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Target levels at Year 7 (again!)

(10 Posts)
Kerchoff Mon 03-Oct-16 13:41:02

As a scientist, I can never get to grips with the pseudo-science that is educational assessment, which seems to be so complex and labyrinthine that nobody actually understands it.

After only a few days in school, my son had target attainment grades given to him. I fail to see how such a short period of time - certainly no more than two weeks and so just a few lessons, permits any meaningful assessment to take place. In one case, the target appears to have been set after just one exercise, which is ludicrous.

Is the super-early target-setting a symptom of political pressure, and in practice, I wonder what existing teachers out there have to say about the nature of those pressures.

schoolphone Mon 03-Oct-16 13:48:40

My understanding is that GCSE targets are set on their KS2 SATS. Therefore they can be set on day one at secondary.The secondary school have no choice in these and they are measured on the progress between the KS2 results and GCSE for all subjects. For example PE/drama/textiles GCSE results are also targeted based on maths and reading results at KS2. This is not the fault of the schools.

TeenAndTween Mon 03-Oct-16 14:00:25

There's targets and targets.

Schools are measured on progress between KS2 SATs and GCSE results.

DD's school gives (or used to give at least) ey9 targets after term 1 y7, but will adjust those over time if needed
Then it gives predicted GCSE grades during y10 & y11, based on current attainment and attitude. The official 'target' grades only get mentioned in passing.

There were also the FFT expectations based on y7 CATs, but we were told to ignore them!

eyebrowsonfleek Mon 03-Oct-16 17:59:59

Our school sets a Minimum Destination Grade based on KS2 SATs and CAT tests taken in first week of y7.
The setting of targets is politically driven so that politicians can create league tables and criticise teachers when children don't achieve what a computer program predicted.

RaspberryIce Mon 03-Oct-16 20:04:08

Yes, it's imposed on the school by the government. When dd got her reports in year 7 i looked at her Attitude to Learning grades for each subject (behaviour, homework etc) to make sure she was behaving/remembering equipment and making an effort and i looked at the grades she had achieved, but i didn't take much notice of the targets. Dd got a high target for PE based on her maths and English KS2 Sats, despite not being able at PE, so i saw no point in taking notice of the target and instead looked at Attitude To Learning grades for the subject.

Kerchoff Tue 04-Oct-16 10:26:23

Many thanks for the interesting responses so far.

There was a response saying "this isn't the schools's fault", but I haven't stated that it is. I'm hoping they will be honest and give their own view on targets when they reply to my enquiry.

Targets set on KS2 results might seem sensible, except that we know a friend who has a much lower welsh grade at KS2 end than our kid, but a very much higher KS3 end target. No, it's not a petty competition, my point is about the consistency that is meant to arise from KS2 testing results, but there doesn't seem to be much.

The other point often missed by so many schools is that if they explained the target setting process to parents online or as part of the river of paperwork that flows, rather than seeing families as irrelevant, then they could avoid answering individual letters!

littlequestion Tue 04-Oct-16 12:14:04

How do targets work? Do they take an average of maths and reading SATS scaled score? What happens if a child got 120 for maths, say, and 102 for reading?

Lilly948204 Tue 04-Oct-16 12:45:13

I'm a teacher (and a scientist) and I agree the target setting system is ridiculous. It is mostly based on KS2 data from primary schools which can be unreliable, can be completely missing - in which case they just assign them a random target for GCSE and most frustratingly for teachers everything is taken from Maths and English based tests. So their targets for music, science, French, P.E etc all comes from how well they did at English and Maths in primary school. Unfortunately as teachers we have very little say over any of this. Different schools do use slightly different systems to determine the targets and may use different organisations who take other things into account as well, this is just one example

Lilly948204 Tue 04-Oct-16 12:50:30

I see kids with completely unrealistic targets they will never reach, and those with targets way too low. I find those with too low targets will get them adjusted higher as they make progress, but I've never seen a target lowered to a more appropriate level if it was originally set too high.

Longlost10 Tue 04-Oct-16 13:50:12

As a scientist, I can never get to grips with the pseudo-science that is educational assessment, which seems to be so complex and labyrinthine that nobody actually understands it.


targets are largely meaningless and ridiculous

they generate hours of work for teachers, calculating them, identifying them, statistically analysing them, comparing them, explaining them, classifying them, excusing them, .....

It would not be unusual to spend more time working on a set of class targets than in teaching, planning for and marking for the class.

I once "accidentally" inverted a whole list of targets passed on by a previous teacher, as I felt they fitted the class list better upside down.

In the end, they were one of the reasons I left teaching. specifically being called to account when one class exceeded their targets slightly, apparently I needed to attend inset on setting targets better.

I told my DC to ignore their targets, and said look, if a teacher is working hard on teaching and assessing you and giving you feedback, by definition, they will not have time to dedicate to writing and setting brilliant targets.

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