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Academic Review (Year 7 progress report)

(22 Posts)
KentonArcher Wed 10-Dec-14 09:27:42

Hi - I'm new to the boards and am after a bit of advice from seasoned readers of Secondary School reports please! This is all new to me - DS1 started in September this year.

We've just received his report, ahead of the meeting with his tutor which is due to take place tomorrow. I realise I can discuss all this with her tomorrow and of course I will, but wonder whether anyone has any words of wisdom in the meantime.

DS1 was one of only a handful of children to go up to this school but took the change very well and has, in my opinion, embraced the new challenge and responsiblity. He loves the fact that the classes/subjects are now so different and seemed, to me anyway, to be trying very hard with all homework and class work.

However, his report is showing a number of 3s for attitude; they score from 1 to 5 (1 being the highest) and the school states that attitude is governed by factors such as learning effort, participation, quality and quantity of work produced, standards of homework, presentation, organisation and behaviour.

He is always well behaved but somewhat shy so probably doesn't participate terribly well in lessons. He also has dreadful handwriting and even when trying very hard, seems to produce somewhat scruffy work....

I know he's going to be very disppointed with these scores, even though his assessments and actual work is fine - what more can he do to improve his "attitude", that he's not already doing? Does he just need to come to the teacher's attention more often? He scored very highly in his Maths (against SAT levels) but still got a 2 for attitude - does this mean he could do even better??!

Sorry, I don't really know what I'm asking - should I just recognise that this is the first term and things can and obviously will change? The school seem to make a big thing of this attitude score and have stated that he is only just in the "good" for his average score and that if he slips, it will affected his ability to reach his progress targets.

But can a poor, shy handwriter improve??

LittleRedRidingHoodie Wed 10-Dec-14 09:28:43

You need to ask the teacher. And be prepared for their answer. It's highly unlikely he would get a low score for attitude based on simply being shy or having poor handwriting.

KentonArcher Wed 10-Dec-14 09:32:01

Okay, thanks. Yes, of course, I'll ask the teacher.

isitsnowingyet Wed 10-Dec-14 09:41:28

Kids are marked a lot harder in secondary school. As long as your son is enjoying school and is engaged in lessons and doing his homework - I would be very happy with that.

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 10-Dec-14 09:58:27

At my son's school, they get rated 1-4 (1 highest) for things like effort, organisation, homework on time, etc, and 2 is simply "as expected", so maybe that's what 3 means at your son's school? Not that he's got a bad attitude, just that he hasn't had much chance to show an amazingly good attitude yet?

JWIM Wed 10-Dec-14 10:06:53

OP you need to ask for the descriptors that meet each mark on the progress report. As Atia says my DS's school use 1-4 and 2 is 'as expected' meaning for that child so DS gets mainly 2s, a sprinkling of 1s and some 3s. We focus on the 3s as that is where he needs to improve (in DS's case mainly remembering to write down/complete/hand in homework).

With the explanations for what each grading mean you may have a more productive conversation with tutor. If 3 is ''as expected' then your DC seems to have settled in to secondary school - but the tutor should flesh that out.

catslife Wed 10-Dec-14 10:07:55

The trouble is that every school will have a different system. Somewhere it should be written down what theses levels actually mean. This may be in your child's planner, parent's handbook or on the school website.
At dds school there are levels for Behaviour and Effort as well as the standard of the work.
It could be that his handwriting and low participation in class have been misinterpreted. It could be that he is still settling into school and doesn't take the correct books or equipment to lessons etc.
However if this still doesn't sound like your child please ask. dd was once mortified to receive a level 3 for effort in one of her favourite subjects. This seemed very harsh as she had only handed in one piece of homework late. When we asked at the parents evening, it turned out that the teacher had made a mistake and this grade was for another child with a similar name.
The teacher was rather embarrassed.
It's still early days and the teachers are still getting to know your child so no need to worry too much yet.

KentonArcher Wed 10-Dec-14 10:50:53

Thank you everyone for your responses. I will indeed get this clarified with the teacher tomorrow. Of course he's not perfect and there will always be areas he can improve upon, hopefully it will all become clearer tomorrow.

I just don't want to see him penalised for not "putting his hand up" - feedback we've received about him all through his school life so far!

pharoahinthebath Wed 10-Dec-14 11:20:38

My eldest is in yr 7 and we've been told they'll be 'marked down' for not participating well enough in lessons - something dd1 has always had levelled at her throughout primary school!
Personally I think it's a bit silly - would they rather she was disruptive?

JWIM Wed 10-Dec-14 11:59:04

OP in my experience of two children at secondary school - there is an aspect of learning that does require children to participate in lessons. So not 'putting your hand up' is likely to be marked negatively. It is one way that teachers can assess how your DC is learning. What can you and school do to support your DC to participate - particularly given this is something that you have been aware of during primary too?
Pharoah what is silly about participating in a lesson? Presumably those that do in your DD's lessons follow the conventions set by the teacher ie hand up, or small groups contributing to discussion in turn etc - it does not have to be disruptive.

KentonArcher Wed 10-Dec-14 12:02:51

What can you and school do to support your DC to participate - particularly given this is something that you have been aware of during primary too?

This is perhaps something that needed to be pointed out to me... of course I should be trying to help him participate ...! Will have a think on this one, thank you.

pharoahinthebath Wed 10-Dec-14 12:12:28

not saying it's silly to participate or that by participating a child is being disruptive - just silly to be marked down as having a bad attitude.

earlychristmas Wed 10-Dec-14 12:23:02

I also think the first term they are marked a bit lower than the other terms. Just my experience from 2 dc

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 10-Dec-14 12:26:28

Ah! JWIM has said exactly what I would have said - right down to what you can do, given that it's a longstanding issue.

