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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:25 am 
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My child's school just finished SATs exams, a series of English and Maths papers on Monday, Wednesday, Thurs and Friday. All in all about 7 papers - 2 Readings, 2 writings, 2 Math and 1 Spelling. They will have another SATS in May , 2013.

Despite being an "outstanding school" and despite having group streaming where my child is in all the top set groups, I noticed that my child has covered very little of the curriculum in the first half of the term and the teachers are very slow to progress the lessons. I thought, fine, they must know what they are doing. Then in last week's SAT exams, my child finished his math papers far ahead of the 45 minutes allocated time (first paper he finished in 20 minutes and the second in 15 minutes). My child said they were too easy. Its not just my child, most of the top sets also finished early.

My questions are;

1. Why do you think the teachers (particularly the Math top group teacher) so under estimate the capability of these top group children by teaching so slowly, covering so little and setting the exam papers so low level? Surely if they are top sets, they should know they are the most able and should have covered more and faster pace for the top group. (If that's what they think the top sets are capable of, God knows what they think of the lower sets!)

2. Should I see the Math teacher after the half term break (after the results are out) and if yes, how would you approach this issue with the teacher?

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:28 am 
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MyUniMoney wrote:
My child's school just finished SATs exams, a series of English and Maths papers on Monday, Wednesday, Thurs and Friday. All in all about 7 papers - 2 Readings, 2 writings, 2 Math and 1 Spelling. They will have another SATS in May , 2013.


There are no SATS in October. There are no SATS in Y4.

Quote:

1. Why do you think the teachers (particularly the Math top group teacher) so under estimate the capability of these top group children by teaching so slowly, covering so little and setting the exam papers so low level?


Teachers do not set SATS.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:55 am 
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There are 'optional SATS' available for any year in KS2 for teachers to use as an assessment tool.

I won't attempt to answer any more of this question as my views on teachers stretching, challenging, moving on etc young children are already well known. :wink: . I am sure others will be along soon to share experiences.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:58 am 
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daveg wrote:

There are no SATS in October. There are no SATS in Y4.

Teachers do not set SATS.[/quote]


Lol Daveg, yes, Amber is right, most good schools take the option of holding Sats over and above the statutory required KS1 Sats at the end of year 2 and KS2 at the end of year 6. This is provided for in the statute. This is alien to parents with kids in schools that doesn't do this. The school uses the results (together with the CATs results at the start of Y4 ) to diagnose each childs "weakness" and address them throughout Y4,5 & 6. If you asked me if I like the school holding the extras, you bet, it will give me a very useful measurement at the early stage of year 4 for my child. My child scored level 4 in year 3 and a meeting with my child's teacher confirmed that my child is at level 5 standard now and yet it frustrates me that despite that finding, my child and all the other children in the top set are not being challenged..

Amber, I would have to read up on your posts!


Last edited by MyUniMoney on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:11 am 
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MyUniMoney wrote:
Amber, I would have to read up on your posts!
A great use of your time, MUM. :lol:

But in case you have other things to do with your time, a précis: teacher and parent, do not like children to waste time on school work when they are at primary age. Set them free, don't stretch, don't challenge, let them set their own challenges through their play, let them self-direct and have lots of fun. Set yourself free from worrying whether they are level this or that, top table or bottom, working 'to their potential' or not. Let them be happy and learn about the big, big world outside the school gates if they have extra creative energy after a day cooped up in there. Show them that Maths and English are but a tiny fraction of what is worth learning in this world. Get them to level 4 in Year 6 - any higher is unnecessary* . As long as they can access the secondary curriculum when they get there, job done imho.

Plays out well on a forum like this.

I am a creative irritant, I think. I help others feel secure in their opposite opinions :wink:

*unless you live in Bucks and they don't make the 11 plus cut the first time, in which case level 5s will buy you a ticket into the re-sits at 12.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:15 am 
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Firstly - agree with Amber completely.

But to answer the question - the school may be doing assessments because these days a teacher needs proof to show progress during the year. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by formal assessment. I would also look at each question to see if there is a pattern across the group or for individual pupils - questions that are answered correctly or show up problems to inform future teaching.

I should also add that many children finish these assessments in less than half the time - that is not unusual at all and I'm far more concerned about those that fail to finish. Many children consider the optional maths SATs very easy and some do get 100%, but most who finish very quickly do not. Getting 100% does not mean a pupil is gifted. It is for the teacher to analyse the results, look at the working out (most interesting part) and plan the next steps in the teaching of each child.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:14 pm 
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It seems a shame to spend a week testing them when they did that last May too. Why not just do what teachers used to do to work out what to teach the class next rather than a week of tests?

I do like your approach Amber, but it wouldn't work in Kent either as you'd miss the cut for the 11plus unless you were level 4ish in maths by the end of year 4 or year 5 ..... end of year 6 would be too late. OK that doesn't really matter either - but in a county with no true comprehensives the difference between passing and failing is much bigger than in a county with comprehensives.

And no top table bottom table does not matter either on the grand scales of things --- but if it's wrong in either direction it can have an impact on a child's education - and the child therefore ...... it's not quite as straightforward as you make out because how children feel about themselves at school does impact greatly on their well-being without a parent having to say anything about anything relating to school.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:28 pm 
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mystery wrote:
It seems a shame to spend a week testing them when they did that last May too. Why not just do what teachers used to do to work out what to teach the class next rather than a week of tests?


Because any teacher assessments have to be backed up with evidence - now it may be that Ofsted will say constant testing is not necessary - but I have lost track of the number of times I'm asked for the evidence that proves a certain child has made x amount of progress. Formal assessments are the quickest, easiest and least intrusive form of gaining that evidence.

BTW - I will be doing 3 formal lots of testing this year, in addition to APP (assessing pupil progress) which is ongoing. Different schools and possibly different classes in some schools will have different forms of gaining evidence.

As a parent I really wouldn't bother about it and as a teacher and parent I can't bear setting in primaries. They do it at my daughter's school and although I would say this makes it much easier to teach I don't think for one moment it improves the outcomes for the children. Already my DD says she is good at maths but rubbish at English. Actually she is of similar ability in both, but has some dyslexic type problems, which leads to her reading very slowly, so she is in the middle group for English. Terrible IMO - label a child and they will live up to it.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:40 pm 
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Many Primary school use APP (Assessing Pupils' progress) - you don't need tests to use this you just use the evidence in books. Tests are just a snapshot anyway and, unless analysed, don't tell you much that's useful.


Last edited by Guest55 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:55 pm 
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wonderwoman wrote:

As a parent I really wouldn't bother about it and as a teacher and parent I can't bear setting in primaries..


But my child is brilliant, and it really isn't fair that the teacher should have to spend time with the thick and, frankly, working class children who clearly will never amount to anything. I don't know why they wait for 11+, really, the children that arrive at school unable to read Pushkin in the original, as my child could, shouldn't have effort wasted on them. I mean, what's the point in educating them at all? Without plenty of failures to sneer at, how will I ever get the rewards I deserve for having such a clever child and being such a clever parent? They should just set at 5, put my child on the top table and send everyone home, because my child is going to be a doctor and they're all just the feral underclass (cont'd on page 94).


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