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Year 8 parents - mid term tests - has anyone else experienced this?

(22 Posts)
SJaneS48 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:07:48

DD had a week of tests as I think many did just before half term. She was very quick to tell us the results, all of which were very good, ‘too three’ this etc but was strangely quiet about her Maths and Science results telling us that she’d not had them.

We were a bit suspicious but gave her the benefit of the doubt as she’s upfront and tends to be very honest. We did think it was odd & a bit suspicious that her two worse subjects were the ones we didn’t know the results of though! I know some schools have sent the results out but ours (State) haven’t.

Last night she fessed up without us asking that she’d narrowly failed the Science and absolutely bombed on the Maths. She had struggled with both during the home schooling period and to be honest, these are my two weak areas as well so it was a bit of a struggle with some occasional tears (hers) and swearing at the wall in the kitchen (me!).

DD is in set 2 of 4 for both subjects (and set 1 for English). I suspect she may be put down a set in both - part of me feels that as the lower set might go at a slower pace that might not be a bad thing but on the other hand, from what she’s said, although she’s not been in a set 3 or 4, there are greater instances of children really not being engaged and playing up.

Speaking to a friend this morning who’s DD is great friends with mine and is at a grammar, her DD absolutely flunked their Maths test too as did the other girl from our village also at the grammar. So my question is to other Year 8 parents, have you experienced the same? I guess people with DCs who are good at Maths might not have but I wondered how common this has been? DD said last night that her Science result was pretty similar to most the others in her class..I guess she might have just been saying that though!

I’ve spoken with DH about whether we should contact the teachers involved but he’s of the opinion that as she seems more engaged with these two subjects now we should see how she gets on in the next half term. Before lockdown she was meeting her targets comfortably in both and while we really don’t expect her to be a whizz in either, this might just rectify itself. On the other hand, she clearly has a big gap in her learning! If anyone else has experienced the same, what are you doing?

OP’s posts: |
yeOldeTrout Thu 19-Nov-20 14:10:13

Ours can't move because they don't have sets, fixed learning groups (same 26 kid size "bubble") all year due to 'Rona. are you sure moving sets is even possible?

SJaneS48 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:14:19

Good point and thanks for bringing it up - quite honestly I don’t know. DDs Year 8 are split into two half year bubbles depending on their sets and MFL choices so I guess it might not be an option anyway (which might be a good thing and give her a chance to get back on track!).

OP’s posts: |
nemeton Thu 19-Nov-20 14:34:00

How much maths work did she do during lockdown? Without the constant repetition and consolidation some children really forget their maths skills super quickly.
It's easy enough to support her though- email her maths teacher, ask which topics she's struggling with, ask which maths app/package they subscribe to or recommend, then make sure she does some three or four days a week.
Often it's as simple as practising times tables, even at secondary. Does she know them well, up to 15?

SJaneS48 Thu 19-Nov-20 15:04:38

Yes she knows her times tables and did complete all the Maths set in lockdown (we’d get an email for any missing un submitted work) but did really struggle on understanding the formula behind the questions. In class they do explain all this but in lockdown the sheets had a line or two at the top and I wasn’t much use in explaining concepts!

Will have another chat with DH tonight, as above he feels we should see how she gets on this term first and it may be a blip. The teacher would be able to give me some idea as well on whether they are going over the Year 7 work now or have moved on.

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Thu 19-Nov-20 15:11:00

sorry, but we haven't had any tests like this

I can't imagine them moving them round, they are all stuck in class bubbles. (but grammar so very few subjects set anyway)

lanthanum Thu 19-Nov-20 16:21:03

It sounds as if others "failed" as well, and I would imagine that part of the reason for the tests was to find out what the state of play is on the lockdown learning - what needs to be revisited with the whole class, whether they might need to put in place some intervention for some pupils, etc. DD's school had "lockdown learning" tests, separate to tests on what they've done this term, I presume for that sort of reason.

Nothing wrong with a brief email to the teachers saying that you gather she didn't do too well in the tests, and is there anything particular you could do to help her? They might be able to reassure you that they'll be revisiting those topics, or they might give you some pointers to useful resources.

gsha Thu 19-Nov-20 16:39:14

Personally I wouldn't contact the school about it, but I would suggest to her she do something about it herself at home. For maths I'd recommend Dr Frost maths online. It's free and it has video explanations and you could even do it with her even just 10 minutes a day would help I think. I think little and often is good for Maths. Science I'm not sure about websites, but I would buy her some books (eg CGP Science year 7 and year 8 or Activate series year 7 or 8) that have answers and cut out the answers from the book and then mark for her. I wouldn't suggest to her that she do these books that often, maybe just half an hour once or twice a week. In this situation I think it's important to say to her there's no need to despair or worry about it and lots of children will be in the same situation, but suggest things like this that she can do herself to try to catch up/ improve.

Carpetflowers Thu 19-Nov-20 17:17:24

I agree with @lanthanum the tests were to determine the levels the children are at after lockdown.

DS is also year 8, middle set for Maths ans scored 21/60 in his assessment just before half term. DS said some scored around the same, quite a few scored lower and a couple really highly. The work they have done this half term is consolidating what they have already learnt.
I don’t know if all schools are as flexible but DSs school contacted me to say that DS finds Maths stressful and they suggested that moving him to the lower set may ease the pressure. I refused, after discussing it with DS, and they accepted that and kept him where he is.

