So now levels have been scrapped how will we know what progress our dc are making?

(242 Posts)
MotleyCroup Thu 10-Jul-14 11:30:28

Ds has done really well in his KS1 end of year report. He's coped with a change of school as well as the SATs (his school didn't keep it discrete) and he's making new friends.

Question is, at the end of Y3 what then? If things stayed as they were I would know, by his next parents evening, what (if any) progress he was making. Now how will I know? What will be put in the current systems place?

Why have they scrapped the current system (when I'd just got my head around the meaning of the levels)?

AmberTheCat Thu 10-Jul-14 12:28:20

Lots of reasons for scrapping the current system. Lots of parents don't really understand it, and even those that understand the structure don't really understand what being Level x actually means (I challenge any parent, without googling, to tell me what, e.g. a child assessed as being Level 3b in maths can actually do).

Levels in SATs will be replaced by a 'scaled score' - so if you child achieves a score of 100 they're working at the expected level, above or below 100 will indicate they're working above or below expectations. You'll be told how that score compares with other children in the school, in the local area and nationally.

For ongoing assessment in between SATs, there won't be a single national system. Schools will be free to design their own approach, or adapt one from another school. I suspect eventually most schools will use an approach that lists the national curriculum requirements for each subject in each year, and shows whether a child is meeting or exceeding those (and whether they're meeting any from the following year(s) if they're progressing significantly ahead of expectations).

AmberTheCat Thu 10-Jul-14 12:29:06

P.S. Great that your ds is doing so well in his new school smile

MotleyCroup Thu 10-Jul-14 13:16:10

Amber, thank you grin moving schools was such a difficult decision, especially as DS loved his teacher. He still wants to go back and visit her, which we will in time, once he's settled fully.

Thanks for explaining so well the changes that are going to take place. You're right of course, I'd need to Google (or ask on here grin) for an explanation with regards to what's involved in each current level. Ds school have provided a detailed end of year report explaining what ds has achieved within each subject but without that I'd just know that the level he's reached means he's doing well. I've sent a return letter to his teacher thanking her for such a detailed explanation.

So, level wise, what will they be known as now? Just exceeding expectation or above or below expectation, no letters and numbers?

Retropear Thu 10-Jul-14 14:38:20

Amber the reasons many parents don't know what the levels mean is because schools are crap at informing parents.Our school is however by contrast my sister's school is the entire opposite.We don't get levels ever unless you ask when they are then begrudgingly given at parents evening with zero accompanying info as to what they mean.My sister's school(Outstanding,fantastic results) give them in reports with level descriptors and a shed load of other info on top.She can then go to parents evening fully informed in order to ask questions.

Those of us seriously uninformed are going to be even more disadvantaged.A number gives even less info than we already have.

I hope Gove is going to set up some national standard as regards the reporting of the new system so parents are fully informed and don't ever need to resort to using Google.

neolara Thu 10-Jul-14 14:42:24

Amber - Do you know how schools are going to show progress, not just attainment?

Missunreasonable Thu 10-Jul-14 14:42:25

I think scrapping levels is a positive move. It isn't difficult to see whether your child is making progress. You can tell by the type of work that they are doing whether they are making progress.
I think sats do not always reflect a child's actual ability so hopefully we can have a more accurate way of assessing a child's ability level.

Jellyandjam Thu 10-Jul-14 14:44:25

It's up to schools to decide how they assess now so it's only going to make it more confusing in my opinion.
My children's school is following on from eyfs and reporting emerging, expected and exceeding, however the school my husband works at is implementing standardised tests and will report those scores.

Retropear Thu 10-Jul-14 14:46:45

My DS made "poor" progress one year.I am a former teacher,wasn't told and only twigged when I asked for levels,dug out the scrap of paper I'd written the last levels on I had to ask for and did my own deductions.

Found out on the last day of term (after I had pointed it out )that he had been flagged up.

Poor progress isn't always obvious.

As far as I know everyone's still waiting for DfE!

MotleyCroup Thu 10-Jul-14 15:12:00

The schools within our LA work quite closely together so I'm pretty sure they'll approach this in the same way, although I haven't got a clue really.

PastSellByDate Thu 10-Jul-14 15:12:08

Actually - having been there and done that - it is difficult to see your child is making good progress when:

1) in your home country a child that young wouldn't be in formal education
2) the school keep telling you their working 'at expected level' when they aren't.

I didn't know (although I suspected) DD1 was performing at NC L1 in Y2 until almost the end of the school year - but I knew things were wrong.

I knew that playing a board game like snakes and ladders was difficult for her - she was still counting up each square - whilst friends from nursery were simply adding in their heads.

I knew that she was struggling to read and on reading mornings could hear children reading much better than she was.

But the school kept telling me 'things will pick up next year' - 'she's one of the younger children in the cohort' etc....

I think the reality is that this is an area that isn't inspected by OFSTED and should be.

HOW SCHOOLS REPORT PUPILS PROGRESS DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR

and

HOW SOON SCHOOLS IDENTIFY STRUGGLING PUPILS AND INTERVENE

should be top of the list of things to detect.

As a parent (having weathered 7 years of parent/ teacher/ pupil agreements which have lots of things I MUST do and teacher's only need to try to ensure^/ ^endeavor - and this seems to be the case for the new secondary as well) - can I say that the DofE ought to mandate that whatever system schools adopt that schools MUST explain how progress is marked and how they relate their system to old fashioned national curriculum levels or what is below average/ average/ above average progress in a particular school year.

