How can I tell if DD is doing ok, if I doubt the school's new grading system?(relevant for year 10/11 parents?)

(26 Posts)
BurningBridges Mon 07-Mar-16 18:30:12

DD is in year 10 - she started a new school in September 2015 they then adopted a new system on the back of the Government changes. The system they have chosen is hugely complicated. So at her previous school they showed me her predicted grades, and she was C to A* for all subjects. Now I have no idea what so ever. I went in a few weeks ago and saw a couple of teachers and they all said, fairly airily, that she was doing "fine" but I am none the wiser.

There are lots of problems and I suspect they are just saying anything. She's only here for years 10 and 11 but that's the GCSE years so I am worried. How do you assess your child's progress? Do you understand your schools grading system, do you just get a feeling? The school is a UTC so no homework that I can look at to judge. DD says the teaching is appalling, lots of substitute teachers, or those that aren't substitutes aren't bothered, she's getting really worried herself sad

ChalkHearts Mon 07-Mar-16 21:38:03

Does not sound good.

You might have to get a tutor for one or more subjects.

IdaJones Mon 07-Mar-16 21:52:27

This is the new system in my dd's school. www.google.co.uk/search?q=new+gcse+grades&oq=new&aqs=chrome.3.69i57j69i60l2j35i39l2j69i60.2121j0j4&client=ms-android-samsung&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=ZaHgkgTYvuQ-DM%3A

Is that the one in your dd's school? Why doesn't she have hwk?

cricketballs Tue 08-Mar-16 07:27:42

Op; its not that the school have 'adopted' but it has been forced on them due to changes in the GCSE exams

The problem is that no one really knows what a 4, 5, 6, 7 etc looks like so all teachers and every school are in the dark

HesMyLobster Tue 08-Mar-16 08:36:51

Agree with pps - it's not just your dd's school, every school is in the same position with the new grading system.
Nobody really knows how it will work until a couple of years in. Unfortunately, many of our dcs are in the "Guinea pig" cohort.
The link from a pp with the chart which compares the new grades with the old ABC grades should be helpful though.
As I understand it, a grade 4 equates to a low C, 5 is a high C, 6 is a B, 7 is an A, 8 is a low A** star and 9 is a high A star.
That's just roughly, to give you an idea.

The other problems in the school are perhaps worth investigating though - lots of substitute teachers are never a good sign.

They don't have any homework
at all?!
Gosh, don't tell my dcs!
Why is that?

HesMyLobster Tue 08-Mar-16 08:37:53

Sorry - bold messed up there!

JaWellNoFine Tue 08-Mar-16 08:58:27

I don't know but when you find out please share. 😀 DD is Year 10 and 6 & 7's for most things. I too, am at sixes and sevens... In that I haven't got a freaking clue. She is in the lowest sets as is dyslexic.
I ask the school to explain. But they say she's doing fine ? But I don't understand the definition of fine...

Why they cannot just say she is getting a B,C,D whatever?

IdaJones Tue 08-Mar-16 09:07:14

Going by that charts 6s and 7s is about A- B

tiggytape Tue 08-Mar-16 09:35:05

Grade 6's and 7's are the predictions for the top group in our school.

The school are reluctant to predict 8's because that is an A* equivalent and the exams are being made harder and there is more content to learn. So some of those once on track to get an A* may not make it now.

They aren't predicting 9's because that is an A** equivalent and nobody knows what an A** child looks like. Grade 9's will only go to roughly the top 3% of all children who take the exam so, unless a child is truly genius standard and reliably brilliant at exams, nobody can know any particular child will end up in the top 3%

The children once on track to get an A or low A* under the old system are now predicted a 6 or a 7.
Grade 7 is the around the equivalent of an old A grade (in the sense that the % of people who once got a grade A or above will be the same as those who will be awarded a grade 7 or above from next year).

JaWellNoFine Tue 08-Mar-16 09:38:17

And I want so much to believe that grin
But Dd does no work, so if she is on track for A/B, I do question the value/level of work required to acheive a mark like that. When I was at school a tiny percentage got A's. Not kids in the lowest sets who did nothing.

I am not knocking dd but its hmm

tiggytape Tue 08-Mar-16 09:51:10

In 2015 16.5% of all those who took GCSE maths got an A or an A*
So yes it is a reasonable number of students but nothing like quarter let alone a majority.
So if your DD is in the top 15-20% of all pupils taking maths GCSE then she would get the grades she is predicted but even then it is hard to know because the content and format is changing too and will suit some children's strengths and style of working more than others.

