Any teachers of KS3 (especially maths)?(10 Posts)
I'm hoping for a useful discussion about this prior to DD's Year 7 parents evening.
I teach Year 6, so I'm very aware of the requirements of the KS2 curriculum and what the current Year 7s had to do for SATS last year. DD has always done well at school - enjoyed maths, found it came quite naturally to her etc. She sat the level 6 paper at the end of KS2 but missed it by one mark, which was a pity but never mind.
She was put into the top set for maths in Year 7 and seems to cope fine with the work. Certainly, looking at her exercise book, there's nothing there that she can't do - and nothing different to what she was doing in Year 6. She concentrates and behaves well in school, homework done on time, 100% attendance.
However, when we had her report at Christmas, she was still assessed at level 5a, and then her report before Easter still had her at a 5a. So that's basically no measurable progress since this time last year. If I felt she'd just scraped a level 5 at KS2 then I would just see it as consolidation, but I know that she only just missed the level 6 last year.
So what conversation should I be having with her maths teacher at parents evening this week? Although I teach the year group below, I'm really not au fait with how secondaries work and what the expectations of the secondary curriculum really are. Any help would be very useful.
5a is assessed differently at secondary I believe. However, I would just ask in a positive way what she needs to do to improve. Could depend on topics, I wouldn't be too worried.
So that's basically no measurable progress since this time last year
If you looked in her books and she can do stuff that she couldn't do this time last year then clearly she has made progress.
There is no way to accurately measure that progress and give it a number, so the teacher makes up a sub-level and sticks it on the report.
When I'm writing reports for my students (secondary maths teacher), I consider that they're supposed to make 2-3 sublevels' progress per year, but we report levels more frequently than that so sometimes I bump a kid up a sublevel and sometimes I don't. At the end of the year we give the kids a proper SATs style test and get a more accurate level from that, so that goes on the report and I hope that it doesn't show anything too different to the sublevels I've made up throughout the year.
If the teacher has deliberately not bumped your child up a sublevel 2 reports in a row then it is possible that they are trying to tell you something about your child, like they are finding it tough. Sublevels are not a science, and there's no official definition of them anywhere.
If parents' evening is coming up, I would ask how your DD is getting on in class tests and where her performance puts her in relation to the rest of the group. Is she struggling at the bottom of the group, and if so, what can you do at home to support her. Is it possible that she may move down a set? Don't talk about 'what can I do to get her from a 5a to a 6c' because that's meaningless.
There's also the possibility that the teacher hasn't assessed her at a level 6 because she isn't doing level 6 work/tests, but that would be weird with a top set.
It is a different set of marks -
They don't flow from KS2 to KS3. In English (my subject) someone who got a 5 in KS2 could be a 5C in KS3 and reach 5A by the end of the year. I know maths is different but at KS3 in English we have to reteach the creativity lost by the ridiculous SATs tests (not the fault of primary) so sometimes pupils look as if they have made no progress but they have just in different areas iyswim
The school might have also done a baseline assessment where your DD was assessed as lower than a 5A in maths, so on their books she has made progress.
It's not a matter of levels being assessed differently at KS2 and KS3, but that there is no way to accurately measure a sublevel at any point in the year. A full set of SATs papers can give a reasonable indication of progress, but even then the difference between one sublevel and the next is a single mark. These are usually given as end of year exams, if at all. Anything inbetween time is just made up, and different schools make them up differently.
OK, thanks for these responses. It's going to be even more interesting next year without levels! Thanks for taking the time to reply.
Levels are supposed to have gone already, my school is giving our Y7 meaningless numbers based on target GCSE grades for GCSEs that haven't even been taught yet.
Basically ignore the levels, check how she is getting on in class tests, and if she stays in top set the results should be ok in the end.
Year 7 is a levelling year in getting the children to the same standard if they have been at different schools, plus dealing with the big change in school and style. It is perfectly normal if transferring from a primary at the end of year 6 to make little measurable academic progress, but lots of progress would have been ,add in other things, especially independence, problem solving etc...
We are currently in 'life without levels' (no mans land) so there's evey possibility your Childs school has set their own criteria for these new 'levels' based on the new national curriculum.
Added to all the above, there are also schools that are teaching a 'Mastery' curriculum in year 7/8/beyond now. This would make leveling harder as they are covering fewer topics in more depth which does not let a teacher assess their overall 'level' across many subjects (as easily as before) but only within those units being covered.
'SATS' levels are based on a broad ability across several topics by nature of the way the tests have been designed. So your DD may well be working at a higher level in some topics in this scenario but not enough topics have been covered for the teacher to confidently assert they are level 6 'across the board'.
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