lengths to reassure parents regarding level 5 children not placed in top sets and have also changed the English syllabus to incorporate more complicated texts than they’d normally cover with Year 7 students. It seems they were suddenly presented with a brighter Year 7 than they’d expected and certainly far more level 5 children than normal. They reacted by making set 3 more challenging than it might be in other year groups. Maybe your school has the same problem but just needs to adapt a bit more to allow for this?
The trouble might also be streaming. I haven’t come across any school that still streams pupils – it must throw up a lot of problems in placing children in classes that meet their needs generally. Finally, you could also ask how easily and how often children move streams. If it is dependent on end of year exams, it may be possible, with a bit of revision, to get DD moved up fairly soon. Some schools however have less fluid movement than others so more pushing might be needed if that’s the case.

urbancupcake Sat 30-Mar-13 19:34:51

@Tiggytape - I adore you. Thank you so, so much. I always just want to check beforehand to make sure I'm not going potty or just a loopy parent on a rampage (I'm sure every school has enough of those to deal withsmile.

I'll keep reading your posts, as your so good at all this. Thanks againsmile

urbancupcake Sat 30-Mar-13 19:31:26

@Seeker - No confused??? I saw it that selective schools cream off the top so effectively their whole year 7, for example, are just one big set 1 and set 2, so could easily see how straight level 5's could be set 3. Whereas a comp who cant select by academic alone, would mean two classes of at least 6,5.5 (bearing in mind ours stream according to levels across the board) and a top set of roughly everyone achieving 6,6,5.

I can easily see that no problem in a grammar or selective, but even in the highest achieving comprehensive, even those who gave their children the special milk in year 2000, I don't know:0). Is that what you think is totally probable or am I still not understanding - which is possibe?

tiggytape Sat 30-Mar-13 19:27:45

No urbancake - if that is the case, you definitely should challenge it and question it.

In our school level 5 children in set 3 will still be able to do triple science (provided they are on level 6 in Year 9) and will still be expected to get A* - C grades in all core subjects.
If that wasn't the case - if they put level 5 children in set 3 and then excluded them from the higher science curriculum and only entered then for the lower maths papers - they'd be outrage and quite rightly so. If this is definitely what happens at your school, I think you need to call or go in and confirm / challenge this.
If they have too many level 5 children to put them in the top sets, they need to adapt set 3 work to make sure it still meets the needs of level 5 learners not expect level 5 learners to adapt to fit a predetermined notion of what set 3 is taught or what exams they do.

urbancupcake Sat 30-Mar-13 19:18:59

@Tiggytape: I think this is good about your school too:

The letter home with the results of setting for example specifically said level 5b children being placed in Set 3 was not a mistake _and explained the number of higher level 5's in the whole year and the higher curriculum they would still follow._

With all due respect, that can't be argued with as it justifies and makes it absolutely clear to the parents and child any decisions made. Wish our school did the same.

urbancupcake Sat 30-Mar-13 19:07:33

@Tiggytape - Thanks for your really comprehensive reply. I totally agree, it's all but a number really. However, this is the problem, in my DD's school, set 3 miss out on subjects that are only taught in the other sets, one of those being, learning the science's separately.

The other concern of course, is the syllabus. when I look at what percentage sat and received A and A*, they could only have come from the top two sets, yet L5 put's you well within the ream of being able to achieve the same (B's and upwards statistically). You've pointed out another issue, as in the foundation paper where only a level C is achievable, I believe (prepared to be corrected). I know in some schools, this is only the option ultimately available to the mid - lower sets? This would be an absolute tragedy in DD's case, when with high level 5's, she is statistically able to achieve more but would be denied the opportunity.

Happy to be corrected however, so please let me know if I've missed something :0)

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 19:56:35

"Seeker - Thanks for your feedback, I was talking about a comprehensive as opposed to a selective though."

