Help with understanding science test levels(7 Posts)
My dd recently had her end of year 7 tests and has started to get the results back. The actual scores in the science test seemed to vary between 92 and 50 something (not sure whether the marks were out of 100) but all were given a level 6c. My dd was not sure what level the paper was but thought it was either 4-6 or 5-7.
The teacher mentioned that 6c was the highest level he was allowed to award
and I just wondered if anyone knew the reason for this? Is it because they have only covered part of the curriculum. There was also a debate style written paper where the marks awarded seem to have been higher.
I think it depends how they have been taught. DS yr8 got a level 7 in his yr7 exams and each end of topic test is marked to level 7. At his school they teach each topic upto level 7 or even gsce level.
The problem in science is perceived progress.
If you teach a discrete topic (to, say L7) and then mark it, then high-fliers may well achieve L7. This may then be repeated for every test/module throughout yrs7-9, giving the impression that the student is making 'no progress'.
In order to counteract this some schools set a ceiling for each term, for the highest marks in each module, so that it is clear that students are still making progress.
The topics they would have covered in yr 7 won't be as academically demanding, on the whole, as some of the topics covered in yr 9.
That is why most schools don't bother with the extension paper for the sat's - it is really just a test of how much KS4 (GCSE) work they know already, rather than how good they are at science. That is why it is very common for children to achieve a level 8 in Maths but much less common in science. It does not mean they are better at Maths cp to science.
That is all changing from next year though...
A level 6C at the end of of yr 7 is great!
If they did a 3-6 Sats paper (or a paper made up of Sats questions topics that Year 7 would have covered), the 3-6 paper is out of 180 (2 papers x 90). It doesn't sound like that is what your DD has done.
If she has a top grade, 92 is probably 92%. I would expect a bright child to get almost full marks on 3 - 6 Sats questions if they have studied the topics, and for the lowest mark to be around or just below 50% (but that wouldn't be level 6 - it would be level 4).
We have capped our year 7 Chemistry test at 6a for two reasons - there is little level 7 work in the material we teach in year 7 and to show progression across the 3 years). The score required to achieve 6a varies across the 3 sciences depending on the proportion of level 6 questions used in the test so it would be possible for a student to get different marks but the same level. We report the level to parents and use the percentage mark to reset for year 8.
They don't have a lot of opportunity to access Level 6 in Year 7 Chemistry though, do they? (I have not taught the new Y7 course, so it may have changed this year). The old course, the Chemistry was mostly recall around the basics of particle theory and simple reactions.
I do find that NC levels in Science are very much a blunt instrument - very different from English and Mathematics where you can pinpoint the child's attainment much more accurately. In Science, they can do well on one topic and poorly on another, so their NC level does not necessarily move onwards and upwards. I record levels for their end of topic tests and can see that they have made progress from one year to the next, but I wouldn't want to do it mid-year.
Fortunately, I am not fixated on levels from the lower school. I am fixated on making Science fun. We get more serious in Year 9.
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