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year 8 and sons levels have gone down !

(12 Posts)
jcash17 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:00:12

We have just had our sons end of year 8 test results he has gone down two levels in science to 4 l down in history two levels 4l and English most worrying to 4s he went from primary a 4a so making no progress the school think it's nothing to worry about his lost focus no behaviour issues have come forward but it's worried me as I know they are not great results I have rang with my concern s but haven't rang me back don't want to seem pushy but don't want him going backwards with no intervention

takeallday Wed 29-Apr-15 11:34:03

I m only a parent. Is the school using new levels?

TeenAndTween Wed 29-Apr-15 12:21:27

A few things to check calmly with them:
- has the grading changed
- has his performance actually got worse, or just his level
- sometimes levels change due to topic change, e.g. great at Physics last year, but poor at biology this term, or more likely great at creative writing last year, poor at poetry this term
- are they concerned, if not why not

Do they give effort scores - what are they like?
Do you think he's lost focus, or is it only his report that's concerning you?

jcash17 Wed 29-Apr-15 14:44:51

Thank you for your reply's I have asked if levels have changed apparently they have not it seems to be just his levels that have gone down on assessments handed in he does quite well ? ! they don't give effort scores they did say it wasn't unusual for teenage boys to loose focus but I have to go through his form tutor who is quite blase I'm quite worried about him dropping levels and not be able to claw his way back up and would not be surprised to see if he started day dreaming through his lesson

PastSellByDate Sat 09-May-15 10:01:24


I'm just a parent and new to this too - but I a've been spending quite a bit of time trying to get my head around secondary report cards and the upcoming changes to GCSE scoring - moving from letter grades to a 1 - 9 scale.

I agree with Takeallday and TeenandTween - I think the first issue is to work out if the school is using similar numbering/ lettering but the meaning is different/ has changed.

You say your son went up to Year 7 as 4a in English/ Maths and if I'm understanding this correctly, he's now Year 8 and has dropped 2 levels (not clear if you mean whole levels or sub-levels) since Y7.

As I said, the GCSE scoring is going over to a 1 - 9 system: -
So in the new numbering system for GCSEs Level 4 = GRADE C at GCSE in old money.

I posted earlier on this about KS3/KS4 flight paths (the examples were using the old NC Level system - i.e. your primary 4A = old GCSE F+. Link to blog about KS3/4 flight paths here: - and just looking at what a C at GCSE would look like in old levels - that would have your DS working at around 5C/5B territory in Year 8. I suppose in theory they should be working at old money NC Level 6c ish by end of Y8 if making good progress (so improving by 2 sub-levels each year) - entry 4a - finishing Y7 at 5b - finishing Year 8 at 6c - so there has been something of a stall - but the school may also be taking into account the changes of content (higher standards) of new GCSE/ etc...

Of course the other question is whether his targets were based on those primary school KS2 SATs 4As or not? Sometimes the in-school testing on moving up day/ first weeks of school is so much radically less than SATs performances that schools alter the targets accordingly.

But just looking at the 'flightpath' for GOOD performance - if you come in from KS2 as 4A - by the end of Y11 at GCSE on GOOD Performance [= 2 sub-levels improvement a year on old NC Level system] that results in a GCSE B- on old system - which kind of looks like low Level 5 on the new OFQUAL 1-9 GCSE scoring system.

So in that light at Y8 to be performing at Level 4 is well on target and potentially exceeding target. What did the school say about how he was working against targets? Was he on target? Exceeding target?

But as the others have suggested you should talk to the school about what system of progress measures they're using and what it means for predicted GCSE outcomes (flight path) end KS4.

I think the general point to raise is that the school have not provided parents with any explanatory notes to interpret the report card and determine how their child is doing against expected targets nationally for that age group.


PastSellByDate Sat 09-May-15 10:08:06

Hi jcash:

as I was closing down tabs on my browser I just saw this: on KS3/KS4 flight paths.

There are a set of 4 tables showing various progress flight paths at a school doing as expected (2 sub-levels a year)/ better than expected/ more than expected/ World class.

