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End of year reminder: Flightpaths are bollocks, schools giving ‘working at’ 9-1 GCSE grades to KS3 kids are bullshitting

(133 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 14-Jul-18 11:56:59

Basically that.

If your kid comes home with a report with a wanky flightpath on it, take it with a hefty pinch of salt. There’s no science or data behind it.

If your KS3 kid comes home with a report that says they are currently working at a GCSE grade 4 in Science (or worse a 4+, implying technical accuracy), then know that it is made up, no one knows what a grade 4 in science (or any subject really) looks like, and applying GCSE grades to kids who aren’t studying GCSE courses is just nonsense.

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AlexanderHamilton Sat 14-Jul-18 23:57:48

Ds’s report says he’s on track for a Grade 2 in English, Grade 4+ in Science & Grade 8- in Maths!

Haskell Sun 15-Jul-18 00:01:13

That's a spiky profile, Alexander!

AlexanderHamilton Sun 15-Jul-18 00:04:48

Tell me about it. He’s top set maths and bottom set English.

Soursprout Sun 15-Jul-18 07:39:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Floottoot Sun 15-Jul-18 09:34:53

My son's end of year 7 report gave 'working at' and 'challenge' grades 1-9.
I assume that what the school has done is liken lower years students' performance profiles to those higher up the school and their GCSE predictions?

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 15-Jul-18 09:42:35

Yup. Mine get a confusing mix of words, numbers and colours. The colours start red in year 7 and gradually get greener as they get up to year 9 so that "progress" can be "demonstrated".

I've told them it's all nonsense and not to worry about it.

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jul-18 09:48:37

No, very unlikely that they’d try to compare the performance of a Y7 to a GCSE student. A student who is going to scrape a pass in GCSE would be performing very differently to a high ability Y7. One would have been presented with all the content and be struggling to master it, the other would have been presented with a fraction of the content and have been very good at it.

What’s more likely is that they’ve looked at their GCSE target grades for these kids and tried to decide if they are actually that kind of student. Then worked backwards and fudged it. They may have made up some grade boundaries for a Y7 test (which are complete nonsense, give it to another teacher and they’d come up with massively different boundaries). Another teacher would give different grades, there is absolutely no science, and no standards to benchmark these kids against with any accuracy.

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Floottoot Sun 15-Jul-18 09:53:37

That 'kind' of student is what I meant, Noble. Isn't it similar to the idea of "value added"/progress 8? So, assess in year 7, reassess in year 11, show any improvement on predictions.

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jul-18 10:13:01

I’ve just done Y7 reports. I’ve had to look at my class target grades for GCSE and decide whether they are on track to meet them or not. ‘Is this the kind of kid who is going to get a grade 6 at GCSE?’.

I’m an experienced teacher, maths has already had one run-through of the new GCSE so we have a set of exam results. I can tell you that I absolutely cannot distinguish, in Y7 between a kid who is on track for a grade 6 and one that is going to get a 5 or a 7 - so one who will get a good pass and one who will possibly go onto A-level. We set in maths so we already have a reasonable idea of where they fall in the cohort from which group they’re in, i.e. set 2s are generally headed in the 5-7 direction. But there is overlap in the sets and sets can change and the perception of where that child is headed will depend on whether they are set 2 or 3 even though that child’s ability hasn’t changed. And a lot can happen in 4 years.

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ReadingRiot Sun 15-Jul-18 10:15:06

DS scored 2 for English at the end of year 9 and now in year 10 is predicted 7

bowlerhattie Sun 15-Jul-18 10:15:58

My yr 10 DD is struggling at the moment, as the top of their flight path is no longer referred to as a target, but a MEG or Minimum Expected Grade. She was recently distraught to be told by one science teacher she had failed her year 10 science exam and science teacher 2 was preparing to bawl them out next day... which she did, for 30 minutes before handing the marked exam papers out.

DD had got a 6. Her MEG for the end of next year is a 7, so apparently this was a fail, as she should be achieving her Minimum now in order to exceed it.

