Very concerning Year 7 Progress Report(13 Posts)
So DS1 has had his first progress report at Year 7. On the upside he is doing well in a few subjects....on the massive downside he is down 5 sub-levels in English. How is this even humanly possible in the space on one term???!!! He has always been an excellent reader with good comprehension and vocab. He is, however, terrible at handwriting and his overall presentation skills are woefull.
We have worked on this all throughout primary school with very little impact and I am all out of ideas on ways on help him. I have emailed his teacher to ask for clarification on what has happened.
Anyone have any ideas of ways I can help him improve his writing and presentation at this stage? Do you think the school will be able to help as his primary school didn't help him at all.
Thanks. I thought it might be an error. Its astoundingly poor if not! Very difficult to get him to practice..involves tears and door slamming. Although we will try of course.
I had this query from the parent of a y7 I taught. His progress check level was based on an assessment piece they had written for me, and they knew it would be. So when this boy decided not to use paragraphs, or punctuate properly, or use capital letters or check his spelling, he ended up with a very poor level compared to the end of Year 6. His mum was raging, but I explained what the level was based on and she accepted it. I can only mark what's on the page in front of me!
I just wonder the worth of assessing on one bit of work then. Or the worth of passing that info onto parents without explanation.
You need to check with the school how they get to the level and how they assess. I teach Y6 and I made mine do a "cold write" (as in, they haven't practised the text type or the features and we haven't gone through anything, they just get the task and write) this week. The majority did ok and within expectation, although it clearly wasn't their best work. We also did an independent writing task linked to our current focus and most of them completed that rather well, clearly working towards their target level. I get their writing level from a whole range of sources, but tend to only incorporate independent writing. If they only got assessed based on one piece, then their result might depend on how they felt that day or on how much they were able to engage with the task.
There will be days when children struggle to do their best. There will also be children, who don't bother. I had two this week, who couldn't be bothered to include capital letters and full stops. They didn't write enough to even pretend to create a paragraph. If I had to give the level they have achieved on that particular piece, they'd struggle to get to the Level 3...let alone the Level 5 they are supposed to get to. Lucky for them, they do about 15-20 of assessed pieces per term.
There is no worth in levelling a single piece of work and then say that the child is working at that level. It shouldn't happen, but many schools misuse levels in this way.
I'd contact the school to query if it was an error. When I'm typing levels into SIMs I do try to check them but it would be quite easy for a typo to slip through.
Thanks. This is all really helpful. I now know what questions to ask and I feel less hysterical.
Whilst I agree with you noble; with the terminal exams now in place for GCSE this is the case for 16 year olds
You have to write more than one essay for your terminal exam! Besides, GCSE exams come with comprehensive mark schemes linked to grading criteria, with grade boundaries which are adjusted according to the national picture and the difficulty of the exam. The student is then allocated a single whole grade.
A teacher marking 30 year y7 essays and giving them sublevels is basically licking their finger and sticking it in the wind. A book at the end of the pile might be more likely to get a good sublevel if it's half-decent and the rest are crap than if the same essay had been marked at the beginning of the pile. Or if the teacher is drinking while marking
I'm sorry that there were a few disappointments on your DS's report - but it is just his first and there is all sorts of time & scope for improvement. Genuinely.
One thing I've been working with DD1 (also Y7) on is getting her to appreciate that homework isn't busy work/ finishing off stuff you didn't do in class as quickly as you can/ etc... - homework is practice/ consolidation/ preparation for testing/ assessment.
So I'd also ask the teacher about their impression of your DC's effort on English homework. If it is all coming in sloppy/ full of punctuation mistakes & misspellings - this can also lead to a general impression that ability is low.
I suspect if he put in a bit of extra effort on English writing homework & written reports for other subjects and really works on legibility/ spellings/ punctuations there - I suspect he'll find his performance assessments will start to radically improve.
My DS has dyspraxia which means that although he is an avid reader, his handwriting is very messy and slow and he has trouble with presentation and order. Many schools offer special provisions for dyspraxic children. Not sure if this is relevant for you but maybe worth checking out?
Thanks again. He has spent ages on homework today and is trying harder at the moment. I had considered dyspraxia but to be honest I think it's more laziness and inattention. He can do it when he concentrates. Frustrating child!
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