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Advice re effort mark please

(20 Posts)
Jirarchi Mon 08-Jul-19 20:05:01

DS is in year 8 and we received his AM3 report. For maths his behaviour was excellent, his homework good but effort was poor. He has never received poor before in anything so this was a huge shock.

I've spoken to the Head of Department and she said that he needs to ask more questions which I totally get but the main issue is he is no where near his target grade. His target grade is a 9 which his maths teacher has said that ability wise he won't achieve and his currently attainment (a 6) is where he is realistically should be. He did very well in his SATs which is what his target grade is based on but he was having a good day and was given extra time as he is on the SEN register due to his anxiety.

They have said he is a very nervous pupil when it comes to Maths and I think the mark of poor is just going to make this worse. She said he works fine in lessons but his test scores need to be higher but if he hasn't got the natural ability and he's already nervous then how is this possible?

He's really upset and feels like he's useless at maths and I'm just not sure what to do, if anything? It's like he has an impossible task and the 'poor' mark is counterproductive?

Does anyone have any advice please?

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RainOrSun Mon 08-Jul-19 20:14:51

Our homework used to be given an effort and an attainment mark.
I still remember getting a 5 for effort (lowest possible) for an English essay I'd spent ages on.
So I didnt really bother with the next piece of homework, and threw something together. Got a 2.
I dont pay much attention to effort marks now my kids are at school......

Are you sure its representative??

Jirarchi Mon 08-Jul-19 20:17:34

Sorry what do you mean by being representative?

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RainOrSun Mon 08-Jul-19 20:21:07

Are you sure the effort mark is actually reflecting what he is doing?
Because my English teacher sure as heck had no idea about the effort I put into various bits of homework!

Jirarchi Mon 08-Jul-19 20:24:33

I can't see how it can be really. She said his test scores should be higher as his target grade is a 9 but also said he will never realistically achieve 8's or 9's.

It's annoying as he is really anxious so I've always said just do your best and that's all I expect but if he's working fine in class and still gets marked poor then he's always going to fail

OP’s posts: |
Starlight456 Mon 08-Jul-19 20:35:41

Have you thought of getting him a tutor ?

sakura06 Mon 08-Jul-19 20:44:46

But is 9 his target grade for the end of Year 11? If so, surely a 6 in Year 8 is pretty good. If it's not a GCSE grade, have they made it clear what these numbers mean?

Jirarchi Mon 08-Jul-19 20:45:39

I have thought about it as it may increase his confidence which would be great and is what he needs.

I'm not miffed that he's not reaching his target grades but more that they have marked his effort as poor due to him not achieving them even though they say realistically it wouldn't be possible.

OP’s posts: |
Jirarchi Mon 08-Jul-19 20:52:31

The target grades are what they are expected to get at GCSE and the attainment grade is a forecast grade from how they are currently working

OP’s posts: |
Bluntness100 Mon 08-Jul-19 21:00:37

I'd discuss it with his teacher. Her opinion is he in not making an effort. She can't pretend he is if her opinion knowing him he isn't. Your focus needs to be on how to help him. If he won't ask questions because he's too anXious. And he doesn't understand it. How can he be supported to get round this.

Giving him a different mark simply would give him the message his current way of handling it is just fine. It's not. So don't focus on thr Mark. But what can be done to help him.

Ionacat Mon 08-Jul-19 21:11:10

Grrrrr, this is why we should not be setting target grades based on a few hours work in year 6.
I suspect that because your DS is not reaching his target or not likely to, the Maths teachers are gathering evidence to justify to SLT why he is not going to meet his target. They can’t say his target is too high because he had a good day in year 6, so therefore they are backside covering because if he isn’t putting the effort in, then they can say well he didn’t put the effort in, we tried x, y and z. Unfortunately saying well he is a lovely lad and worked really hard, but the target was too high doesn’t wash unless you have a realistic SLT.
I would speak to his head of year or his form tutor and ask how effort grades are worked out, is it down to teacher discretion or is there caveats in there like you can’t award an A for effort if they are way off their target grade etc. Explain the affect it is having on your DS and in what ways can you all support him to avoid him getting anxious and turning into a downward spiral.
If your DS was entitled to extra time at primary, I would ask about how to get it at secondary, you usually have to show it is a usual way of working, so it might be worth getting that flagged up now?

Jirarchi Mon 08-Jul-19 21:16:25

Thats a good point about the anxiety bluntness so I will concentrate on that. He is on a support table so I will keep re-affirming that he can't be scared to ask questions if he doesn't understand.