I worry that mentally she's not going to make it through to the end of year 11 sad

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jul-18 10:20:24

Bowler that’s awful. Can you complain to the school about their bullshit system? At least complain about the bawling out. Schools need to be very mindful of the mental health of their GCSE students - it’s such a tough two years for them.

In the meantime make sure your DD knows that the system is the problem, not her.

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BowlerHattie Sun 15-Jul-18 10:24:51

Thanks Noble, I'm trying, she knows that we support her and don't put pressure on at home. Unfortunately school did the same 2 years ago with DD1 and I listened when they said she was over sensitive.. I'm now realising its them not us. sad

Chosenone Sun 15-Jul-18 10:31:01

Teacher here too. I just hate this system. My school use the GCSE grades from year 7 which confuses parents as they think if they're on a 5 or 6 now then surely they'll be a 9 by year 11! My DS school use a bizarre system of counting up with 1.2. 2.2 and 3.2 leading to a GCSE grade.
I have new students who have been in my class 4 times and was told to give them a grade using my 'gut instinct ffs

maz99 Sun 15-Jul-18 10:48:20

My DD is in year 8, and there is no mention of GCSE level grades on her previous report card. I don’t understand why schools are adding predicted GCSE grades to report cards for KS3 students.

What’s wrong with providing a target & current grade, and a grade for effort? This is what my DD’s school does.

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jul-18 10:51:26

Maz if your Y8’s target and current grade aren’t GCSE grades, then what are they?

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Chocdrop01 Sun 15-Jul-18 10:53:31

So in everyones opinion what level in the gcse scale should a year 7 realistically be at

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jul-18 10:56:07

Choc a Y7 can’t be measured on the GCSE scale because they are studying the KS3 curriculum, not the GCSE curriculum, and are 4 years away from their GCSEs.

I know you’re trying to make your school report make sense but it just doesn’t. It’s made up. It’s not accurate.

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Blueemeraldagain Sun 15-Jul-18 10:57:50

The whole “reporting” system is a mess. I work in a small SEMH school and the teachers KS3 are using two or three different methods of reporting (old NC levels (I use these for English), age related levels (very depressing for students with SEN) and GCSE grades). We have a lot of outside agencies involved with our students. Social Services etc still ask for National curriculum levels on all their reports.

Clairetree1 Sun 15-Jul-18 11:01:34

What’s wrong with providing a target & current grade, and a grade for effort?

but target and current grade of what? if not of GCSE? There are no other grades, all the KS1/2/3 levels have gone

Clairetree1 Sun 15-Jul-18 11:02:29

I have one year 7 child I can confidently predict 8-9 for, and several I can confidently predict below a 3 for, that's about it, really

Clairetree1 Sun 15-Jul-18 11:08:07

So in everyones opinion what level in the gcse scale should a year 7 realistically be at

they are not on the GCSE scales, they are not studying GCSE - they reports are predictions and targets, for when they do start the GCSE.

For example, pregnancy is not on the GCSE specification, so a year 7 student studying pregnancy and child birth cannot show understanding to GCSE level, full stop. However, the teacher can use their understanding to predict how well they will understand more complicated biology later, but not to with any accuracy.

For example, they might understand biology in general well enough to be predicted an average grade of between 3-6, but that is about it.

the detailed grades, 4+ etc are most likely target grades based on SATS, they are derived from a formula, and once the SATS are done in KS2, these targets don't change

TeenTimesTwo Sun 15-Jul-18 11:16:30

DD's school has adapted the old NC levels, and renamed them, and then translates to a 'flightpath' grade range e.g. 4-5. I'm pretty happy with that. I understand they're not predictions but they give an idea - on track to fail, on track to probably pass, on track to do well.

I feel they have a good idea of the skills needed to do well at GCSE, and if they can see the skills developing they can use it as a judge. I quite agree though that exact GCSE grades or worse the 5+ / 6- level of accuracy is just daft.

Mind you, if French predicts a pass this year, I might lose all faith. grin

maz99 Sun 15-Jul-18 11:16:59

Noble, the target grade is the expected minimum progress at the end of the year based on KS2 results. The current grade is a current ‘working at’ level, based on in year work and assessments.

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