ScrapThatThen Thu 19-Nov-20 17:41:09

I can't speak for this year but I know its pretty common for the maths marks to look very low - often a shock for everyone. However the grade boundaries are also low.

SJaneS48 Fri 20-Nov-20 10:44:55

Thanks all! @gsha - very helpful & appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
Autumn101 Fri 20-Nov-20 10:50:16

My year 8 DS has had two maths a ssessments - they basically did the end of year 7 one first to properly identify any gaps or areas the children struggled in. There was a massive variation in marks so then a month of a real push to get them up to scratch. They had another assessment after this period where the results were much improved but they’ve also added in some extra maths resources to help too.

Autumn101 Fri 20-Nov-20 10:51:37

I would also say my DS is very strong in maths but only got 65% so marks generally were lower than normal

pastandpresent Fri 20-Nov-20 11:02:05

My ds hasn't told me anything about assessments except for the result of mfl one I accidentally saw and asked on the homework site saying study for test on Monday or something.
Need to ask him when he gets home. grin
I don't think they are setting this year like they did last year.

Heartyhooker Fri 20-Nov-20 18:53:15

My yr8 has had tests recently in most subjects, I thought they were the usual end of topic ones but maths and science were end of yr from yr7. I think this is probably the case for most schools . I am assuming I'll get feedback with his end of term report.

OnTheBenchOfDoom Fri 20-Nov-20 23:06:08

and I wasn’t much use in explaining concepts!

@SJaneS48 there are a huge amount of videos on YouTube explaining concepts if either you or your DD needs help with anything specific. If she has her test paper she can see where she went wrong. Ds2 is actually in year 10 but they get set Dr Frost as homework.

Nothing wrong with a brief email to the teachers saying that you gather she didn't do too well in the tests, and is there anything particular you could do to help her?

Completely agree with this. If it gets sorted now then she is working on securing her knowledge which she can build on in later years. School may also suggest specific areas to work on.

foxesandsquirrels Fri 20-Nov-20 23:41:25

Oh wow, I have just had this with my DD Y8. She has been tested in all subjects in the last 2 weeks and we had some results this week. I was pretty horrified as she was getting full marks in Science in Y7 and middling in Maths. She got 21/50 in Science, 4/30 in Maths and 21/30 in computing.
I spoke to her about these and she was really upset but said the kids who sit immediately next to her did much worse (a boy that was normally good got 0 in both computing and maths) and at breaktime they were all talking about how hard they were.
I'm not sure what to make of it but this is a normal comp. We haven't had any others back but I'm intrigued as to the results. I'm sure the teachers are horrified too, my DD did loads of work over lockdown and had a tutor for English and Maths.

SJaneS49 Sun 22-Nov-20 09:44:00

@foxesandsquirrels, interesting that you have experienced exactly the same!

I dropped the Maths teacher an email on Friday, will be interesting what they say!

foxesandsquirrels Sun 22-Nov-20 15:59:44

I've emailed the maths teacher too and he sent a book home with DD. He didn't comment on the class but did say kids are struggling.

BoudiccaAnn Mon 23-Nov-20 09:24:17

My DD is Year 7 and bombed first Maths exam which came as a shock. Primary had said that she was one of the top in Maths and she kept up with schoolwork during lockdown. Looking back...I almost wish I had gotten her a tutor and put her through 11+ just for 'practise' with revising Maths and taking timed Maths tests (which she never really did except for SATs prep, which stopped in March). But in the end, I think PP is right in that lockdown was rough for a lot of kids who just need more regular practise of Maths skills to keep them 'fresh' (and maybe mine also didn't get a strong enough foundation in primary for it to 'stick'). And in our case, I don't think DD really knew how to revise for a Maths test in the first place.

DD rather enjoyed Mathletics in primary but now I think a downside of those sites is that they encourage kids to focus on the 'answer' rather than the working out. Somehow there isn't enough consequence when you get things wrong - you learn to shrug off mistakes here and there without really bothering to learn 'why' (like playing a video game). It doesn't give you enough practise in writing out your working out and showing each logical step.

Also, in primary, DD had daily maths homework which was never marked and returned by the teachers so there was no actual consequence for doing things 'wrong' - the school said this was OK because they were using these to work out if there were any problem areas they needed to address in class the next day. Now I think it helped to cultivate very bad habits and general sloppiness. I regret not paying more attention - I only ever asked 'did you get it done?'

foxesandsquirrels Mon 23-Nov-20 09:55:46

@BoudiccaAnn I have never really placed this as the culprit but you have really hit the nail on the head. These maths games sites that they now use all the time don't really teach them why they got something wrong. My DD uses Hegarty maths for homework and it is very frustrating that it just asks you to rewatch the video when you get it wrong.

We have been working from the exercise book her teacher got her and it is going much better.

SJaneS49 Wed 25-Nov-20 13:48:33

I heard back from the Maths teacher. DD hadn’t filled me in on this but they are testing again on the same areas on Friday after a week of revision and going over work again. It does sound to me like this must have been a problem for more than a small handful then. I hope we get the results of this and I guess we’ll know where we need to go (if anywhere) from there. DD seems pretty relaxed about this all, we’ll see!

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