Level for Science in Year 8

(24 Posts)
fatmumma Sat 27-Jun-15 21:03:43

Just had DD end of year progress check, in all subjects she doing really well (and by that she is hitting a level 7 in maths), with the exception of science where she she got a level 4. she is bottom set and tells me she isn't getting the opportunity to work as others are messing around. I get the feeling that the teacher is just doing crowd control and not getting a lot of teaching done. - Have emailed the school

Advice please

catlovingdoctor Sat 27-Jun-15 21:07:09

Just wanted to say make sure you chase them up and stay on top of it. My science at school suffered because of teachers having to spend their time controlling other kids instead of actually teaching. Also it's worth pointing out science at this stage is very broad; she may be interested in biology-type topics but not necessarily physics or chemistry, or vice versa. Just give her support at home to make sure she understands topics, and keep on top of the school.

fatmumma Sat 27-Jun-15 21:17:53

What year do they split the sciences into physics, biology, chemistry? She says she loves physics, guess it works well with her maths brain but so keen on the other two sciences.

catlovingdoctor Sat 27-Jun-15 21:22:27

They usually split them into 3 sciences from Yr 9. (At my school anyhow). It's good she's more motivated about physics, that was my worst science and having appalling teachers didn't help. So it's good she's already naturally strong with that.

fatmumma Sat 27-Jun-15 21:38:11

Thanks cat - hope DDs split the sciences in y9, hopefully she will then be able to get back on track

catlovingdoctor Sun 28-Jun-15 18:51:11

No worries, but please do keep on top of it. I went to an "outstanding" school my arse and the provision for chemistry & physics teaching from years 9-10 were abysmal! I'd have done a lot better with decent teaching so just make sure keep on top of the school and maybe look into getting a tutor if she needs one down the line.

fatmumma Sun 28-Jun-15 18:57:57

thanks cat - just wondering if it is "normal' for a pretty able child like my DD to be in bottom set in science and getting a level 4 in y8 when she is getting levels 5 and 6 in most other subjects with the exception or maths where she got level 7?? Okay science may not be here thing, but doesn't seem right to me

lbnblbnb Sun 28-Jun-15 19:01:46

If she is level 7 in Maths, I don't understand how she can be in bottom set for Science. Even if she is doing really badly on Science, her level in Maths shows that she has the ability, so it should be an intervention issue not a moving-her-down issue. I would be making an appointment to see her head of year/the head of Science.

lbnblbnb Sun 28-Jun-15 19:05:15

A level 4 is just secondary ready at the end of year 6 - do you know what she got then in English and Maths? The Science level at the end of year 6 isn't seen as reliable because so few junior schools have specialist Science teachers. It sounds like she might have made no progress in two years of secondary school. I would be asking why they hadn't contacted me before if she was underachieving so badly.

GreenBoatRedBoat Sun 28-Jun-15 19:11:03

Definitely flag this up. I'm a science teacher and level 4 in year 8 is very low, compared to a level 7 in maths. Has it come from a written report or something? I'd be concerned that either the maths or science teacher have recorded the wrong level. What level did they get in year 6? They should be making progress. Did you have a recorded level in year 7?

fatmumma Sun 28-Jun-15 19:14:37

thanks lbnblbnb - i've just started a separate thread to see if any advice from science teachers.

At parents evening i had a discussion with her teacher regarding this, but DD has just told me she has left and she has a new teacher... aarggh

Her current English level is 5 and maths current level 7.

lbnblbnb Sun 28-Jun-15 19:18:32

Can you dig out info on what she got at key stage 2 (end of year 6) - it might even be on the report you are talking about as it used as a benchmark? I am a senior teacher and mum and I would be really concerned.

fatmumma Sun 28-Jun-15 19:29:25

sorry lbnblbnb, i didn't realise. Paperwork is now being dug out... back soon

fatmumma Sun 28-Jun-15 19:30:42

thanks Greenboatredboat - am digging out paperwork now

fatmumma Sun 28-Jun-15 19:42:38

no SATs result for science for Y6, but 5b at end of Y7!

what would you reasonably expect from a child who is hitting level 7 in maths? Just so I am armed angry

lbnblbnb Sun 28-Jun-15 21:46:08

Science and Maths levels tend to be similar. If English is very different, that might affect Science. But her English is a 5? And Science was higher at end of year 7 than now? So the school appears to be saying that she has gone backwards....
There may have been a mistake - but I would want an explanation either way.

fatmumma Sun 28-Jun-15 21:57:27

yep, that is exactly what the school is saying that she has gone backwards in science. She has told me she wants to learn, but not given the opportunity. - At parents evening, her maths teacher commented that DD had gone to her in break and asked her to explain something that she didn't understand and she hardly ever meets kids in Y8 with same dedication. DD wants to learn... grrrrrr

I know she is weaker in English than Maths, her logical mind can't cope with English! She prefers Maths as the answer is either right or wrong and not open to interpretation like it is in English.

