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Is this normal maths for year 7?

(16 Posts)
MuttonDressedAsGoose Tue 13-Oct-15 18:10:31

My son has just started secondary school. In primary - at the end of last year - he was given a trophy for being the best at maths. He was rated a 6 on that assessment thing at the end of year 6. (Forgive me, I'm foreign and don't know what these things are called.)

So today his homework was a sheet of questions like:

"What is 120 + 80?"

"what is half of 90 pence?"

"How many sixes are in 36?"

and the hardest/final question: "In a group of 45 children there are twice as many boys as girls. How many girls are there?"

My son of course found this very easy and finished it quickly.

The school says there is no "seeding" at this stage. Does that mean they don't yet separate them by ability? My son is apparently bright enough to win a cup in year 6 for maths. Anyway, doesn't this seem ridiculously simple for year 7?

Should I be concerned?

MuttonDressedAsGoose Tue 13-Oct-15 18:11:39

Immediately after I posted, my DH messaged to tell me that DS says it's a bit harder in class but he still finds it very easy. Also, they get put into "sets" next week.

Is this just them sorting out who is what ability?

titchy Tue 13-Oct-15 18:28:13

You've just answered your own question!

noblegiraffe Tue 13-Oct-15 18:32:51

No, this is not normal maths for Y7. The school should already have an idea of the ability of the students from SATs results, so giving bright DCs homework like this is a waste of time.

Before setting I would expect homework to be differentiated, so maybe the weakest students would get this homework and the brightest something else, or the worksheet would start with those questions and get progressively harder, so there was something for everyone.

Maybe the teacher thought that the final question was hard enough, but it's not. Perhaps they are inexperienced.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Aigle Tue 13-Oct-15 19:56:26

Similar questions. Definite waste of time.

noblegiraffe Tue 13-Oct-15 19:57:12

They're not always accurate enough for setting, but they are certainly enough to show that that sheet of problems is too easy. This kid got a level 6! That sheet would be ok for a level 3 kid.

MuttonDressedAsGoose Tue 13-Oct-15 20:03:59

This is a relief. I figured it must be a "sorting hat" procedure when I heard that they get put in sets after midterm.

I am anxious to be on top of how he's progressing. He has expressed interest in "being a scientist someday" and I wouldn't want him to be let down by his education. However, the kid may end up doing something entirely different, anyway.

Hypotenuse Tue 13-Oct-15 20:04:32

It sounds like the teacher is struggling with a mixed ability class. It's not Ok for your son to be given that homework. Can you call and speak to the teacher in the first instance?

Aigle Tue 13-Oct-15 20:05:34

I am completely with you giraffe. I don't understand why worksheets of graduated questions/problems are not handed out, and the children do the ones that they are able. That would be feedback for the teachers too. I cannot imagine what they have been doing in the classroom this past month.

MuttonDressedAsGoose Tue 13-Oct-15 20:07:03

I'm not keen to be the one to call and complain. I will if it's absolutely necessary but I want to save my energy for things that really matter. We'll see what's going on when he's been put into his appropriate level.

I'm not at all adverse to tutoring. My son knows that it's likely he'll be tutored in a subject or two if we think he needs stretching or help keeping up with anything.

noblegiraffe Tue 13-Oct-15 20:08:30

If they are being set next week, I wouldn't bother complaining. He should get more appropriate work once he's setted. Hopefully there will be other level 6 students in his class to 'compete' with.

Aigle Thu 15-Oct-15 19:09:16

Is it possible/reasonable to enquire on what the "level average" is of the class? I once asked this at primary and the teacher looked at me like I was asking to see her bank balance.

Noodledoodledoo Sat 17-Oct-15 13:36:39

We used to set for maths at half term and mixed ability teaching does have it's challenges.

We used to set homework which suited all abilities to be able to extend themselves - for example one we do is they are given a number say 25 and then have to come up with questions which make that answer. For low ability its simple questions - for higher ability they can start to use things like powers, square roots, etc

We have now moved the setting to earlier in the term.

Regarding the level average of the class - if they haven't been set this will be a bit pointless at this time - our groups are taught in tutor groups and we have students come to our school with levels from 6 down to below 2 (the level they should be at by the end of yr 2), once set it might be useful but you may find the work ups its level after half term.

pointythings Sat 17-Oct-15 21:14:23

It's not normal homework and it's bad practice - when my DD started in Yr7 everyone was set based on their SATs results and then the sets were amended after half term - quite a lot of changes. Sets are still pretty fluid at the school with significant movement every half term. Even in Yr10 there are shifts in sets regularly. Which is at it should be, because children progress at different rates.

wotafaff Sat 17-Oct-15 21:45:58

Mutton, I started a similar thread a month ago (see here). I raised the issue, and it was quickly rectified. My DC is now getting more challenging work.

Ours is a school that are on a mission to be outstanding at the next inspection, so they're hot on responding to problems. Hopefully you will get a similar response. Every child has a right to be challenged and not have their time wasted.

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