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Secondary school - Bandng according to CAT and SAT results

(17 Posts)
HoneyKate Tue 21-Jul-09 13:44:20

Hi there, I am wondering if anyone can help with advice on my dilemma. My daughter's year 6 primary school teacher told us that her CAT results were not that great - she said "50" and we assumed that meant 50% but she said not to worry because the teacher assessment and the SATs would make up for it. My daughter's end of year 6 report was excellent - her teacher expected her to attain high level 4's in all subjects except maths where she has always struggled. However, her SAT results were fantastic, she got Level 5's for everything except maths where she was a Level 3 but we were told she missed a Level 4 by only one point. We have now received the letter from her secondary school saying she has been banded as a 4 - basically one class above the bottom! My daughter, and ourselves - are absolutely devastated. The SAT website says that a Level 5 is basically equal to a 13 year old (our daughter is just 11) and that it equates to a child being gifted and talented. I rushed up to the secondary school as soon as I got the letter as I thought a mistake must have been made but they told me that because her CAT score was so low, she should have been in band 5 had it not been for her good SAT results. How can this be? My daughter has always been top of average (except for maths) and I just don't understand how there can be such a discrepancy between her CAT results and her SAT results. I think now they must be saying her score was actually 50, and not 50 percent, meaning her score was in the lowest 1% of the country...but again I can't see how as she is a normal reasonably bright little girl. I now think there must have been a mistake somewhere with the CAT results but I don't know how to go about checking. Her secondary school (where she starts in Sept) won't move her up a band. I can't make sense of this at all. Does anyone have any advice? Many thanks, Honey Kate.

SetSquare Tue 21-Jul-09 13:44:53

they do cats at secondary here

bruffin Tue 21-Jul-09 14:22:15

My DC's secondary use both SATS and CATS to set, but from what I can gather it's not set in stone and they will move around at half term.

Level 5 is not gifted and talented, not even necessarily top class, so don't get too hung up on the SATs results. Depending on the subject 25% to 40% will be level 5.

Were all her CAT tests at that level or was it just the quantative and NVR?

DS only scraped a level 4 for writing by one point but because he had high CATs he was put in the 2nd class for english and he is thriving there.

HoneyKate Tue 21-Jul-09 15:28:36

Thanks SetSquare and Bruffin. Re the CAT tests, I am not sure - the primary school were "cagey" about the CATs, they wouldn't tell us anything about them in order for the children to prepare, all of a sudden my daughter said "I did CAT tests today", it came right out of the blue, and then they were equally cagey about the results, didn't give us anything in writing. My memory of a parent/teacher meeting tells me the teacher said she got 50 overall, but I thought at the time - oh 50% that's not too bad - and that would equate to 90 something percentile (I think) and put her slap bang in the middle of average. Now I wonder if the teacher meant 50 percentile, putting her in the bottom 1% nationwide, because the secondary school teacher I saw yesterday said she would have been in the bottom band going into year 7 had her SATS not been so good and pulled her up a level. I just can't believe she would be in the bottom 1%, it doesn't make any sense to me. She doesn't have learning difficulties, she's funny and bright, yes, a little bit shy and not as confident as some other girls, but generally she's up there with the rest of them. I would like to check her CAT results and get a proper clear picture and make sure no mistakes have been made by anyone along the line entering numbers wrongly on computers does happen! but I don't know where to start re finding out. The teacher at primary never made a big deal out of it at the time so neither did we, I didn't realise it would have such a massive impact on her banding at secondary school or I would have investigated much earlier on.

bruffin Tue 21-Jul-09 15:48:47

Have you asked DD whether she understood the test?

DD did hers a couple of weeks ago ,but they were done at her new secondary school. We were never told DS's , I only know his because I had a meeting with the SEN re his dyslexia, and then she didn't tell me, I saw the numbers on his records.

