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Maths year 10(56 Posts)
DD works hard but when it comes to tests she doesn't achieve as much as she expects. She says the questions in the exam (same test sat across whole year) are a lot harder than the questions they cover in class and that some of the topic areas haven't been covered by her teacher by the time they take the exam.
We recently had our parent teacher consultation and the teacher started off by telling me how she like to focus the majority of her time on the middle range questions and not very much time of the difficult stuff. DD explained to her that often she goes over stuff in class that she already knows and she feels not enough time of the stuff that comes up in the exams. She said if she wanted to do harder maths she should just go on Hegarty Maths and that as far as she was concerned she was covering everything.
I wonder is it just me or how can a student who is not being taught how to answer harder questions, ever hope to answer the harder questions. Every time dd sits a Maths paper she comes out feeling like she couldn't answer most of it. Dd asked if the teacher can go over the test papers in class to help her understand where she went wrong, she agreed to that.
Does her school set for maths and what set is she in if so?
If the school sets, but they all sit the same paper, then most likely only the top set will cover everything on the paper. When it comes to GCSE maths, most students will not be able to access the whole paper and it is not unusual for students to be given tests with questions on that they can’t attempt.
If your DD is in a set that isn’t aiming for the top grades at GCSE then she needs to be taught at an appropriate level, which may be the middling range.
If, however, your DD is supposed to be working towards a grade 8/9 at GCSE then she needs to be taught at that level.
I think she’s in second set, targeting grade 7.
It’s knowing that last year to get a grade 7 on the new maths GCSE last year you only needed to get about 50% of the marks. (To get a 9 only needed 79%). If the tests are really hard then that may be to reflect the increased difficulty of the new GCSE, and she will need to get used to that level of question, and struggling to answer a chunk of the paper.
What are the other students in her group getting on the tests? What about the set above? If your DD is finding the work easy, then yes, perhaps pushing herself on Hegarty Maths and attempting to move up to the top set would be a target.
That should be ‘it’s worth knowing’!
useful answer noblegiraffe, thanks for sharing this info
Thanks Noble - she isn’t really very aware of her place in the class, they don’t like to talk about grades - it’s not the done thing apparently, her twin is in top set and she matches her scores maybe 50% of the time. I’ve told her she needs to prove to the teacher that the work is too easy for her. She said lots of kid’s parents have complained about this teacher and asked for the work to be more challenging or for their kids to be moved up a set but nothing has changed.
DD has similar issues, feels she is limited in what she can achieve in tests due to only being taught certain things within her sets target grade range.
I wasn't set for Maths GCSE, so I had no idea they could be limited by their set - I always felt that my grade was up to me and I got an A (before A*) many years ago, I felt that the teacher had given me the knowledge and the right practice questions to enable me to achieve my potential, I don't feel dd is receiving the same opportunities, I think she needs to to start moving away on her own, where she can, with our help.
It’s not about being limited by your set, it’s about being taught at an appropriate level for your ability. If she is getting the same results as her sister in top set half the time, then that would seem like that she is being taught pretty well?
If she is getting the same results as her sister in top set half the time, then that would seem like that she is being taught pretty well? It's not that simple, she often used to do better that her twin when they were in the same set, her top set sister did better in the end of year Y9 exam which seemed ro clinch the set. But in my opinion observing them both, their grades, their attitude and their effort - they are very similar. Her top set twin, is of similar ability but is being taught by a better teacher, is being stretched and is enjoying maths more as a consequence.
Has her sister got the same target grade?
It’s really difficult for teachers when you have twins in sets right next to each other being competitive and comparing results. I taught a twin a few years back who was sitting foundation and the brother in the set above was doing higher with the same target grade. There was a lot of chat about results and who was being taught what and who had the better teacher, whether the one doing foundation was being limited. They ended up with the same grade and it all worked out in the end.
But if your DD wants to move up a set, then she needs to prove herself like her sister did. She is at an advantage because she can see what her sister is being taught so can work on it herself. If she is way at the top of the group in the Y10 exams, then you can argue she needs to move up.
This system is limiting though - especially for set 2 kids who have a strength in one area of mathematics like geometry where they could gain extra marks by being extended on that topic, but it doesn't happen, there is no extension for the kids when they find a topic easy.
I'll suggest dd does her twin's work for extension but it's a shame she will have no support from her teacher to reach her potential.