I get that schools/ DofE/ OFSTED are aware that parents are overly concerned about NC L6/ etc... - but we do need a system that clearly conveys (and early) to a parent DC is failing at reading/ maths/ writing/ etc... and then procedures in place which mean that it may be possible to turn that poor result around.

I don't think my parents knew precisely what I was being taught and when (although my school books did come home - so they could see more of what I was doing) - but I think they got what A meant and certainly were alert to C or F as being NOT GOOD.

The simplicity of that system - hard marker or not - was useful - and whatever is adopted by schools - they need to make it clear to parents what the marks mean in terms of their child as a pupil (weak student/ o.k. student/ good student/ outstanding student).

I personally think moving away from longwinded report cards - to a brief summary against subjects (ye olde fashioned report card) - would constitute less work for teachers (win)/ clearer more efficient communication of key result to parents (win)/ more obvious signs of struggling pupil (win - if then intervention is in place)/ more obvious signs of high achieving pupil - (win - if opportunities to extend & challenge more talented pupils are also put in place).

But somehow I rather suspect this is more about stopping parents from asking too many questions/ figuring out what the gobblygook actually means. And sadly - test results will be out so late (indeed Y6 SATs at St. Mediocre yet to be released) - that parents will only find out far too late in the process there's problems.

Great system if your kid is doing well - but wouldn't earlier and more frequent communication of how a child is actually performing help children?

Sorry - I forgot that was your lowest priority.

mrz Thu 10-Jul-14 17:43:33

There will be progress descriptors but only for the end of each Key Stage (Y2 & Y6) schools have to decide on their own assessment system

LumieresForMe Thu 10-Jul-14 17:46:37

Can someone tell me. If the child is achieving less than 100 then they are behind. Ok.
What about the ones that are ahead? Can they get more than 100??!

LumieresForMe Thu 10-Jul-14 17:47:55

Tbhbut even with children who are doing well you want yo know if they are progressing.
And the school will need to know anyway as OFSTED will ask for progression etc.

MirandaWest Thu 10-Jul-14 17:49:15

Will year 6 SATS for next year (ie children in year 5 at the moment) be under the old or new levels system, does anyone know?

LumieresForMe Thu 10-Jul-14 17:50:41

Next year, SATS in Y6 will under the old system but the following year (children current in Y4) will have the first new one v

teacherwith2kids Thu 10-Jul-14 17:56:29

Speaking as a parent, i don't understand the '100' thing.

I happen to have able children. They could stand still, or go backwards, in many subjects for several years before scoring below 100 [e.g. DS is currently a L8 in Maths, in Y8. He is not 'excpected' to be at that level for several years.]

So what I am interested in is - is he continuing to make the raopid progress he has made to date (l6 in y6, 7 in Y7, 8 in Y8) or has he stalled? I am much less interested in whether he is still 'above expected' - that doesn't tell me anything. I want to know 'above expected - making rapid progress' or 'above expected - slow progress' or 'stopped' or 'going backwards'. Levels, tbh, however flawed, have given me a fairly good handle on this to date.

equally, I know that as a parent of a 'below expected' child, i would want to know 'below expected - falling further behind' / below expected - making expected progress so not catching up but not falling back / below expected - making rapid progress towards expected levels.

Does anythone in the know think that there is going to be such an ability in the new system - so e.g. a score of 90 in 1 year but 95 in the next indicates accelerated progress, while 125 one year and 120 the next indicates falling back?

Meglet Thu 10-Jul-14 18:04:17

I understand levels, I'm dreading them going.

teacherwith2kids same here, how does it work if they're working at a higher than average level confused.

mrz Thu 10-Jul-14 18:25:58

There won't be a score in Y1,3,4,or 5 only in Y2 & 6 if I understand correctly

Retropear Thu 10-Jul-14 18:51:03

Well that is frankly ridiculous.

Parents clearly have no importance as regards being informed of their dc's progress in real terms each year.

Retropear Thu 10-Jul-14 18:55:18

Teacher exactly.

My child who made buggar all progress in a year was able,part of the reason I wasn't informed I suspect.I can see a lot of progress issues swept under the carpet as regards parents with the new system.

Gove is frankly mad,informed parents are a huge benefit.

LumieresForMe Thu 10-Jul-14 18:56:05

How are the teachers going to evaluate hie children are progressing then????

teacherwith2kids Thu 10-Jul-14 18:58:18

Have to say that I agree, Retropear.

As a teacher, I am required to show what progress a child has made each year.

As a parent, I want to know this information, at least yearly and very much more probably termly.

At present, I am able to do both using levels. There are, of course, arguments over tests + APP, the reliability of a/b/c judgements, comparability between schools etc, but a robust LA-wisde moderation system, as used to be in place, could be used to tweak that.

Equally, if the a/b/c thing was thought to be confusing, I have no objection whatever to a simple numeruical system: 1 for 1c, 2 for 1b etc if that would help. or a move to the widely used 'points' system already used for daya analysis.

To scrap the lot is a baby / bathwater move that i have no patience with, in either of my roles.

LumieresForMe Thu 10-Jul-14 19:02:26

Well I think that his point is that able children shouldn't be stretched forward (ie learning things ahead) but sideways....
I really I didn't understand that one right.

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