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KS2 SATS writing topic - favouring the boys ?

82 replies

orangetulip · 13/05/2009 13:19

DS came home yesterday saying the long writing topic had been to write a review of a PC game ...
(What about kids who don't have a computer I'm quietly thinking....)
Is this a ploy by the government to claim they have addressed the imbalance between boys / girls' writing - or has my cynicism of SATS just gone too far this time ?! What do you think ?

OP posts:
Seeline · 13/05/2009 13:21

Haven't reached that stage yet with DC's, but do they not have a choice of topic? Was that the writing your DC chose to do?

bigTillyMint · 13/05/2009 13:21

Girls play computer games too, don't they?

orangetulip · 13/05/2009 13:22

No - I think that's it

OP posts:
orangetulip · 13/05/2009 13:23

Of course - perhaps I'm generalising too much...

OP posts:
Feenie · 13/05/2009 13:25


This wasn't the long writing topic on KS2 SATS it optional SATs in Y3/Y4/Y5?

Blu · 13/05/2009 13:26

If that's the case, then it favours children who play / have access to computer games. Which is deeply discriminatory.

I haven't noticed DSs being more popular with boys than girls.

janinlondon · 13/05/2009 13:32

Surely this would cause an uproar among parents with children who don't have computer games (like mine....???)

MadreInglese · 13/05/2009 13:36

DD said she wrote a review of a pair of trainers, perhaps there were different reviews to choose from

Isn't it more about them using their imagination and vocab than the actual subject matter?

singersgirl · 13/05/2009 13:51

Yes, it was a review of trainers. Yawn. Obviously designed to be 'boy friendly' without alienating girls. But really, no wonder children are so unenthused about writing...

What about a nice story, where they could really use some good vocabulary?

(And, yes, I know the short writing task was a description of a busy place.)

bigTillyMint · 13/05/2009 13:58

The National Curriculum decrees that children should learn to write in several different genre - hence different tasks are chosen for the SATS.

Not all children (infact, stereotypically, many boys) find imaginative story writing very difficult and are not enthused by it. So writing a review might be better for them.

singersgirl · 13/05/2009 15:04

Oh, I know, but really...It's just so cardboard-cut-out gender-and-everything-else-neutral and dull.

Where do I begin with the National Curriculum's views on writing in genres?

MillyR · 13/05/2009 15:22

My DS struggled with the trainers task; he has never owned a pair and his friends don't wear them either. Apparently lots of children in his class, both boys and girls found it difficult to think of much to write.

His classroom assistant told me that at her daughter's school they handed out drawing paper to a lot of the children to colour on until the test time finished because so many ran out of things to write about.

I can't see why trainers would appeal more to boys than girls, but it would seem that writing a report is more gender neutral than imaginative writing tasks. The shorter writing task seemed an easier subject though.

Fennel · 13/05/2009 15:25

Trainers? What can you say about trainers that could possibly be interesting? My dds have trainers but we don't exactly discuss their merits. They fit, or they don't fit. Have trainers, or velcro. Flash, or don't flash. That's about it, isn't it? and who cares anyway?

katiestar · 13/05/2009 15:57

The trainers DS reported on had a satellite tracker built in which vibrated every mile (hmm have to look into patenting that one ) and soles with enhanced traction to safely play ball games on a sloped surface. Think he quite enjoyed that one.

Rhubarb · 13/05/2009 16:04

I think the writing test for the trainers was meant to test their non-fiction writing skills. So it wasn't so much the content they were scrutinising, more about presentation and if they knew the difference between formal writing and informal writing. They would have looked for things like bullet-points, punctuation, good reasoning skills, persuasive techniques etc. Some kids would have excelled at this, those who like factual writing for example, others would have done better using their imaginations for the busy place writing test.

MillyR · 13/05/2009 16:14

Thanks Rhubarb - that is reassuring. I am just worried that he wrote so little that they will not be able to find enough evidence of those things to give him the marks. He said he only wrote 4 paragraphs, but his teacher said that the length doesn't matter. I should just stop thinking about and worrying about this!

Rhubarb · 13/05/2009 16:16

4 paragraphs sounds fine to me. It was meant to be short and precise. Don't worry!

Blu · 13/05/2009 17:07

Was writing about trainers a subject choice, or the ONLY thing they were asked to write about?

LOL - DS has only ever worn orthopaedic shows, and only ever will!

Janinlondon - it is a PLOT! Devised by the generalisers and stereotypers of Class Division! Schools where children are brought up to appreciate the play potential of transforming 3 wooden sticks and a length of muslin into a shadow puppet production of Tosca in their front room will do BADLY and schools where children are experts on Grand Theft Auto from an early age will SHOOT up the league tables and half the conscientious stick'n'muslin families will all move house to get into them, hence solving the problem of some schools seeming more desirable tha others because of SATS results! [conspiracy theory emoticon]

MillyR · 13/05/2009 17:10

Blu, there wasn't a choice. The longer writing task was to write a report on trainers.

But great conspiracy theory.

bramblebooks · 13/05/2009 17:11

Lol, Blu! I'm still in post-traumatic counselling after today's reading task! Only maths to go now.

MillyR · 13/05/2009 17:13

What was wrong with the reading task? Is this something new for me to stress over? DS said it was a good one.

stillenacht · 13/05/2009 17:13

About bloody time that primary ed is not so girl focussed...but anyway, girls do play computer games too....

Fennel · 13/05/2009 17:14

I'm sure I'd fail an assessment based on writing about trainers, I've been musing over it, still can't think of anything to say, especially including bullet points. And I like bullet points.

And I'm rarely at a loss when asked to write about something. But really, trainers.... They are NOT interesting.

Lancelottie · 13/05/2009 17:14

Ah. So my little chap, who decided to make the trainer task into a letter to an imaginary alien friend, may not have ticked very many boxes.

Not a bullet point in sight, from his description.

NervousNutty · 13/05/2009 17:15

Dd1 had the trainer one too, she said it was really boring, and she loves English normally.

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