AIBU to think that Effort grades are almost meaningless ?

(90 Posts)

DS has just got his end of Y6 report and it's all good really - phrases like "intellectual curiosity", "creative flair", and "an enthusiastic and friendly member of the class" - so, lots to be proud of and be pleased with.

However he's only been given B's for effort - which translates as "satisfactory" where A's would represent "always working at or near full potential". His sister nearly always got A's for effort. Now they are both pretty much equally bright and both getting similarly good results, but DD is a bit quieter whilst DS is, as the report says, "a naturally sociable boy". The other issue, which they both apparently have, is getting enough done in the time available. I really don't think for either of them this is due to any lack of effort. DD for example has been recognised as having mild dyslexia.

AIBU to think that my sociable boy has been a bit hard done by regarding his effort grades & that schools don't really "get" boys and tend to treat them slightly harshly compared to the girls. Also that anyone struggling at all tends to be given a lower effort grade than those for whom academic success just comes more easily (though this not so much of an issue with DS, though he does find it hard to get enough done in the time, especially with the distractions of friends around him)

And basically that grading effort is a very inexact science which is very difficult to judge fairly ? - and the whole thing is just a bit pants !!

My pleasure Maryz - it's very enjoyable and interesting when a thread gets some thought-provoking responses

All the best to you in taking things forward for your DS

yamsareyammy Thu 18-Jul-13 20:45:40

Thats awful Maryz. And must be immensely frustrating.

cansu Thu 18-Jul-13 20:35:49

Unless you are actually present in the classroom and mark the dc books etc how do you as parents know how much effort your dc are putting in? I just don't understand how you can question the effort grades based on what you think about your dc personalities? surely the person best placed to grade the effort in the classroom is the teacher who has been taking all the lessons. Being sociable is great but it can spill over into doing much less work or actually producing poorer quality work and distracting others. For all those who say isn't it lovely that he likes to talk about his learning etc there will be others who say my dc can't concentrate because the kids on his table chat all the time!

Maryz Thu 18-Jul-13 20:25:11

I would have to kick up a huge stink to meet an individual teacher yams. I have met his year head on a number of occasions, who actually agrees with me but is having difficulty convincing the other teachers.

Hence my escalating it to the head - when I have narrowed my email down to a reasonable length blush

Thanks for starting this thread Juggling - it has given me quite a lot to think about.

yamsareyammy Thu 18-Jul-13 19:44:38

Maryz. I dont know if it is the same as where I am, but parents can make appointments anytime with a teacher. They are quite happy about that.
Once, I made 2 appointments with different teachers, a week or two after meeting them at parents evening.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 19:33:22

At least you know what the teacher thinks-without it you don't.

Yes, that's a fair point exotic
But I'm really not sure a discussion would be that fruitful.
I think it might just be even more annoying
- I think I prefer to discuss them as a more general issue on here.

For DS I think it's largely about perceptions of work done in time allocated.
And he didn't score that badly - just a rather rubbish grading system - report was actually very good overall.

Maryz Thu 18-Jul-13 19:18:56

Yes, that's the idea exotic.

But what do you do when you talk to a teacher, they tell you your child is really trying hard and has improved a lot, but they are still giving him a C because they know he can do better confused

Or that they are giving him a C because he always gets a C.

Or that they are giving him a C because they have to give out a certain number of C's.

It's quite depressing. And yes, I know, it is up to me to fight with the school about their systems and how it applies to my children. But it's hard to get through to all the teachers in a secondary. We get 5 minutes per teacher at the PT meeting, and I really need to use that to talk about his academic work.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 19:16:24

I have found them very useful.
I would have thought that even if you didn't agree it is interesting to know what impression the teacher has and you can contact them and discuss.

Another aspect to raise ....

on reflection, and judging from the remarks, it seems to me that the teachers are reading too much into the fact that DS can do very well at times (for example with a tricky maths problem) but doesn't always get as much finished in the time as they are expecting him to during class-work.

Now, I just think that children do work at different rates and not much allowance or accommodation is being made for this fact.

I am in general against this culture of "every child should be getting a level 4"/ doing XYZ that Gove et al. are pandering to. Children are individuals with their own learning needs and trajecteries.
I was pleased at least that with their recent new ideas they did at least say "Every child excepting some with particular learning needs ...."

(They've obviously been reading and taking on board my recent comments here on Mumsnet grin)

Maryz Thu 18-Jul-13 17:52:08

ds2 does that on a regular basis, according to his teachers hmm

I mean, if he gets good results, he must be listening in class. And doing his homework. Even if he is twitching, rocking his chair and staring out the window.

Hmm, looks like my DS is heading towards that Wuldric smile ...