I hope you can sort it out

hana Tue 21-Jul-09 15:49:47

I think you have to stress less about it and see what happens when she actually starts school. If she does well - she will be moved up a set, or it may be that she's in the right set - worrying about it now won't really achieve much, schools finish this week - or already did - so have a good summer and take it up in September. don't pass your anxiety on either (I mean that in a very nice way, please don't take offence)

titchy Tue 21-Jul-09 16:11:14

Actually I'd create big time. Certainly check with the primary her actual score is correct - can you get a copy of the paper? It's not unusual for kids to get low SATS and high CATs but less common the other way round I think.

Being put into the 7th of 8 sets at secondary I'd have thought it very difficult to move up more than one or two sets, at least in the first year. And by year 8 presumably the top set would be much further ahead than say the 4th set so she'd be constantly playing catch-up even if she was moved to the top or 2nd set in year 8.

Although I wouldn't put level 5 SATS as G & T, it would be very odd to have such a pupil in the bottom set at secondary.

Good luck. if her CATS were that low then look at some papers over the holidays and try and work out why - then maybe try and persuade the secondary to let her redo her CATS?

BodenGroupie Tue 21-Jul-09 18:00:08

I would have agreed with Hana when my DD was in a similar situation in Y6 (missed level 5 by 4 points, went from prep school to state comp and they refused to believe she'd done SATS, lost the results, long story which still makes my blood boil...)

However, 2 years down the line I now agree with Titchy. She was put in the middle set of 5 and has moved just .7 of a level in that time. I really regret that I didn't make more fuss. To start with she was bored, then just gave up - she's still a 5 even though her target level based on CATS was 6.

Her Maths teacher said recently that most of the kids in the group were capable of getting a C at GCSE...I don't really think that's good enough sad

katiestar Tue 21-Jul-09 19:42:25

I am sure it will become obvious very quickly if your DD is in the wrong set and they will move her.A school will set a lot more store in what they see in a pupil than a random test where they might have been having an off day.there will be lots of children who have been wrongly placed.Please try not to worry ?

katiestar Tue 21-Jul-09 19:47:30

Oh also .Is it worth insisting on seeing her CATS paper ? Originally my DS was given a level 4 for writing in his SATS and when the school checked his mark had been miscalculated by 10 points which put him well into a level 5!Mistakes do happen.Don't know anything about the format of teh CATS tests but if they are multiple choice ,sometimes kids miss an answer out and write all the subsequent answers against the wrong Q number IYKWIM

Loshad Tue 21-Jul-09 21:28:33

If set 4 is 4/5 are there 2 halves of the year, or is it a very small secondary school?
Because if it's a half year, then she could easily end up in set 2 by the end of Y7.
Also Level 5 doesn't necessarily = G+T and the levels are different in primary and secondary, ie harder to get L5 in secondary.

flatcapandpearls Tue 21-Jul-09 21:36:02

When I was a head of year 7 I would do initial setting through pupil interviews, SATS and in discussion with primaries. We often made changes at half term. There setting does not seem very flexible as it seems that your dd needs more support in maths but could work in a set 1or 2 for other subjects. Level 5 is not necessarily gifted and talented, it depends on the ability profile of the school.

flatcapandpearls Tue 21-Jul-09 21:39:09

I would express your concerns to the school and ask for her case to be considered when they review setting. A CAT score of 50 is very low and she will not cope with top set maths work if she has a level 3 or just scraped a level 4.

Madsometimes Wed 22-Jul-09 10:17:20

HoneyKate, do the children stay in the same class for all subjects? It seems from your OP that your dd would do well in a low or average set for maths, but not for the rest of her subjects. I can understand why you are so upset.