Interestingly 5b in Year 8 is spot on (using old NC levels) for expected progress - and as I said that is = to New GCSE level 4 if your school has moved over to the 1-9 score system.


noblegiraffe Sat 09-May-15 13:36:58

I don't think any school in the country will have moved over to the new 1-9 gcse grading system for KS3 yet, the whole thing is a shambles and how the grades will convert is not clear, especially for subjects outside of English and Maths.

You need to talk to the subject teachers, the form tutor won't have a clue.

Charis1 Sat 09-May-15 16:59:52

levels are fairly meaningless, and the idea that they will keep going up is pretty silly really. Your son will not have done the same topics in year 8. If he got 5a in cells in biology in year 7, he will not automatically progress from 4a upwards when he starts on electromagnetic waves in year 8. it is a new topic, he will be starting from 0.

Levels are assessed differently by different teachers, and teachers have to hand in the levels they have been asked for at the end of the year, whether it fits the children or not.

One year I took over a year 8 English class from a south african teacher, who had better things to do than worry about matching stupid levels. She gave me a list of levels for the class, and I duly recorded each child as having the level assigned to them on the list. A couple of weeks later, I went back to my register, turned the list upside down, and applied to each child the level that had fallen by their name by inverting the list. This was a much better fit.

I then rerecorded their starting levels, and reported these as the levels from the list I had been given, which they were. Their targets were then calculated from this.

This is just an example of how meaningless these things are.

Charis1 Sat 09-May-15 17:00:29

sorry, meant he will not automatically start from 5a.....

Charis1 Sat 09-May-15 17:03:33

so, I'm given the starting levels for children at the start of the year, and told they have to increase by two sublevels by the end of the year, no exceptions, not even the children with degenerative brain disorders, so what do I do. I have the following options.

1) tell the truth, that their levels have gone down during the year. ( degenerating brain disorders are no excuse!) - I could be disciplined.

2) Lie, either about the starting levels, or the final ones.

of course, option one, trying to be accurate, has the added disadvantage of taking up hours and hours of my time, for absolutly no benefit to the children what so ever.

ignore these stupid levels, would be my advise.

PastSellByDate Mon 11-May-15 15:29:12

Noblegiraffe/ Charis1:

I totally take on board what you're saying and agree with Charis1 marks or grades (in US speak) for a particular class performance makes more sense than this ever progressing upward Levels system - but I just assumed that was because I'm from a US background.

Here in Birmingham all I can say is state sector seems to be using old school NC Level/ sub-level systems which seem to be progressing ever upwards from primary based on fairly unrepresentative sample of my own and friends kids at state comprehensives, but state grammars here (King Edwards) are clearly either using tougher criteria or have moved to 1-9 scheme because suddenly kids who were far and away top table in primary are scoring lower levels than their KS2 SATs scores.

So we parents - left without any clear explanation - cast about in the dark for something to explain why a child could move down 2 full levels since primary in English and came up with they've moved to the new system. Now maybe that's about making our friends feel better; our inner feeling that there's no way that bright kid at the grammar school should be doing worse than my DD1, who didn't pass the 11+ and is at the state comp; or trying to calm down friends who might go a bit 'Tiger Mum' if they felt their child was falling behind...


Just speaking from a parental perspective, it would really help if schools could signal more clearly how their marking schemes work. I genuinely feel being clear opens up the possiblity that letting parents know there's a problem can result in more parental support at home.

Waiting until end of year reports or worse yet SATs/ GCSEs/ A-Level results really is too late and unfair on those families who are willing & able to help their children improve in whatever subject area. But I accept that we may well be a minority of parents.

takeallday Tue 12-May-15 13:20:25

Op also are these grades just for any particular pieces of works /tests in certain topics? Are these grades for the entire individual subjects? My yr7 dc's grades are all over the places e.g. in English and science started with level 4 then 5 then 3 then 6 again. I think her final year end report will be a better indication. However I know I can always email her teachers if I have any concerns and I have done recently.

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