I think I better keep it to myself that it's considered the ultimate in cool !

(an interesting new angle !)

Wuldric Thu 18-Jul-13 17:17:21

The ultimate in cool, per my DCs, is to receive the top grade for achievement combined with the bottom grade for effort smile

So far, this nirvana has not been achieved.

"Just wondering if "sociable" is the new "spirited" smile

No, not in DS's case, though IMHO (as his proud Mum) he is both sociable and spirited in the true sense of those words smile

Thanks all, some interesting new thoughts ...

Wuldric Thu 18-Jul-13 17:01:04

I have found the effort grades awarded to my DCs, both in secondary education to be accurate and perceptive. I know which subjects they are working hard at, from my own experience of their homework and what they talk about. Their teachers have confirmed my own experience.

With both children, there is a clear correlation between the effort and the achievement grades. It does help that they can see that. We have a reward system chez Wuldric and the reward is based on the effort grade. I think that's fair.

curlew Thu 18-Jul-13 16:48:28

Seriously though, don't you all know exactly how much effort- or not- your children are putting into their school work? I certainly do!

iclaudius Thu 18-Jul-13 16:42:42

My attitude for all SECONDARY school age kids is that I'm only really interested in the effort column
If they are trying their best then the outcome is irrelevant !

curlew Thu 18-Jul-13 16:41:46

Just wondering whether "sociable" is the new "spirited"!grin

FionaJT Thu 18-Jul-13 16:38:30

I also think effort grades are useful. My dd (Yr 3) who is very proactive in class and top of everything in achievement has received 'average' effort grades in her best subject, Maths, because she genuinely 'could do better'. It is good for her to understand that there are things she can improve on rather than her usual attitude of 'I know all the answers so why should I bother'.
At school I got good grades through hard work whereas my sister could just sail through stuff with the minimum of effort. It made a difference to me when my effort was acknowledged.

TeenAndTween Thu 18-Jul-13 16:22:11

I like the effort grades, it tells me something.

With DD2 in primary, I learned half way through the year that her teacher thought she wasn't trying too hard (scored a B out of ABC). We were then able to go in, have the discussion, and determine ways to help her concentrate (eg table on her own for maths so she wouldn't get distracted).

DD1 in secondary usually scores attitude 7 or 6 on scale 7 down to 1. When the occasional 5 has popped up we have been able to discuss what she may be doing / not doing that has made the teacher score as such. This can be good for reminding on behaviour (eg not calling out through sheer enthusiasm, remember to ask for extension work if you finish early), but also whether the teacher needs to be prompted that DD is not good at following verbal instructions and needs to see things written down.

So, yes they are an inexact science, but they do tell you what effort the teacher thinks the child is putting in. So it can be used for a discussion with the teacher / your child if you think appropriate. (or ignore if you prefer).

Thanks exotic - as I said DS's report was just a spring-board for some of these thoughts, which as a one time teacher myself have been simmering for a while.

Basically as tethers says, can we really judge effort in children with any real accuracy?

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 12:12:28

Sorry how not now.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 12:12:08

I think A should be excellent, B good, C satisfactory and you only need to worry about D and E.
That is now I have always known it back to my schooldays.

Maybe it is due to OFSTED changing the definition of 'satisfactory'. smile

What I would consider querying exotic is whether at DS's school they might consider introducing more than 3 levels for effort. They go from A - Always working at or near full potential, to B - Satisfactory.

I'm sure if there was a B - good, but sometimes ...
then he'd get that and I'd be a lot happier.

I'm sure his effort in class is above satisfactory, he's made very good progress in all areas this year, and the report is otherwise very positive in all ways. The comments don't appear to match the grade given to me.

But we've only got 4 and a half days left at primary school now - so I might just go and enjoy next week's end of year show and leave it at that !

I haven't ruled out having a word with his teacher though - we get on very well.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 11:48:40

As a teacher you know who is engaged with the lesson and interested and I think it only fair to give them credit for it. Maybe they find it difficult to sit still, maybe they do struggle with handwriting- it doesn't mean they are not making an effort. As a teacher the children that I find dispiriting are those who don't want to learn- and even worse the ones who want to disrupt others. There are children who can pull out all the stops and get the grades when it matters- I can understand their parents being upset when they get A for achievement but less for effort - equally it is nice to acknowledge that someone who will never get a top grade is trying their best.
DS2 is dyslexic- he was never going to get more than average in most subjects but his reports were lovely because we knew, he knew and his teachers knew that he was A for effort. Those A's for effort were what got him a good job in the end, he deserved it. It would have been simple for him to give up and disrupted others and he would have deserved E for effort had he done so.
If you don't agree with the effort grade you can query it.
I found them very accurate and useful for all my DCs.

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