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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:57 pm
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We're in the middle of the rounds of Open Evenings at the moment. DS will be sitting the 11+ in a couple of months, but we visited a local comp last night, where I ran into another parent I know. She has experience of teaching maths and was fuming at the schools policy of streaming pupils from the first term, based in KS2 SATS results. She was telling me that all studies show this has the worst outcomes for all pupils.

I had never really given it much thought, but my friend knows what she is talking about so was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on the matter.

I am far from 100% confident about the 11+ outcome, so our choice of comp may be critical and this may well influence our selection.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:37 pm 
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Location: london
I would have reservations about using KS2 SATS scores to set children because these are a reflection of the school the child went to (as they were intended to be!), whether it teaches to the test etc rather than the capability of the child. That said, I am similarly fuming about our local comp which does not stream for maths at all, really! :evil: I would have thought that they could get a pretty good idea of the childrens' capabilities during the first half term and set thereafter. However, in both instances I suspect the decision to stream or not to is a philosophical/political one and wonder whether your friend would be any happier if they left it 6 months before streaming them. I have heard strong arguments in favour of either way but in my experience the viewpoints held are a reflection of the abilities of the children concerned, rather than holding any educational merit.

_________________
mad?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:27 am
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Location: Barnet, Herts
My DS was setted after the first half term when they had their first exams.
They have exams now in January and June and sets are adjusted accordingly.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:48 pm 
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Location: Berkshire
I think in a school where there is mixed ability, it is absolutely necessary to set the children in subjects such as maths because there will be a large difference between the least and most able. I'm not so sure about setting in a grammar school in year 7 as generally most of the children will be at a similar level on entry.

If you are going to set at the start of year 7 there is surely nothing wrong with using SATS levels as a way of doing this. My youngest's school has done this and the sets will be reviewed every half term to make sure everyone is in the right place. I have no problem with the way this has been done, and would prefer he was in a class of similar abilities. I cannot see what possible harm can come of it. To use CAT tests at the start of year 7 will also have problems, especially if your child is nervous and not settled yet into their new environment. KS2 SATS may well be the measure of the primary school, but any child who has level 5 in maths say is unlikely to have got it by a complete fluke.

LFH


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:20 pm 
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I understand that it might look like a better system on the face of it, and is certainly easier for the teachers, but my friend was telling me that only those pupils in the higher sets will improve, or (to use a buzz word) have a higher "Value Added" score. Those less able pupils, placed in lower sets tend to drift downwards if anything.

I guess she was suggesting that broader setting in year 7 and probably 8 will help the less able pupils much more than it will detract from the more able ones.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:39 pm 
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Location: Berkshire
Well that may be true, but I think the value added measure could be higher for the less able pupils rather than the higher ability ones, so it would make sense to keep them in a different group and approach their learning in a different way so as to best improve their performance and hence their own value added scores. I think studies have found that teaching in mixed ability groups helps for some subjects, but I would think maths is one where it doesn't work.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
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Location: Bexley
When viewing schools I ask 2 questions:

1. Do you set in maths from the beginning of year 7? If the answer is no -

2. Where's the way out? :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:51 pm
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Quote:
I think the value added measure could be higher for the less able pupils rather than the higher ability ones


Absolutely true - the school is fighting to "break even" with the top set, if it's to show any value added it can only do it by raising the standard of the lower ability pupils. Ask a head...

Mike


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I'm not keen on setting on the first day. One of local GS sets on entry based on SATs and the 11+ exam mark. I think that knowing the pupils is a better way of setting. This can be done after the first half term quite easily if there is a wide enough range of abilities.

Regarding not setting in a comprehensive - one size does not fit all.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Haze, I’d be very interested to know why your friend doesn’t think setting early in Year 7 is a good idea in a school where the ability range may be quite significant – it sounds counter-intuitive to me.

The problem with maths is that it’s a ‘building block’ subject – you can’t move on to the next concept until you have mastered the current one, and a class that is always having to move at the pace of the slowest child is going to contain a lot of bored, frustrated children.

As long as there are constant reviews and genuine flexibility to move between sets on a fairly regular basis, I can’t really see the issue.


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