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AIBU
32

GrammarTeacher · 15/07/2019 16:42

The KS2 SATs are rigorous. And expect terminology the students will rarely if ever use again in my subject (English). However, the new GCSEs are also rigorous in a completely different way. The standard for a top level performance in English Language is exceptionally hard to achieve in the time constraints of the exam. It's almost like there are two separate departments in the DfE who don't liaise with each other as Secondary English doesn't seem linked to Primary in any real sense. They can't do the things I want them to do but are on paper capable of degree level linguistic analysis! Is this just an English issue, or is it me, or is it the system?
Apologies for quality of my writing, my brain is currently fried from marking writing tasks for GCSE Language!

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MsJaneAusten · 15/07/2019 21:45

I completely agree with you. Pupils must be so demoralised when they get to Y7 feeling like they're good at English, then realise we want completely different things from them than their previous teachers.

I'm lucky as I work in a school where we're really trying to inject a love of English into KS3 (the HOD absolutely will not endorse anything with even a sniff of 'dumbed down GCSE') but it still feels like KS3 is spent trying to bridge that gap between KS2 and KS4.

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herculepoirot2 · 15/07/2019 21:48

Students in Y7 shouldn’t be aware of how “good” or “bad” they are at the GCSE exam skills. They are five years off that exam. The skills relevant to it need to be developed naturally.

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noblegiraffe · 15/07/2019 22:03

The Mathematical Association are tweeting pairs of maths questions and asking which one you think is KS2 and which one is GCSE.

People are invariably getting it wrong.

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cantkeepawayforever · 15/07/2019 22:14

Y6 teacher gave the Y6s a Foundation GCSE Maths exam (albeit under the guise of 'here are some extra Maths questions for you) as a way of keeping up Maths after SATs.

They all did really well; very few questions that they couldn't tackle, and many felt they were much more straightforward and less convoluted than the Y6 SATs papers....

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MsJaneAusten · 15/07/2019 23:15

I think that’s the point @cantkeepawayforever. The ‘English’ (SPAG) skills taught for the KS2 tests are only for the KS2 tests. Knowing what a fronted adverbial is will be of no use in any other situation, unless you choose to study linguistics at university. English GCSEs are much more contextualised (thinking about the effect of language). The two sets of exams don’t test the same skills. Any attempt to show progress is ludicrous.

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cantkeepawayforever · 15/07/2019 23:19

But the SATs / GCSE situation is also ludicrous.

Some of that Y6 cohort will sit Foundation Maths papers in 5 years' time - 5 years - and yet they have been crammed with the content required to take and pass it (almost all got marks which would have got them 4s and 5s at GCSE) at the ages of 10 and 11.

Where is the sensible progression????

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cantkeepawayforever · 15/07/2019 23:29

Also, Ms, AFAIK SPaG isn't part of the progression measurement for KS2 to GCSE? Writing and reading are, as is Maths, but not SPaG?

The assessment of Writing and Reading at KS2 do have a sensible link to GCSE English, from what I have seen from my children's own GCSE papers. The effect of specific language use would be a Reading skill - and then applied in Writing - rather than a SPaG one.

The analysis of Grammar is, i agree, absurd BUT the knowledge of it does, IME, support secure development of writing (up to a point!).

The main issue we have seen is the drop in expectations at Y7. Local secondary has taken to visiting Y6 in primaries, and collecting work samples at transition, and as a result are largely re-writing their Y7 and to some extent Y8 curriculum.

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noblegiraffe · 15/07/2019 23:29

What surprised me is that I have a friend who marks GCSE maths and KS2 maths and she said that KS2 maths is marked way more harshly.

She actually got kicked out of marking a question because she was too lenient and kept giving marks for answers that would have got the marks at GCSE.

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changeitis · 15/07/2019 23:37

I'm horrified at this realisation.

I realised my DD was re-doing most of Y6 maths again throughout Y7. I view this as consolidation for her - maths is a labour for her but she manages. Agree with lack of progression.

Her English is ultra confusing. SATS she got 110/115 for English / Spag. She did CAT tests for her stream at Secondary and is group 3. Of 8.

Her English teacher is adamant she is smashing it at Y7 and already got her GCSE grade 3-4.
There is no correlation and no follow thru on Spag. English is a totally different subject from
primary to secondary as far as DD is concerned.

Now DS is gifted at maths, Y4. He can do whatever they throw at him. Seeing his older sister transfer to secondary, and her repetitive maths content.... Well, if he wasn't bored enough at Primary, then Secondary is going to be a killer.

The syllabuses just don't match !

Why can only MN realise this?

(bloody brexit)

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GrammarTeacher · 16/07/2019 06:05

We don't do dumber down GCSE at KS3. But we do 'prepare' them through high expectations and challenge.
However, despite this focus on writing, their writing has not get better. And they don't enjoy it any more. I'm having to go back over basics.
I don't believe the reading is a good preparation either. My students come in exceptionally good at sporting effects but rubbish at explaining them. The whole set up encourages feature spotting.
The advice is always go to your local feeders but I can't. We have 120 students in year 7s and around 100 primary schools.