I know you were. What I meant was that if my dd was in that set in a school which only had top set kids, your dd could be in the right place in a school which had all abilities. If you see what I mean.

tiggytape Fri 29-Mar-13 19:03:57

Level 5 certainly doesn't mean automatic entry to Set 1 or even Set 2 in many comprehensives. This thread seems to confirm what is common in our area - in lots of non selective schools, more than half of Year 7 start on level 5 or above and therefore most of those children will not make the top set.

That isn't a bad thing as long as level 5 children in Set 3 maths for example aren't excluded from sitting the papers required for an A* grade at GCSE and the work they do is matched to ability (as far as any group work can be). If the school was more rigid (eg set 3 children automatically excluded from triple science even if they were on level 6 or 7 by Year 9) or if Set 3 work was far below the child's capabilities then I think there would be a real problem but as it is, it doesn't seem to be an issue except for upsetting some children who are quite competitive about it and confusing parents who are worried about it.
The fact we had a special 'setting' meeting to explain it and a detailed letter home put a lot of fears to rest so maybe other schools could take time to explain to parents how setting is done so they aren't concerned mistakes have been made. The letter home with the results of setting for example sepcifically said level 5b children being placed in Set 3 was not a mistake and explained the number of higher level 5's in the whole year and the higher curriculum they would still follow.

urbancupcake Fri 29-Mar-13 18:17:27

Seeker - Thanks for your feedback, I was talking about a comprehensive as opposed to a selective though.

This is difficult to gauge also as it seems most who have responded so far are in schools that set as opposed to stream and with sets, it seems as though as a general rule, with all L5's a child could be in set 1 for some topics and a variety of different sets for others.

This streaming thing seems so dated also and sets a much better way to go. Still, doubt if the school will be changing their systems any time soon though based on my viewsmile, so am forced to work with what I have:0)

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 16:07:39

My dd was in set 5 of 7 at a selective school with a 4a just off 5. So at a comprehensive school set 3 with a 5 sounds feasible.

Loshad Fri 29-Mar-13 15:59:56

In my school a student could be in set 3 with solid 5a and not just this year.(High achieving comprehensive).

bruffin Fri 29-Mar-13 11:23:36

Speaking to dcs ho maths the other day and they have 3 maths geniuses in yr 12 normally just 1.
And when Dd yr 10 started they said itcwasvthe brightest cohort they had ever had. My Dd got 89% in her maths ks2 sats and didn't make top set although she did got moved up in yr 8. This is a hugely improved school and i suspect each year is attracting brighter children. As they say success breeds success.

Iamnotminterested Fri 29-Mar-13 11:05:10

Seeker - I think you are right. The current year 9 had the best set of results for my dcs primary ever, the 8's not so great (although still above national average), the 7's I think 85% level 4+, 6's as I've said not predicted to do as well, 5's an able year, 4's not as able and 3's able! How weird is that? Dd is in year 4 and is very able though so hopefully her predicted grades will get her to the top of the top set ;-).

teacherwith2kids Fri 29-Mar-13 10:38:20

Interestingly, DS's year (currently Y7) in his primary had the best Year 6 results for many years BUT the school did jump hugely in the local league tables, implying that it might have been a bright year IN THAT SCHOOL but that it was not especially bright in other schools.

And entry into local grammars (live in an area with some residual grammar schools, not a wholly grammar area) has been much greater for the current Year 6, rather tan last year's - though I think that this is more to do with a slow change in the socio-economic profile of the school, with more aspirational parents with the money and sharp elbows for coaching than it is to do with the relative academic performance of the school. Of the 10 kids with L6 maths, for eample, only 2 have gone to grammar, with the rest choosing local comprehensives.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 09:55:13

I am (semi) serious in my alternate year theory. I have two children with a big age gap, so I have been involved with the same primary for longer than anyone would wish, and a governor for longer than I should and the stats bear me out in my one small sample. I remember in one governors meeting we were talking about how we hoped OFSTED would hold off for a bit so they could look at the following years SATS rather than the current years- sadly they didn't.

notnagging Fri 29-Mar-13 09:54:59

I complained ( primary sets). Ds was reassessed & moved up to set 2.

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