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A question about year 8 levels- sorry.

(26 Posts)
linney Sat 22-Mar-14 08:08:20

Just had ds's report (we get 3 very brief reports a year). His current attainment level is 6c in English and maths. But he finished year 7 on a 6c for English and maths- that can't be right, surely? He has 1s (outstanding) for attitude to work and homework in both subjects, and is (within the normal parameters of a 13 year old boy) keen on school. To put some context, he has gone from a 6b to a 7c in science. And I know he has scored in the 7s in several maths tests.

Before I make a fool of myself querying it with his form tutor, I'm not missing something, am I?

PotteringAlong Sat 22-Mar-14 08:11:43

It could be - in maths he will be doing different topics so he might have found something really easy (eg algebra) and was doing that in year 7 but in year 8 is doing trigonometry (for example) which he's found harder?

linney Sat 22-Mar-14 08:27:13

I wondered that- but he whips through homework and always gets full or nearly full marks- they do regular tests and he appears to always gets high 6s and 7s- (or so he tells me!)-and hasn't mentioned finding anything particularly difficult. I need to talk to the teacher, don't ? sad

JohnnyBarthes Sat 22-Mar-14 10:26:07

Eh? Is your worry that he hasn't been assessed as 6b or something? Ask his teachers by all means, but 6s in Y8 is hardly cause for desperate worry.

Anyway, learning is rarely a smooth, upwards curve. People have peaks, troughs and plateaus.

linney Sat 22-Mar-14 10:43:02

Johnny- I don't, within reason, care what he's assessed at. I do care about whether or not he's making progress. And I am concerned that a child showing an "outstanding" attitude to learning does not appear to have made any measurable progress in two of the 3 core subjects since last June.

Cerisier Sat 22-Mar-14 10:55:39

I teach maths and this sort of thing happens where a student has scored highly on the easier topics in Y7 but when faced with the harder topics in assessments during the next year they still score a similar level. They are still learning a great deal during this time though, they are not going backwards.

Remember too that the levels on assessments are pretty subjective and a few marks will make a big difference to the level awarded. Also progress is not linear, it depends on the topics and how much practice and revision is done in class and at home.

I find it is not unusual for students to potter through the year with ok but not amazing grades and then achieve a high level at the end of the year when they have practised and consolidated the work.

Nocomet Sat 22-Mar-14 11:52:09

Ask at parents evening, as the posters above state Y7-9 levels are very subjective .

IME they come out of a bingo machine or at least from the last class test, which might be a topic your DC is bad at or they simply weren't listening and didn't revise.

DDs' teachers all have their mark books with them at parents evenings and are quite happy to look back, chat and give a much better picture than the ridged report structure.

That said if DD2 still has a 5a for maths at the end of Y8 (she left primary on L5) I will be asking questions. No point yet as they have had a supply teacher they didn't gel with.

noblegiraffe Sat 22-Mar-14 12:03:34

does not appear to have made any measurable progress in two of the 3 core subjects

That's your issue, you think progress can be measured by levels and sublevels over the course of a short period of time, because that's what the school has been telling you by printing these absurd sublevels 3 times a year. Levels were designed to measure progress over a whole key stage, that's three years. Sublevels don't officially exist and therefore are made up by different schools and different teachers meaning different things on different days.

It is impossible to accurately measure a child's current level down to a fine-tuned sublevel based on a couple of topics of work. Some schools try to blag it by levelling assessments that don't actually cover the full curriculum. Some schools even think that subleveling a single piece of work is anything other than complete nonsense.

Do not worry about your DS's mid-year sublevel. Personally, as a teacher, I would have simply bumped him up a sublevel since last year just to show progress on his report to his parents. But it would be meaningless as an accurate measure.

If he does an end of year exam that covers the whole curriculum (like a SATs paper) and that is levelled, then that score is probably worth looking at. But the rest is just bobbins.

DeWe Sat 22-Mar-14 13:10:07

I've just got dd1's Easter report for year 8.

She's got one level 8 and one level 7 and most of the rest are level 6. But they also give us the range of scores for the year, so I can see that in the subjects where is is roughly in the year range.

However in science she scored a level 7 at the end of last year, and she got a 6 this time. However (having just had parents' evening) there's a couple of things I note. Firstly this was heavily done on a test which she made a few careless mistakes on. Then the range of scores last year was higher, so I assume either they were doing easier subjects last summer or the teacher scored them higher. And no one this year got a level 7.

They also give us a point system which corresponds to the levels (37-42 points is the level 6) and in some subjects she's gone up 5+ points since last summer, some subjects she's gone up a steady 1-2 points every time they grade (tends to be the subjective ones like PE) and others she's apparently only done a point improvement. I can also see from the points system that progress isn't generally linear, so she might make only a point difference in one term, and then 4 in the next.

