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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 11:02 am 
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My DD is in Yr 5 and has been struggling with Maths since Yr 2. In her KS1 SATs she got 2A. (She had level 3 for everything else). We weren't worried at the time, but over the last 3 yrs she seems to have progressed well in the other subjects but is trailing behind with Maths. A year ago, (Yr4 -age 8), her science was graded as 4B, Reading 4A, Spelling age 9.1, but Numeracy was 3B / 3A. In a practice SATs test a few weeks ago, DD still got 3A. The teacher says she always does better in TA than in tests. DD is in the top group for Maths (it worries me what the other children are getting, but then they aren't my problem!) I have regularly asked for any relevant extra work to be sent home to help her with, but nothing has ever been sent. Last time I asked if there was anything she could give to help, she said - "Not really - just practice the 4 operations with her" - highly inspiring!

I have taken to buying my own books, worksheets etc , guessing at what is relevant, and feel that DD is making progress already (this weeks SATs will no doubt tell) but one thing that has become apparent is that DD is still struggling to write "9" and "P" the right way around. She used to also struggle with "2" and "S", and still occasionally writes things like "J" the wrong way around. Should I be concerned about this?? Isn't this leaving it a bit late to be "growing out of it"?

A headmistress friend commented that it is unusual for a child to have highly varying scores in science and Maths. If DD was 4B in science a year ago, it would be reasonable to expect her to be 4A or possibly 5 now. Whereas her Maths was still at 3A a month ago.

Any comments / suggestions would be most welcome.


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 5:13 pm 
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Hi Jellybaby - yes this is unusual - there could be a specific learning difficulty that is 'getting in the way'


It could also beea confidence issue - does she know what to do if she is stuck? I don't mean ask for help but how to decode a question.

I'd look at a few question with her ( the first half of a KS2 paper would be fine) and get her to tell you what she's thinking.


KS2 papers on:
http://www.emaths.co.uk/KS2SAT.htm


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 7:25 pm 
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Thanks. I'll give that a go.

I know she struggles with her confidence in Maths - literacy is a completely different matter. A year ago she was coming home in tears saying she was stupid because she couldn't do Maths. So she has been going to a tutor for almost a year, which has helped her massively in terms of her confidence in Maths, and no doubt her marks. I would say she even enjoys it now, rather than putting up barriers. But I still feel as if something isn't quite right, but her teacher is no help whatsoever. It's hard to know whether it's the teacher who perhaps isn't explaining topics as well as she might, or whether the problem is with DD. (Or both!)
I'll try some SATs papers with her myself which might give an indication.


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Sometimes teachers can give help too quickly and the child never gets stuck - helping them get unstuck is really important - do come back if you want to ask more :)


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 9:32 pm 
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The numeracy class is a mixture of 2 year groups because it is a small school, and therefore the teacher must have a wide range of levels and abilities to cope with. I know my daughter says she regularly asks for help, but the teacher rarely has time to get to her. So now my daughter goes to the tutor once a week, and they cover any topics that DD has encountered that week, and struggled with. It grieves me that I have to pay for this, but got nowhere with the school when I tried to discuss it with them. (They had a queue of parents at one point saying the same thing - now many of them have employed a tutor like us, or taken their children out of the school!) I'm hoping a new teacher in Yr6 will be an improvement!

However I still feel that there might be some other underlying issue. I'll do some tests as you suggested, and see how she gets on. Many thanks for your advice - I'll let you know how we get on.


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 11:36 am 
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Sadly I think the answer is that the classes just have a too wide range of ability.
My DD was struggling a little to keep up with the top table in her maths group in year 3 - so we got her a tutor.
By Year 4 she had caught up and had overtaken all the other children in her year.
She is currently in Year 5 and has just completed a test paper at school for KS3 Level 5-7! She has achieved a high level 7 and is now absolutely streets ahead of everyone else. But there are still children in her Maths group getting 3a.
I do think you need to take the matter into your own hands.
I am so glad I got her a tutor as her confidence is through the roof and she isn't phased by tests at all. :D


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 2:48 pm 
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I can't help but agree with you. I've seen my DD make huge progress with her tutor, although there is still room for improvement! It just frustrates me that the school teacher doesn't seem to have any interest in helping me to help her. It would be nice to have some guidance on what topics they are doing etc, but I've come to realise that that is not going to be forthcoming. When I spoke to the head about it some time ago, I was made to feel as if I was trying to start a witchhunt, which was never my intention. I just want the best for my daughter, and for her to have confidence in herself and enjoy learning.

Guest 55 - I sat down with her while she did over half a SATs paper, and she sailed through most of it. She hesitated on a question related to telling the time, which I know is not her forte, and I had to tell her to form some of her nos. better, as for example, a 0 was looking more like a 6, and she had her usual issues with doing "5"s etc back to front. Her thought processes seemed to be OK, but then some of the questions further on in the paper seem more taxing, so I plan to finish the paper with her this week, and see how she copes with that.


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 3:13 pm 
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jellybaby wrote:
It would be nice to have some guidance on what topics they are doing etc,


this is a real problem. We get a load of guff home regarding the topics to be worked on, but nothing concrete. What they've started instead (and this is in addition to being crippled by the at times, quite frankly, moronic demands of the national curriculum) is a series of "layered targets" - whatever the **** they are. Obfuscating jargon enough to tear the teachers hair out. They would be far better sending home the children's books so you could see each week what it is they are struggling with and help accordingly. We have 2 trips in a year to Look At Books, but it's a bit of a scrum and a lot to rush through. Also, I wish they'd run a "course" of an hour or so, explaining how they teach. In My Day we did what I would call the normal multiplication and division, now they do something I have recently discovered is called chunking (basically, for division, you keep taking away sums you DO know from a larger number, and add up all the scraps at the end) and gridding (for multiplication). While snarling at what I see as the absurdity of this system, I am at least relieved to know HOW they are being taught so that I can maybe supplement, rather than confuse by taking over. I understand the thinking behind the chunking, that children learn that numbers can be made up from blocks of other numbers and therefore a large number can be rendered less daunting, but in both instances there are so very many ways in which the whole thing can go wrong. So many slips between cup and ole lip.


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 3:47 pm 
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Your posts are always interesting Milla and I couldn't agree more with your opinion of the national curriculum!
DH is a maths teacher and you really would not want to hear the language here should anybody mention "chunking"!!!!! He feels that this and similar misguided attempts to make maths more "accessible" has adversely affected both the able pupils and those who struggle with maths.
His opinion of the textbook when he recently retrained as a maths teacher after lecturing in engineering would also turn the air blue!!
Most chapters began with a neo-marxist rant about the elitist nature of maths and the elitism involved in the teaching of maths (no, don't ask me, I don't know either!!).

He and I both think that the appalling standards of primary mathematics is part of a wider malaise in that the Government and many teachers want to keep the lid on the nasty "divisive " subject of children's intelligence and the wide variations in it.
It is therefore much better to pretend that all children can be taught together from the same infantile worksheet with just a few extra, not too demanding, questions for the "more able" (the buzz word for this is "differentiation") than to accept that many intelligent children can do VASTLY more than their less able peers even at primary school.


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 4:50 pm 
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If you want to know what they should be learning then use this:

http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcs ... sframework

Each term is split into 5 blocks A B C D and E - hope this helps.

Magwich2 - Your DH clearly does not understand how the new approaches add to the understanding of all pupils - I use grid method in A level Maths to help with factorising polynomials and at GCSE to support the understanding of completing the square.
Why can few adults do long division? Oh, I think it may have something to do with how it was taught! :lol: :lol: :lol:


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