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GrammarTeacher · 16/07/2019 06:06

*dumbed

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WhenIsTheEasyBit · 17/07/2019 06:56

SPAG is a nonsense of a test that combines spelling and ridiculously unnecessary technical aspects of grammar. A poor speller can't achieve high marks even if they could answer every punctuation / sentence type / grammatical definition question correctly.

Reading SATS should be more akin to GCSE Eng Lang in terms of skills, but actually is a test more of speed and remembering to include the vital little bits of answers that must be there otherwise the markers can't award any marks. Eg, paraphrase the right bit beautifully = 0 marks; add the words 'in the text it explains ' at the front of the same paraphrasing = 3 marks.

To be considered greater depth in Y6 requires a level of accuracy and clarity that is not only beyond most 11 year olds, it's beyond most adults and leaves many GCSE English teachers gobsmacked.

The combined effect of this 'raising of standards' in KS2? Demoralised teachers and pupils turned off English for life.

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Flurgle · 17/07/2019 07:06

So... what shall we do about it?
Year 6 teacher and yes, it’s insane. But also, I’m going to train those children to jump through those hoops because- why wouldn’t I?
The children who gained Greater Depth in writing in my cohort this year are better writers than most adults I know. Same goes for the top level of “expected” who merely failed to add the required amount of ridiculous punctuation.
What can we do?
I don’t want the tests scrapped- they would be replaced by whole forests of photocopying “evidence” (remember app?). But something needs to change.

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WhenIsTheEasyBit · 17/07/2019 07:13

Is there anyone (eg unions, mental health charity?) campaigning to get rid of greater depth / higher score designation? That would be a start and might halt the arms race a little.

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nonicknameseemsavailable · 20/07/2019 07:37

ok so a little question from a parent of a child going into Year 7 in September is there anything I can talk to her about to help her transfer academically. She got very good SATs results for what it is worth.

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MsJaneAusten · 20/07/2019 14:02

Honestly, the best thing she can do is to read, read, read.

All the research says this not only helps with English performance but with other subjects too.

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nonicknameseemsavailable · 20/07/2019 20:51

great, thanks MrsJaneAusten

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swisscheeseplant · 20/07/2019 21:00

@noblegiraffe I was originally primary now secondary learning support. I felt this year’s foundation maths was an English comprehension test - so wordy, as were some of the science papers.

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CheesecakeAddict · 20/07/2019 21:42

It's not just English. My subject is taught as fun, happy clappy subject in primary. Fine. But then they get to secondary, start below a level 1 and then I have 5 years to turn that around. Even Ofqual have said how harsh marking is for my subject. And the vocab they use is just not accessible for your average kid. It makes it impossible for certain SEN kids or lower ability sets. I've actually started telling parents at year 9 parents' evening to not choose my subject for GCSE for anything below a set 3 (out of set 5) because even though it's based on VA for the school, the kids want a passing grade and some of these kids have not got a chance.

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swisscheeseplant · 20/07/2019 21:44

@CheesecakeAddict. What subject do you teach?

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cantkeepawayforever · 21/07/2019 17:33

I would guess MFL, either French or Spanish as those are the two most commonly introduced in primary.

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phlebasconsidered · 22/07/2019 08:16

I too gave my class GCSE foundation papers the days before the actual sats as a confidence booster. They did really well. It's horrifying. Equally depressing was the moderation for writing -so many of my students wrote wonderfully and to be arguing over minir points gor greater depth is soul destroying when I know they won't half as much in year 7. Similarly, the ony part of year 7 maths that is not year 6 revision is the building on the year 6 algebra. I had 3 students who got full marks in maths this year and they are going to be bored witless.

When I left secondary for primary about 10 years ago the levels and progression was often wobbly. It's worse now, there is very little understanding of what ks2 actually tests or how it should transfer over.

Even allowing for boosters in year 6 and fallback over Summer, there is little trust in the results. Of course, children need transistion time and time to get used to the reduced amounts of maths and englush, but i've been horrified over the past two years as both my children have transistioned at the repetition of almost the entirety of the year 6 curriculum. It seems an utter waste of my time as a year 6 teacher to have pushed the children so far. It has also switched off my ds from maths almost entirely, although it's helped my dd who was always wobbly.

I cannot think of a solution though- my county is now almost entirely made up of academies who are a law unto themselves and there's little parity as it is.

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phlebasconsidered · 22/07/2019 08:17

*won't write as much
Plus typos!

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phlebasconsidered · 22/07/2019 08:20

Aso, this isn't a dig at secondary teachers- when I was one it was the same. I'd get level 8's coming up that were in fact about a 5 and so on. We'd repeat stuff- i'd often be teaching content they'd already know. Sad that things have not improved for either side in that time.

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SoCockneyItHurts · 22/07/2019 08:22

Wow....I'm so glad I home educate

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