Has her sister got the same target grade? Sister's target grade is 8 - my gut feel is that, this is an ambitious target....but I don't set much faith in targets, I haven't seen the school set any target so far that my kids have met with the timescale they suggest. Some have been excessively ambitious and some have been woefully under ambitious, they are close to useless.
Her top set twin, is of similar ability but is being taught by a better teacher, is being stretched and is enjoying maths more as a consequence.
This seems to be key - if they are not being stretched in the lower sets and how do they ever have a chance of improving and reaching full potential. Teaching also has a big impact and at DDs school the best teachers are with the top set.
I completely agree OP that they are missing out on extra marks by not being taught some topics at a higher level that they find easier. That door is closed firmly and IMO because of this they are very much limited.
who have a strength in one area of mathematics like geometry where they could gain extra marks by being extended on that topic
But the curriculum not being exactly tailored to your DDs’ strengths and weaknesses isn’t because they are set, it’s because they are being taught in classes of 30+. Equally someone in top set could be slightly weaker at geometry and struggle with the pace on that topic while being ahead on others.
If your DDs were not set, you would have far more to complain about. The evidence shows that brighter kids do better with setting because they aren’t being held back by attention needing to be given to the kids who don’t have a clue what’s going on.
If the top set twin has a target of 8, then that suggests she outperformed the second set twin at KS2.
Yes that is the case but it was on one exam - I know this is sounding like a broken record - but their maths results have often been exactly the same score and they have taken turns in beating each other right the way through - there is really nothing in it. At KS2 I can only guess that they were both on the border between a 4 and a 5. It was interesting to see the effect of this on their targets in Year 7 but again they pretty much got the same results at the end of Year 7, in spite of having wildly different targets. DD set 2, met a two year target after the first term, it was pure nonsense.
If you think your DD is in the wrong set then she needs to work hard, improve her scores and move up. There is no point in berating the set 2 teacher for not teaching the class exactly the same material at exactly the same pace as set 1.
So we also had dd being told at parent teacher meeting that she was top set material in English but she was in an unusually very talented year and there was no room left in the class - it's a bit of a crap system - it took 5 terms - someone leaving the school from the top set before she was moved up and the difference for her was startling, she has really upped her game - it has always been her favourite subject and that was only allowed to happen because another student left the school.
There is no point in berating the set 2 teacher - you're right it will change nothing. I think the answer is probably a tutor.
If you think your DD is in the wrong set then she needs to work hard, improve her scores and move up.
While I agree hard work is necessary to improve, it is often difficult to achieve the best potential results through this alone. If you have not been taught certain things on the assessment paper you are at a disadvantage. If you cannot score higher than someone in the set above who has been taught these things you will not move up.
DDs teacher has admitted that she is probably at the same ability as the many in set above, but missed the cut off by one mark in the end of year assessment. As a result her potential future grades are now limited. Unless you can afford a tutor there is no way around this.
I'm slightly surprised by all this talk of missing sets by 1 mark, it seems rather rigid to me.
At our school they make the maths sets overlap, as they know some children do better being the top of a lower set, and some better by being bottom of a higher set. So they look at the scores, but also performance in class and the individual child. They get very good maths results, so it seems to work.
Is our school unusual in doing this @noblegiraffe ?
And why not stretch the lower sets why only stretch the top set? The system seems to favour the bottom to the middle of dd’s set. Why should she not get support and teaching for the harder questions if she not being challenged by the level the class is working on. I thought with the focus on progress 8 the school would’ve trying to help all the kids reach their potential but it seems not.
why not stretch the lower sets
There’s no point in teaching a kid who is going to get a grade 5 material that is completely beyond them. They will be stretched at their level.
Teen maths sets do overlap. OP has said that her DD is scoring the same as the higher set twin on half the tests so clearly they are being taught a lot of the same stuff.
But set 1 will contain kids aiming for 9s, going on to do further maths A-level etc. Some of the stuff being pushed their way would be too difficult for a student who needs a bit more practice on the syllabus.
Why should she not get support and teaching for the harder questions
If you want individual tailored support, hire a tutor. If your DD is performing at the top of the class and the work is too easy, ask for her to be moved up. Note I’ve said performing at the top of her class, which means performing exceptionally well on the material she has been taught. If she is complaining that things are too easy but she isn’t getting top marks, then she has more work to do.
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