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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:04 pm 
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This is the first time we have ever received any actual test results/levels from ds school. He has started year 3 and took some NFER tests; spelling was 121, English 112 and maths 132. His teacher said he was an above average reader according to the 'suffolk reading test'. I noticed from the side of his report his teacher had marked 3A for reading and 3C for writing. I asked if those were 'Sats' type levels and she said yes.

My questions are;

1. If he is such a good reader and above average at spelling, why is general English not at the same level? I am concerned about his writing - he really dislikes it and can't seem to get his thoughts down on paper - he is very slow and only using basic punctuation. Do you think we should be looking at some writing support/tutor soon? The advice is to read, read, read but it doesn't seem to be translating yet into better writing!

2. Do these NFER scores remain fairly constant throughout ds primary years or can they improve?

Any advice appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:22 am 
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There are a huge number of nfer tests. Ask them to give you the full test name and the publisher name for each and every test. Then you can look up what these were tests of. I would imagine the English test is a range of things, not just writing. One overall score is probably not much use to you in seeing where his strengths and weaknesses lie relative to the population as a whole.

You could also ask where each score places him centile-wise.

These are standardised scores, but of course unless they deliver them under standardised conditions they are not meaningful scores.

The maths one looks very good. And spelling is fine.

I am sure the english one is pretty respectable too. however, I would guess that the English one reflects what and how he has been taught as much as anything. I would not worry too much about the pieces of creative writing yet but ensure he is comfortable physically when writing, forms letters properly, has good hand and body position when writing, is taught punctuation beyond full stops and capital letters, grammar etc. Some schools teach this all very thoroughly, others seem to think it is cheating to do so and think that everyone should learn by osmosis ( read, read, read) and that those who don't are no good at "writing".

Print off the new national curriculum for English for years 3 and 4. You should see that the obsession with being able to write in umpteen different genres from the age of 5 but not able to spell, punctuate or write grammatically is going out of fashion soon.

If there is something he wants to write at home then try separating out the different tasks. Let him dictate to you and you will see if he can generate a piece of text when the labour of writing is eliminated. Then see what his writing speed is like when you dictate something to him.

Good luck. We are having a really poor year 3 with no permanent teacher in sight.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:17 am 
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Location: Herts
You must be in a prep school or else you would have had Key Stage One SATS results at the end of Year 2.

Creative Writing is something that appears to be taught badly at most primary schools but is critical to success at secondary school.

I am not one of the read , read read, camp. It is not good enough to read unless you are understanding the literary devices that are being used. You need to link reading and creative writing together. I would read with him and get him to have a go at continuing the story at the end of each chapter then you can read the chapter together and see how well he did. DG


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:39 am 
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I have a ds2 in year 3, he loves maths but never reads, did quite well in his Sats ks1, but I'm surprised to hear you're considering a tutor so early. :shock:

I've never had any test results other than Sats. I'm not sure what an NFER test even is.

grgygirl, your ds is doing well - 3A and 3C sound really good for early in year 3.

I'm not sure my ds2 should do extra work now, he's still settling into junior school, and tired from all the extra curricular activities. But they're all different. We have a parents consultation in Nov., I suppose I will find out how my ds2 is doing then. I just think year 3 is a bit early to have a tutor. But that's just my son, and I'm definitely not thinking about the 11+ for years. I'm still recovering from last year. :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:23 pm 
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If the school tells you what centile these results placed in him, and more details of how he did in the various sections of the tests that he did, this might give you some reassurance.

You should be able to get more detail, particularly if you are paying. But I know to my great frustration that some schools are "communication free zones" or that they don't really understand these results themselves either.

Hopefully you will be able to ask at school what they are planning to teach him in English over the next few months and see if you think this is what he needs.

3A for reading and 3C for writing is good for the end of year 2, if these are true national curriculum "measures". Writing generally tends to be lower. What was the maths national curriculum equivalent?

I'd just keep an eye on it - if his writing improves over the next few months (both content, structure, spelling and handwriting) then I wouldn't worry, if it doesn't I'd find out a bit more about what is going on at school.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:51 pm 
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In the words of Atticus Finch - it isn't time to worry yet. :)

Year 3 is a funny year. There's a lot of catching up and consolidating in my experience. Both my DCren spent the first half of Year 3 learning to do comfortably what they could do with help and encouragement at the end of Key Stage 1 SATS (cursive writing, varying punctuation, choosing the correct operation to solve Maths problems etc).

My DS has a friend who has been tutored since the end of Year 2 (his mum enrolled him the week his elder sibling failed to get a grammar school place!) - he doesn't appear to be ahead of the other "top table type" boys although I'm pretty sure he's every bit as bright so I'm not sure what he's gained from it.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:35 pm 
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Many thanks for the swift replies, they have been reassuring!

[b]Mystery[b]I will try to get some more information about the actual NFER tests used. We only have 10 minutes to discuss progress with the teacher at parents evening so I may need to make another appointment. Yes, he is in a selective prep - the class sizes are unusually large (23). Up until now, we had been led to believe that he was quite a way ahead but obviously from his levels/scores (which I acknowledge aren't bad!) we do feel (whisper..) disappointed. I am not too concerned about maths or spelling as his scores were very good on those. However, if the fundamentals of English aren't up to scratch then I feel we are in trouble and as Daogroupie says, the creative writing is crucial to the 11 plus tests he may be taking. His teacher said the 112 NFER level was for writing, grammar and comprehension.

I suppose I feel anxious about this because he has always been a child who never liked imaginative play/dressing up. He much prefers reading factual books to fiction but enjoys me reading to him. My gut instinct for the past two years is that he has a poor working memory and processing skills which slow him down but because he has always been seen as 'bright' and an enthusiastic learner, this has been dismissed by my partner and his school. I worry that people will think I am 'pushy' for wanting him to be assessed/tutored specifically in creative writing/grammar/punctuation and that it's all too early. However, I have seen my nephews go through the 11+ process recently in North London and the levels children need to be at to get to a grammar let alone a 'super selective' are phenomenal hence the 'early' start with trying to support him.

I am trying not to feel disheartened as it is early days, but I feel there is a long slog ahead and am already questioning whether a grammar would be right for him and whether this, allegedly, 'top' school is actually teaching him properly (or whether he's just not 'bright' enough - there, I've said it!!). I don't feel confident enough to go in and question their methods and teaching because I don't know what or where he should be by now really or whether the school is 'adding value'. Can a child who is a 3C for writing/112 NFER English at year 3 start pass for a grammar??

And breathe...!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:15 pm 
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grgygirl wrote:
This is the first time we have ever received any actual test results/levels from ds school. He has started year 3 and took some NFER tests; spelling was 121, English 112 and maths 132. His teacher said he was an above average reader according to the 'suffolk reading test'. I noticed from the side of his report his teacher had marked 3A for reading and 3C for writing. I asked if those were 'Sats' type levels and she said yes.



Am I missing something? Those results for English are perfectly acceptable. In fact, a child scoring those levels at the end of year 2 falls into the category of 'Beyond expectations':

http://www.devon.gov.uk/fostering-natio ... levels.pdf

He's only at the beginning of year 3...

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:40 pm 
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Thanks Stroller - feeling a lot more reassured and calmer :) Just needed a bit of hand holding ...


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