Her set is less relevant because that doesn't say anything about how she compares nationally with other children. She might be at a highly selective grammar or independent school where even the 'bottom' group gets A's and B's or at the kind of comp that gets 85%+ all grade C and above.

catslife Tue 08-Mar-16 11:52:31

I have a dd in Y11. It's a different system for grades in Y10 and Y11 as she will be taking the old style exams in Maths and English.
The target grades given at the start of Y10 were changed significantly after mock exams in the Summer term last year as suddenly they were based on actual results rather than projections (based on KS2 and 3 levels). A lot of dcs with high predictions at the start of Y10 were downgraded after these mocks - it isn't possible for pupils to obtain the highest grades and do no work!
dds school do give info about the average result for her year group and the average result expected nationally for her age group so that is how we tell how she is doing. There are also effort grades that indicate whether dcs are putting in the necessary amount of work.

JaWellNoFine Tue 08-Mar-16 12:39:25

Thanks for the responses. We have parents evening tonight so we shall ask the questions.

mimbleandlittlemy Tue 08-Mar-16 13:04:04

This is Ofqual's diagram which you might find it helpful:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/377768/2014-09-12-grading-the-new-gcses-in.pdf

ChalkHearts Tue 08-Mar-16 14:00:56

Ja - I bet they mean level 6 or 7 as opposed to GCSE 6 or 7.

If she was a 6 at the end of Y9 she'd be on track for an old C.

But don't expect a straight answer as to how your dyslexic child is doing. You'll never ever get one.

They haven't got any way to help her. So they tell you she's fine because then you won't ask for extra help.

BurningBridges Tue 08-Mar-16 21:32:29

Op; its not that the school have 'adopted' but it has been forced on them due to changes in the GCSE exams - their system is not like the ones you have described above, my other DD is in year 8 different school, and her grades are not like the ones above, nor the ones for DD1.

why? Is it because they are independent schools? Do all the posters above understand what each other is saying and its just me? hmm!!

BurningBridges Tue 08-Mar-16 21:34:25

There is no homework as its a University Technical college (UTC) so they have a school day of 8.30 to 4.30.

BertrandRussell Wed 09-Mar-16 08:51:14

If it's a private school they may well have their own assessment system unique to the school- you'll have to ask the school about it. Is there anything on the website?

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 09-Mar-16 08:56:49

Amazed at no homework DD is in year 7 and is at school 8.30 to 4pm and has at least 6 hours a week homework.

IdaJones Wed 09-Mar-16 09:17:29

If your dd will be taking GCSEs then presumably they will have the same 1 - 9 grading as everywhere else, regardless of the school's internal grading system so you could ask what her predicted GCSE grades are?

Noodledoodledoo Wed 09-Mar-16 19:57:58

Schools have had to create their own methods of measuring progress - the government have removed any kind of standardised one for all secondary schools.

Current Yr 10 will be sitting the new style GCSE's in English and Maths so will get a grade of 9-1 with 9 being the best. All other GCSE will be A*-G grades.

Current Yr 9 most other subjects will be moving to 9-1 gradings.

These gradings are different to the levels you may be used to from Primary school - so a level 4 at Primary is not the same as a 4 at GCSE! That would make some kind of sense at least!

As someone else said - teachers are in the dark a lot as well!

As a pp said I would say the high level of substitute teachers is a bigger concern.

BurningBridges Wed 09-Mar-16 23:29:10

I'm in the South East apparently there is a massive crisis in secondary school recruitment, no one is teaching their subject, e.g., year 10 DD has a media studies teacher teaching maths (and he's shite too). Other DD in year 8 have never had a maths teacher for more than 6 weeks - they currently have a substitute lady who is very kindly but apparently says to them I'm sorry dears I can't teach maths but I will always try to help you as they struggle through photocopied worksheets.

Stillunexpected Wed 09-Mar-16 23:58:05

That presumably is also why DS2 has an Italian teacher with very heavily accented English teaching him German from PowerPoint presentations. He doesn't seem to have learned a thing all year. You're right, it's rubbish.

ChalkHearts Thu 10-Mar-16 05:59:55

UTCs look good in the prospectus but I think unfortunately they have all been a bit of a disaster.

Because they're aimed at 'non-academic' Y10s. And if you do want to do well in the traditional subjects, all the stories I've heard, are they are a disaster.

I think you should seriously think what you're going to do. Either move her back to her old school. Or get her tutors. But I would not rely on this school to get her through GCSEs.

Is the technical part of it living up to expectations? Is she getting some good practical lessons which feed into what she wants to do for a job?

BurningBridges Thu 10-Mar-16 17:50:40

Nope. sad - its all crap. The only thing that she has gained is that the pressure is off (she couldn't cope with previous school) and now she has friends (first time really) - I'd rather get a tutor than take that away from her. But definitely, there are few good UTCs the rest are just window dressing.

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