Going back to the sciences, she says she prefers physics and given her strength in maths, that is no surprise.

Have now emailed school to discuss with head of science....

MNHubbie Mon 29-Jun-15 15:31:17

I would.

OK. Head of Science here and I'm fuming.

What the hell sort of tracking does this school have? A slide back like this doesn't happen overnight so why is this the first time you're hearing about this? What interventions have been put in place? What barriers to learning are causing the difference between maths and science?

Questions to ask: what assessment FOR learning strategies do you employ?

How frequently do you employ AFL and what follow up is there?

What interventions have been put in place?

Has DIRT time been given?

Ask to see all the tracking.

How to they explain the negative value added?

If the class is rowdy what strategies have been put in place to support the teacher?

Has the Head of Science observed this class with this teacher (I wouldn't ask the judgement just if they have)?

Millymollymama Mon 29-Jun-15 15:32:35

If she has made no progress in Science, and in fact gone backwards, I would expect the school to be extremely concerned. It would be interesting to know if anyone else in that class has made decent progress? If they are all standing still, it could be down to really poor teaching. Stabilising science teaching should be the priority here. Chemistry does involve maths too so I would ask how is getting on in that subject. If she is so far behind, she will struggle to catch up in year 9. I would ask the school how they intend to accelerate her learning so she has a decent shot at GCSEs.

fatmumma Mon 29-Jun-15 16:38:48

Thank you so much for your replies, heard nothing from school. Phoned after I finished work (4pm) and left a message as H of Science in faculty meeting... Waiting his phone call back..... fuming doesn't even cover it...

Will keep you posted

FriendlyLadybird Mon 29-Jun-15 17:14:33

Are they using the same levels for all subjects? It's just that in my DS's school they still give the old national curriculum levels in Maths, but have introduced their own levels from one to six in all other subjects. It confused me no end when I first got his progress report.

fatmumma Mon 29-Jun-15 18:12:07

I don't think so ladybird - just an A4 sheet with all subjects listed with corresponding levels at end of y7 and now end of y8

PastSellByDate Tue 30-Jun-15 16:28:41

Hi Fatmumma

I am just a parent but I totally get that you'd like to understand what your child's levels now would equate to at GCSE. [basically that was my response to Dd1's end of Term report card in Dec 2014]

Of course the whole issue is further complicated because the government is changing how GCSE's are marked from 2017 they will be on a 1-9 scale. The government has produced this handy comparison of OLD MONEY GCSE letter grades vs. new 1-9 levels www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/377768/2014-09-12-grading-the-new-gcses-in.pdf

From what I can gather the old 'C' grade will be split between Level 4 and Level 5 - but the government is strongly signalling they'd like the new benchmark to be a level 5 (therefore a higher bar - criteria of curriculum content are being raised to be more in line with international standards).

There's been a lot of discussion of how pupil's progress and with the strongest possible health warning that there can be good and bad years, pupils don't evenly progress week after week, but might have sudden breakthroughs, etc.... have a look at this discussion on 'flight paths': chrishildrew.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/tracking-progress-over-time-flight-paths-and-matrices/

If you scroll down you'll find 4 tables that have old NC Levels by year and you can see how that might work out for GCSE grades at various qualities of school: schools with pupils making expected progress/ better than expected progress/ outstanding progress/ world class progress.

In short a Level 7 at Year 8 seems to be 'on track' for an A at GCSE, with an A* very possible, although it may only happen with that bit of added effort.

Level 4 in Science has your DD on track for a C grade at GCSE (or the new equivalent) - I agree with advice others have raised with you that speaking with the school. I think the only thing I would add is it may be helpful to find out whether pupils are moved into different sets during the school year or if sets are only considered once a year? Either way it seems to me that you need to persuade your DD it is in her interest to absolutely shine in science (including biology & chemistry) so that she can escape these bottom set blues and really do physics at a challenging level.


lbnblbnb Wed 01-Jul-15 18:28:55

PastSellByDate - you are right about the replacement of levels, but I think that a school would do that across the board, not only in Science. There is going to be so much confusion once the new levels are introduced.

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