However her opinion doesn't seem to be that he is not making an effort as she says he generally works fine but his test scores aren't high enough but in the same breath his tests scores reflect the level of ability he has. He's currently getting 11 or 12 out of 20 (on average) but because of the target grade he should be getting 18 or 19 out of 20 but that is beyond his ability.

Surely if his effort was really deemed poor (which is just one level away from uncooperative) than how is his behaviour excellent? It just doesn't seem to match.

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Jirarchi Mon 08-Jul-19 21:28:02

Thank you Ioncar. I had previously raised concerns about his target grades being high as he had extra time in primary and they said it would need to be addressed in year 10 I believe.
Although he has no real SENCO involvement right now he is still on the register as there are concerns now he will handle GCSEs so he is on the SENCOs radar and he currently teachers DS in another subject.

The downward spiral is what I'm worried about and I do feel like these targets have been an albatross round his neck, as his anxiety often shows in him feeling like he's never good enough.

His attainment grade has gone from a 6- to a 6 through AM1, AM2 and AM3 but the effort has gone from good in AM1 and AM2 to poor in AM3 which is a huge drop but something that hasn't been reflected in his test scores, homework or behaviour.

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clary Mon 08-Jul-19 21:55:16

Lonecat makes a good point. When I taught we had to give predicted grades and then up to two barriers to learning. One option here was "none" but that was only acceptable if a student was predicted to achieve target. If they were not going to, I had to say why, and "he's nice but just not that bright, the target is too high" was just not acceptable.

Luckily some of the BTLs were things like lacking confidence which can cover a multitude of sins and hopefully didn't distress any students too much. Actually it was often true as well (I taught MFL).

Op I am sorry he us finding it tough. Please pursue the extra time, as a pp said it needs to be his normal way of working. Ask the teacher for advice on how you can support him.

clary Mon 08-Jul-19 21:56:08

Sorry Ionacat not Lonecat!

Stillabitemo Tue 09-Jul-19 23:33:22

Do the school have expectations in terms of effort? Along the lines of students must ask questions, participate in group discussions, speak to teachers about any lower marks etc

If that’s the case he might have been doing that earlier in the year when they were likely going over content from y6 to consolidate but as things have gotten a little harder he’s done a bit less and this is what’s reflected in the effort mark?

I think you need guidance from the school on their expectations for ‘good effort’ before you can interpret this. Some schools might equate effort with results, others with enthusiasm and others with participation.

LisaMontgomery Wed 10-Jul-19 01:17:23

In my previous school a new (unwritten) policy effectively banned giving a good effort grade if a child wasn't on target and also banned giving a poor effort grade is a child was on target. So a kid with a target of 9, currently working hard and getting a 6 had to be given a poor effort grade. Equally a kid with a target 6, being lazy and doing the bare minimum to get a 6 had to have a good effort grade. Utter bollocks and I quit rather than implemented it, but most colleagues just went along with it.

You need to speak to his teacher (face to face if at all possible) to find out if something similar has happened here. I'd ask them outright "so you agree that the grade 6 is realistic for my son but he gets a poor effort grade because he isn't working above that?" Because it sounds so familiar to me - impossibly high target, good behaviour, teacher unable to come up with sensible reasons for poor effort grade and seeming to link the effort and attainment grades.

TeenTimesTwo Wed 10-Jul-19 11:35:41

If an effort grade is just being linked to meeting a target, then they should just call it 'Meeting target grade' and be done with it.

Jirarchi Wed 10-Jul-19 12:08:18

Thank you for everyone's comments.

I've been told by people to just ignore it but I just feel like it's really unfair and it's hard to ignore when it's there in black and white and we are told if effort isn't good or excellent then parents should be discussing it with their child to improve.

I've emailed the school again to request a meeting as I feel this is damaging to a child who by their own words is nervous and is on the SEN register for his anxiety linked to ASD.

OP’s posts: |
Karwomannghia Wed 10-Jul-19 12:18:53

It’s like they don’t understand your son at all. Do investigate further. He clearly has potential and could manage tests better with support for his anxiety.
I’m a teacher and at my ds’s secondary parents evening I was annoyed that his SATs results are STILL being used to predict his GCSEs across the board in y9!. His ICT teacher said he’s the best in the class from the latest test and predicted a 5. I said it makes no sense, if he’s the best why not a 9? And he said well it’s just from the SATs which a) don’t involve ICT and b) didn’t reflect his ability. Then he said oh I’ve only just started...
I then saw his English teacher and said I hope you’re not going to tell me he’s predicted a 5 after you’ve said how well he’s doing and he hastily said no no I’m crossing that out now, we have high expectations etc etc
Basically the trajectory from SATs is a load of crap. It’s highlighted though that they need to understand your son in terms of him as a person rather than his results.

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