JohnnyBarthes Sat 22-Mar-14 13:11:40

Mine went down a whole level in English, from his SATs hmm

I am raising this, of course, but I was pretty sceptical about his L5 at the end of Y6, knowing how half arsed his literacy work was.

schilke Sat 22-Mar-14 17:01:11

We do not get given levels until the end of year 9. We are told their position in the year - 1 being the highest and 6 the lowest. The dc have the odd levelled piece, but mainly it is out of 10 and a mark for effort (A-D). I think I prefer it this way!

I would try not to worry about it.

linney Sat 22-Mar-14 17:32:58

I'm not worried. And I'm not expecting linear progress- I am fully aware that children don't learn like that.

But I don't think that a clever child who has, as I said, according to the school an " outstanding" attitude to work should be on the same level in two core subjects 7 months into year 8 as he was at the end of year 7. And when he was assessed at 5a at Christmas in year 7. That's one sub level in 14 months!

AhBut Sat 22-Mar-14 19:15:31

I don't think outstanding attitude to work and outstanding achievement necessarily go together. Friend's DD had many more excellents for effort, homework and attitude than DS, and many comments about being a pleasure to teach at parents eve. We had a lot of 'challenges me with his knowledge' (definitely not a pleasure!) and mostly good rather than excellent for attitude and effort, but DS attainment in terms of levels on both reports was much higher than hers.

Martorana Sat 22-Mar-14 23:02:13

But the OP said "outstanding" attitude to work + bright+ 5a after a term in year 7. Surely even the most relaxed among you would expect more than a 6c after two terms in year 8? OP- I would be questioning this with his form tutor on Monday. No need to be aggressive or pushy-just " what's going on here, then? What should I, as parent, be doing to help?

littledrummergirl Sat 22-Mar-14 23:49:15

That happened to my ds1 in year 8. He went backwards a level. His teacher said he had struggled with the subject, ds1 said she was a rubbish teacher (and he produced evidence to support this).
He is now yr 9, has a different teacher and is doing the GCSE where he is predicted an A*.
I wouldnt worry too much.

medievaljacqui Sun 23-Mar-14 20:50:32

I really wouldn't worry about NC levels. They're being scrapped anyway. My school is currently piloting assessment without levels, which is tying everyone up in knots as you can imagine!

linney Sun 23-Mar-14 21:29:04

As I said, I don't care about what the level is or what it's called. I just don't want it to be the same for 10 months. Or to have only moved up one very small step in 14 months.

Blu Sun 23-Mar-14 21:42:21

DS's English teacher told me they can plateau for a while while they study different forms of texts.

linney Mon 24-Mar-14 16:36:22

Thank you all very much. I have had a reassuring Emil from his form tutor- but I would be grateful for, particularly teachers', comments on this sentence from the email "Because he came to secondary school with above average levels there is less room for progress".

Any ideas?

fourcorneredcircle Mon 24-Mar-14 16:39:11

It's not a particularly helpful sentence but I would imagine that she means that the higher the level your child is the less rapid progress you could see. So, for example, I teach MFL. Many children make four levels progress in their first year but then maybe only one level each year after that - The work is harder and they require a depth of skill that takes time to really grow so that they can continue upwards?

linney Mon 24-Mar-14 16:49:15

Thank you. The reason I appear to be obsessing about this is that the school has a microscopically small cohort of high attainers, of which ds is one- and I am very keen that he is not allowed to coast, simply because he is doing very well for the school, IYSWIM.

IndieSkies Mon 24-Mar-14 17:09:01

DS is in Yr 8, finished primary on 5a (his school didn't do L6 SATS tests) , and was identified G&T in English in Yr 7.

He has just done a L7 test, but is mostly at 6a. He stayed the same for ages, though.

Keep encouraging your ds to 'read around the subject', and keep checking. I can see your concern if the cohort at his level is small, but presumably as it IS such a small cohort it is in the school's best interests to get the highest results out of the top achievers to keep theier oveall levels up!

summerends Mon 24-Mar-14 18:09:15

linney is it at all possible that he has not been taught the material that would put him up more levels? If his class includes some or a majority of only moderate attainers the teachers may have been consolidating rather than advancing.

linney Mon 24-Mar-14 18:42:14

I think that might be likely, summersend. To be honest, I wouldn't blame the teachers for a second if it is- it's a good school, but it has a very challenging intake- typically less than 11% high attainers. if I was a teacher there I would probably look at ds and think "phew, there's one I don't have to worry about"!

summerends Mon 24-Mar-14 21:48:57

You then face the dilemma of how best he can be extended so that he does n't get into the habit of it all being a bit too easy for him. At least for those subjects he can progress by his reading and with maths challenge type questions outside the taught syllabus.

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