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Setting assessments

(8 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:03:15

My son has scribing in maths in his EHCP. He is in a brick school in year 7 now but last year was at internet school. He is high ability ASD so last year would have scribing for multi-function complex stuff like simulations equations, surface area and volume of cylinders etc (he was working at year 9 level).

Now he is doing simple stuff and has not needed a scribe so far. Then today, for the first time, he had a a scribe in the setting assessment. He wasn’t allowed to write anything. The TA challenged everything and he was not able to complete the paper. He is supposed to have extra time but the TA ‘forgot’. He was really upset.

Does scribing have to be 100% or just when needed. I thought support was meant to help not hinder sad

noblegiraffe Mon 16-Oct-17 19:45:46

I know that students who use a word processor can mix and match, so answer some questions by handwriting and some by typing so it would make send if the same applied to a scribe for maths, although I would guess it depends on the reason for the scribe. If it's because his handwriting is illegible, then it would make no sense for him to write any of it.

The TA challenging stuff and forgetting his extra time sounds crap. I would email the school and make sure they know to disregard this assessment as his access arrangements were not implemented properly and to set him based on teacher assessment + KS2 scores (I'd have thought he'd be a straightforward top set assignment based on the work you say he has covered).

I would also ask to clarify the expectations of a scribe.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 17-Oct-17 10:49:48

DS2's handwriting is not illegible. He doesn't have a scribe in other lessons but he is supposed to have a scribe in maths because he doesn't write down his workings. This was a factor last year when he was doing complex and multipart calculations as he would get muddled when he tried to do it all in his head and he was expected to write out each stage rather than just give the final answer.

So far this year he has being doing really basic stuff and the pace of work has been slow and so he has not to record much or become overly fatigued. The EHCP specifies that he receives scribing 'as required' and the practice before he joined the school was that he would chose whether or not he wanted to write himself and would only have a scribe when he was flagging or resisting writing further.

I have looked at the JCQ guidance which stresses that a scribe must be 'the normal way of working' but it doesn't say that the student cannot chose to complete all or part of the assessment themselves, even if a scribe has been provided. Does this mean that it is discretionary? His normal way of working is/should be to write some of the time and have a scribe some of the time.

He didn't do KS2 SATS as he was studying the secondary curriculum at internet school during year 6. There are other complications. His EHCP specifies full time 1:1 which the school say can be delivered by the class TA. Except the top set doesn't have a class TA. The school have suggested that he would be better in the bottom set as the class is smaller and this class does have TA support. The head has actually said that it is more important for him to 'learn' to work independently even if this means he does not achieve in line with his ability. Not only did he not have 25% extra time as a result of having to dictate to a scribe he actually had less time as he was taken to the library after the assessment had already started! I fear this will be a perfect 'excuse' to justify putting him in the bottom set. Cognitive assessment of NVR put him on the 99.3rd percentile FFS!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 17-Oct-17 12:42:01

I’ve just checked with the LA. Students can absolutely choose to write sections or all of an assessment. A scribe should be available to provide support if required/requested but they cannot refuse to let a student write for themselves or demand explanations and extra time has to be provided where scribing is delivered as not doing so significantly disadvantages the student. Also, it is specified on his EHCP that he is entitled to extra time if he chooses to write for himself. They advised that I request resit - especially as this is an internal assessment. Thanks for your advice noble - it gave me the confidence to dig deeper smile

noblegiraffe Tue 17-Oct-17 12:42:31

If he has an EHCP and it specifies 1-1 then absolutely don’t be fobbed off with a move to the bottom set so that the school can save money on TAs. The EHCP brings funding and he should get that TA on top set if that’s where he is mathematically. It sounds like you have a fight on your hands and posting in the SEN section for advice would probably be useful as there are experts there.

However, I’m a bit confused about why he needs a scribe for maths if he doesn’t need a scribe for other subjects and his handwriting is fine. What is stopping him writing his own working out down?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 17-Oct-17 13:04:00

Noble - he point blank refuses to proceed by stages and show his working. He can’t see the point when he has already calculated the final answer because to him it is obvious that eg x must be 2 and y must be 3. He obsesses about this and gets stuck in a pissed off mindset. To then get him to prove the answer by substituting numbers for letters is painful. But this isn’t even an issue with the work he is doing at the moment and will only become a problem when things step up. We only know this because last year he had to do things like calculate the surface area of 3D shapes and he couldn’t hold it all in his head.

noblegiraffe Tue 17-Oct-17 17:25:45

I'm treading carefully here because I know how difficult it is to get an EHCP, and also how difficult it can be to get a student with autism to come around to a different way of working, but as a maths teacher I would want to work with him to convince him that showing his working isn't a waste of time, because maths isn't about getting the answer but presenting an argument. If in RE you were asked 'which is worse, X or Y' you couldn't just answer 'Y' but would have to justify your answer, and it's exactly the same in maths. (I've worked with many students over the years who have not wanted to/not seen the point of showing their working and it is a well-worn path).

The thing is, having a TA in maths in top set just on the off-chance that he might need someone to scribe his working for him that lesson is going to end up a frustrating experience for everyone involved, especially as that TA wouldn't have been needed at all this term. I know his EHCP says he should have a scribe where needed but is there any potential for working on his mindset regarding maths, as that would be a much better solution in the long run?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 17-Oct-17 18:41:56

Scribing is just one thing that his 1:1 does in one lesson. Left to his own devices he either won't engage and so won't do the work or he will just write the answers. Like you say, he needs to present the whole thing not just the answer. Scribing is supposed to model the correct way to present the answer in the way that say a writing frame creates the expected structure in written lessons and stops him from just saying 'Y' with no justification. It is easier to instil a 'habit' through constant and consistent repetition than it is to change his mindset or challenge any of his firmly held but quite 'irrational' beliefs. smile

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