It is very difficult, I know, to persuade a child to overcome the fear of looking foolish in class - but putting up his hand is the surest way for his teachers to see how he's coping with the lesson. Have you told him this?

You could also point out that if he isn't sure of an answer then it may be because something hasn't been explained in a way that's helpful to him - so getting the wrong answer shows the teacher exactly what needs to be explained better.

What we have found "works" is to coax the child to challenge himself. "I will put up my hand 3 times in every lesson, even if I'm not sure ..."

Once they see how much more involved it enables them to be in class they can lose a little of the fear.

catslife Wed 10-Dec-14 13:25:32

From a teacher's perspective not participating in lessons could mean many things (apart from shyness). It could also mean the child is not interested or that they don't understand the subject matter for example.
For some subjects such as MFL and English: pupils may be assessed on the basis of speaking and listening so it will make assessment more difficult too.
It could be as others have already said that the 3 just means that your child's attitude level is average and within the expectations.
In my earlier post when I mentioned my child's effort level, I didn't mention that 3 was the lowest level and there were 1s for all the other subjects.

GooseyLoosey Wed 10-Dec-14 13:38:20

Would add in relation to the maths, that some teachers rarely if ever give a 1. My son got a 2 for maths last year. It is a subject he loves and is good at. I expressed my surprise to the teacher who explained that he only gave a 1 where a child had gone way beyond what he expected them to do in someway not where they had just worked really hard. Once I understood that I was completely happy. Maybe part of the issue is that you need to see how the school come to the effort grades.

I have to say, I have always found them a little arbitrary. I have one, quiet average child who works really hard and always does her homework without me prompting and one bright outgoing child who is as lazy as they come. The lazy bright outgoing one gets great marks for effort and the shy, average hard working one gets average ones. The teachers just judge what they can see and have no means of assessing the actual ammount of effort that goes into stuff.

We try very hard with the shy one to make sure that she engages more and have made great progress. We have raised it with the school and they have helped to find her ways to engage and feel more confident. She really is improving. I would talk to the school about what they can do to improve his engagement as participation is an important life skill.

Notinaminutenow Wed 10-Dec-14 14:36:34

Sounds like your DS is doing very well academically but just needs to give a teeny bit more of himself in lessons. It's tough but it can be learned.

My sometimes shy y7 DS got a mix of A's & B's for effort (marked from A to D) plus 1 C.

Upon chatting about it the lessons he got A for were the ones in which he contributed more to group discussions, helped peers, praised peers, entered competitions etc. He likes the teachers and he enjoys the lessons. The B's - gives him somewhere to go (and I suspect as he can be a bit of dreamer, he may check out of those lessons on occasion).

The C (PSHCE) was from a teacher "who hates me!" She is a hard marker, strict and according to my boy she favours the girls as none of them got C for her lesson but 9 boys did. Who knows?

At my DS's school all this info is shared on line with the whole class, so my DS knows the effort marks, behaviour logs, merits and attendance percentages for everyone in his class! How school has changed!

We try to remind him from time to time to make the most of lessons and contribute. It's not about getting the answer correct, it's about engaging. His school are all over Dweck's Growth Mindset teachings & building resilience.

School is increasingly a dance and the children just have to learn the moves. Sad but true.

Oh and my boy has very poor handwriting - he scored A for English! It's not about handwriting necessarily. His, frankly inspirational, English teacher never mentions it, ever. His DT teacher is always banging on about it - she scored him a B.

Good luck OP & well done to your DS.

nostress Wed 10-Dec-14 19:12:32

Teacher here. I give 3s to pupils who 1) Have not followed instructions 2) Have only written a sentence when a paragraph was required 3) Have answered questions starting 'Because...' 4) If I have to write any of the following phrases in their book 'Title?', 'Date?', 'Underline title and date', 'stick your sheets in', 'why are your sheets still not stuck in?', 'I can't find the cw/hw sheet!'....I don't mind about scruffy handwriting as mine is awful so I'm not one to criticise!

PiqueABoo Wed 10-Dec-14 20:58:35

Y7 DD is a very vocal chatterbox at home but a relatively reserved child in class, so has been underrated and underestimated by more than half her teachers to date (jury is still out on secondary).

I assume that is because they are a bit thick and believe in shallow stereotypes based on overdosing on Big Brother etc., not least because the teachers who haven't done that were all much brighter and more seasoned types.

DD currently has a little mission to put her hand up in class more, but it's hoop-jumping to compensate for faulty adults. I think there's only so much you can do about this and punishing children for a quieter, serious nature really isn't very 'inclusive'.

JellyMould Wed 10-Dec-14 21:21:29

Agreed that participation is an important life skill and it's worth encouraging you child to do this. I say this as someone who was a very quiet child and has had to learn team working skills relatively late in life.

Notinaminutenow Thu 11-Dec-14 12:21:08

DD currently has a little mission to put her hand up in class more, but it's hoop-jumping to compensate for faulty adults. I think there's only so much you can do about this and punishing children for a quieter, serious nature really isn't very 'inclusive'.

Well said Pique

pharoahinthebath Thu 11-Dec-14 14:05:43

Yes PiqueABoo - my y7 DD is like that too. The teacher I have most respect for (from primary school days) - was the one who said to me about her 'she's quiet in class but not shy' and I thought wow, someone with a bit of insight!

Then on the other end of the spectrum there was the teacher who more or less admitted in parents evening that she'd barely noticed DD all year...

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