HoneyKate Wed 22-Jul-09 13:10:39

Thanks all of you so much for your advice. I called the secondary school again today. They told me her CAT scores were 85/74/81. The teacher I spoke to thought it was a little strange that her verbal reasoning could be so low against a SATS level 5 in English. He is going to get the CAT figures checked to see if maybe someone has made a mistake somewhere, maybe entered something wrong or got mixed up with another pupil. I am interested to read KatieStar's comment that a mistake had been made with her child's SAT scores by 10 points. Yes, the CAT papers were multiple choice - my DD said at the time she thought they were quite easy although apparently they told her to leave out doing the questions about Pye (maths) because her class hadn't yet done Pye (she was in a separate group for maths, for those who were finding the concepts hard to grasp). It's a very large secondary school unfortunately although it has a good reputation. Because of its size, they have 5 "houses" which act as mini schools within the big school. They say the houses are not ability rated but in reality they very much seem to be. There are 5 sets, it seems set 1 are the children who passed their 11 plus but didn't get a place at Grammar type schools through to set 5 which are the children who struggle and/or have learning difficulties. Set 3 is middle/average and where I fully expected DD to be placed. I am trying hard not to worry and not pass my anxieties on to DD, bless her. Thanks again to everyone, I will let you know how this goes x

HoneyKate Thu 30-Jul-09 14:43:52

Well, in case anyone is interested, here is an update. I emailed my daughter's primary school in the hope that I might be able to get a message to her Year 6 teacher. The headmaster was kind enough to pick up the message and phoned my husband. DD's teacher is on holiday but the Head spoke to another teacher who knows DD. Consensus of opinion is that Band 4 is right for my daughter because the teachers expected her to get mid 4's in her SATS and they don't know how she managed to get 3 5's. They feel she would struggle at Level 3 maths. They think better for her to be at Level 4 now and try and work her way up to Level 3 rather than the other way around which is likely to destroy any confidence she does have. Husband agrees so it looks as if I am outvoted here. Secondary school have been amazing and offered us the chance for DD to re-take her CATS but DD doesn't want to - yes I have tried cajoling her but to no avail. I think she is terrified of the possibility that her score might not be high enough to get her into Band 3 and again that would affect her confidence going forwards. For the sake of the collective family sanity I guess I will accept this now although I am not entirely happy about it. DD exceeded the teachers' expectations with her 3 Level 5 SATS yet it seems they are questioning how she managed it rather than celebrating the fact that she did. CAT tests that she did nearly a year ago and teacher's expectations seem to count for two thirds of the "points" that got her into Band 4, so these collectively amount to more than the one third consideration she got for great SATS results! The dep head at secondary school told me she is the only pupil in Band 4 to get 3 level 5 SATS, they have a handful of children who managed to get 1 Level 5. I guess I just need to get a grip and put my energies into supporting DD and helping her to work her way up to Level 3. Thanks to all you nice people for your helpful comments. Honey Kate x

mycatunderstandsme Thu 30-Jul-09 20:45:07

Hi, thanks for the update-I've been watching this thread with interest.

My DD[now yr 8] was predicted 2 level 4s and 1 level 5 for her year 6 sats. She also got 3 5s. I felt that her primary school wrote her off as not being that bright fairly early on but fortunately the secondary school just set for maths in year 7 and based this on SATs results[she was in set 2 out of 5]. The setting in year 8 was on class test results for each subject. I think they did CAT tests at the end of year 7 but we didn't get the results and I don't think they had a huge bearing on the setting.

I agree that you wouldn't want your DD to struggle but I would keep a close eye on what she is doing at school and make sure it isn't too easy. Also support her at exam time to ensure she does as well as she can.If she got 3 5s she obviously copes well in an exam situation and if she does well she will be moved up.

My DD is in set 2 for maths still-which is at the correct level and set 1 for everything else where she's probably in the bottom 1/3 of the set but coping well. If my DD had been placed further down she would have been quite happy to coast along.

Also the ability of the sets varies a lot between schools. At my DD's school over 50% of the year got 3 level 5s in year 6 so the standard in set 4 is probably broadly average.

Good luck next year and hope your DD enjoys school which is the most important thing.

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