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Year 8 levels - teachers seem concerned, should I be?

(12 Posts)
sandyballs Thu 06-Feb-14 08:57:22

The way the teachers go on, I was given the impression that DD was behind and struggling but they have just given me her levels:

English 5a
Maths 6b
Science 6c

I've googled this and she seems ahead for this stage of year 8.

DD thinks they have given her unrealistic end of year targets which are 7c for English, 6a for maths and 6a for science which is why the teachers are getting stressy with her.

Could those in the know please enlighten me.

FrumiousBandersnatch Thu 06-Feb-14 09:20:22

She is ahead of national expectations but it's possible that she has plateaued in relation to her prior attainment. What were her levels in the KS2 SATS and at the end of y7?

pointythings Thu 06-Feb-14 09:20:38

It depends on what she scored at the end of Yr6. Teachers and the school are judged on children making set levels of progress, so if your DD is not progressing as 'expected' then her teachers will be concerned because it will reflect badly on them.

It doesn't matter that the whole system of 'expected' progress is a pile of nonsense. It is, because children don't make progress in a linear manner, and primary schools can at times drill their Yr6 children in SATs so they end up with an inflated score. These are all known factors, and unfortunately teachers have to deal with them. League tables, SATs, levels - it's all utterly dysfunctional.

DeWe Thu 06-Feb-14 09:43:08

I would look at the English and wonder why the discrepancy. I'm not surprised they are concerned if she's getting 5a and expected to be 7c by the end of the year. It doesn't means she's doing badly, just not fulfilling her potential at this time. In some ways it's a good thing they're picking up on it, not just saying "she'll be okay, she'll get a C at GCSE" when she could have got an A.

But how realistic are those levels for end of year? Were they individually worked out, or are they done by set/class/group work? And are the current levels an ongoing thing, or on one single test?

sandyballs Thu 06-Feb-14 12:07:54

Thanks for replies. She left primary school on level 5's so I suppose the English hasn't improved much at all in the last 18 months. I believe she could try harder, she doesn't put much effort in to be honest. And understandably that would get the teachers goat.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 06-Feb-14 12:45:04

It sounds as though she is doing fine, but they have set her English target a little high. 7C would be a suitable target for her to aim for by the end of Y9.

Wolfiefan Thu 06-Feb-14 12:48:34

Schools have to set targets that relate to what they achieved at KS2. If she isn't making good progress towards that target then she is below target. (You seem to know yourself that she isn't working as hard as she could.)

trinity0097 Thu 06-Feb-14 18:36:31

If she was a level 5 in ks2 for maths then only to be a level 6 by now is pretty poor! Where I worked last, a mixed ability middle school, children who got a level 4b or a in yr 6 would be on a 6c or b by this stage of year 8. The ones who got secure 5s would be on a mid level 7 in year 8.

jobbingteacher Fri 07-Feb-14 21:59:41

Targets for pupils at secondary schools are based purely on what they achieved in their KS2 SATS in two subjects – English and Maths. This is the only progress benchmark available so it has become the whipping post for everyone in school to be chained to.
In addition, all targets in foundation subjects at secondary school tend to generated from these scores, which can be ludicrous for practical subjects like drama, music and PE. We have all seen bright children put off these subjects (that they enjoy, but have no natural aptitude for) by being given ridiculously high targets based on what they achieved at the age of 10 or 11 in English and Maths. This becomes particularly crazy in modern foreign languages where a child might be given a target for a language they have only just started based on their KS2 English score!!!
In a nutshell take everything with a pinch of salt!!

bruffin Fri 07-Feb-14 22:09:30

No they are no jobbing teacher
They also use cat scores as well. Dcs school had very different targets for new subjects such as mfl to maths english and science.

maree1 Fri 07-Feb-14 22:55:38

Keep her aiming high - it's all in a good cause. You obviously know when she has to make a bit more effort but just keep the encouragement cheerful.

adoptmama Sat 08-Feb-14 09:05:57

If she hasn't progressed on the English since year 6 the teacher's are right to be concerned. Sounds like she is bright girl, cruising. Level 7c would not have been unrealistically high given what she left primary on. She clearly needs to push herself. The levels they leave primary on are only one way to set targets - and not that useful a way. If they have CAT or similar they will have a very good idea indeed of where she is capable of being and it sounds from what you say that they have identified her as underperforming.

She could easily make the sublevel progression in Maths and Science to achieve her end of year targets as she sounds like an able student. She will have to work harder to achieve in English, but it is certainly not at all impossible if she begins working at what the school clearly feel is her potential.

Your DD sounds possibly a bit stressed by the idea by suggesting that she cannot possibly achieve her targets. She is setting herself up to fail by declaring them to be unrealistic - she has given up before she tried. If she is a perfectionist type of child she may be worried about trying, and failing. She may be getting to the age where, particularly in maths and science ('boys' subjects) she is beginning to hide her ability to better fit in. She may be reacting to peer pressure by trying to not appear bright.

I would ask to have a chat with the school to have a chat with them. Try to get to the heart of why she is not achieving her targets - what is behind the apparent lack of effort. No child goes to school wanting to do badly, but there are many (especially teen girls) who think to be popular they need to hide their brains.

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