Unfair report

(27 Posts)
Charlie2000 Sat 30-Mar-13 17:04:11

My daughter has just received her yr7 report. She is very hardworking and strives to do well. On her report teachers decide whether to put a - + or . The - means unsatisfactory, the + means good and the is for exceptional. The children are given these grades for engagement with learning and progress. My daughter is demoralised after reading her report. It is very positive but in two subjects where her target for key stage 3 is 6a, her attainment is currently 6c and she has not been given * for either. She has done so much extra work at home and the comments say she is enthusiastic in class. She has been top in all assessments. The reason I am writing this is not to say how wonderful she is - I am very happy with + for the areas she doesn't excel in but I don't know whether to question these grades by writing a response on the reply slip we have been given to say that we have received the reports. Salt has also been rubbed in the wound because her friends and 'even the boys' (her words not mine) have been awarded more * than her. She isn't moaning about it being unfair but she is very despondent as all the effort she has put in does not seem to have been acknowledged. What would you do?

Kez100 Sat 30-Mar-13 17:22:21

I'd tell her to not worry about the report because the matters she mentions are subjective - if she is happy that she is putting in her maximum effort and achieving her best, then a subjective + is fine.

Comparing with others is never very helpful as there is almost always someone who gets better grades and assessments than you and you don't know where the teachers are coming from on their reports. Boys often work differently than girls and that does not mean they cannot gain * too for their approach to work.

I'd say, + and * are fine and not to get too precious over the differences if there are no -. Progress to target does matter, and it looks like she is achieveing that.

senua Sat 30-Mar-13 17:32:38

Get her to speak to the teachers and ask what she has to do to improve.

Alternatively, she could ask why so many other pupils are getting 'exceptional'. Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Charlie2000 Sat 30-Mar-13 17:33:00

Thanks for your reply. Being a mum is exhausting! I will definitely use your advice about the boys - I think she is at the stage where boys and girls are different in maturity and she gets frustrated by them but as you say boys excel in different ways. I feel doubly protective of her because I am unwell and she has had to deal with that- it would just have been nice for to feel all her effort had been worth it. I am definitely telling her that!

Charlie2000 Sat 30-Mar-13 17:35:11

Good idea about her asking the teachers - will suggest it to her

creamteas Sat 30-Mar-13 17:42:40

I always take school reports with a pinch of salt. I have had lots with the wrong child's name and/or wrong pronouns used. With the amount some teachers have to write, I would be amazed if they could really remember every child individually.

Plus any grade or assessment is always an approximation, so as long as they are not being disruptive or failing to make progress then why worry.

Floralnomad Sat 30-Mar-13 17:51:45

I'd ignore most school reports unless the teacher has to actually write a comment . My daughter stopped going to school in January 2012, (yr8)due to illness yet in the summer we still received a glowing report full of letters and symbols telling us that she's wonderful , hard working and on target for all her expected grades ! Absolutely staggering since they hadn't seen her for 5 months , fortunately we also got a realistic report from the tutor who does see her .

Charlie2000 Sat 30-Mar-13 18:08:01

I agree with all your views. As far as I'm concerned I know how much effort she puts in, she is a real worker and I'm proud of her with or without an *

simplesusan Sat 30-Mar-13 18:51:31

My dd and her peers were told this by her teachers:
You can only achieve outstanding effort if you are surpassing your target grades.
So it is therefore likely that a child who is targeted as a 5c but comes out with a 5a will get outstanding effort, whereas a child who attains a 5a but is targetted to achieve a 6c will get good effort.

My dd has got good and outstanding effort grades. She is targeted to achieve As. She has been flagged as an orange in P.E simply because she is hitting her target (A) and not exceeding it.

I wouldn't worry at all about it, unless she starts to get unsatisfactoy.

trinity0097 Sun 31-Mar-13 07:00:33

To make it a true reflection you need to compare on a teacher by teacher basis. Teacher X might hardly ever give the highest grade, whereas others might give them more freely, your daughter might have a higher proportion of teachers who expect significant things for the highest grade.

You yourself give a major reason that she is not enthusiastic in class, it doesn't matter how much extra work a child does out of school if they sit and appear disinterested or bored and don't contribute fully they will not get the highest grades!

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 07:59:46

I am sorry but I do not agree with most comments here.

Firstly why should your DD have to ask the teacher herself? She is a child. She should not have to ask.

If you want to know,then ask yourself. If the teacher has been reasonable they will have an answer. If not, then you will have drawn their attention to the fact you read their comments and their * etc. - and thats never a bad thing. It may also be that the teacher simply doesnt have a clue how hard your DD has worked!

But imo it should never be for your DD to ask. You ask if you want to know. Nothing wrong with asking in my view.

If the reply slip is the only way you have of making this contact (or is the usual one) then sock it to them that way. It shouldnt be an issue.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 08:01:52

By the way, I am a teacher - I would take morenotice of a parent asking than a child!

seeker Sun 31-Mar-13 08:11:26

At my ds's school there are prizes for kids who get all 1s for effort. My ds was told very definitely by his teachers in two subjects that he had got a 2 for effort ( good, rather than a 1 for outstanding) and therefore didn't get an Easter egg leven though he had easily beaten his targets because if he had put in outstanding effort he would have beaten them by more!

ll31 Sun 31-Mar-13 08:12:40

surely in secondary, the child should be taking responsibility fot their own learning, performance etc and speaking with teacher is part of that. am unimpressed, that as teacher, you'd take comments of parents more seriously than those of the people you teach.

seeker Sun 31-Mar-13 08:17:10

I think it's a bit much to expect a year 7 to take complete responsibility. And, crucially, to report back accurately. But if it's something that didn't bother me but did bother the child I might tell them it was up to them to find out more. Particularly if it's one of the "but everyone else got *s...." type complaints....

heronsfly Sun 31-Mar-13 08:18:12

I have had similar issues with dd3 now year 9, i did ask what it all meant at a parents eve,because she couldn't understand how she might get a 'could do better' when achieving A/B when some of her friends got an excellent while getting B/C, in her case it was because she wasn't reaching the predicted grades that were set when she took CAT tests in year 7, I think it would help if the grade sheets and marks in senior school were easier to understand.

Loshad Sun 31-Mar-13 11:49:11

I am quite happy to discuss with a student why they got a particular effort grade, and would expect year 7s to be able to do that. It would show me that they are taking an interest in their own progress. I am rather more meh about parents ringing up to quiz me on why their little darling only got an expected effort, particularly when they have never seen them in class.
I have a year 7 child myself and have encouraged him on one occasion to ask his teachers about something similar, including practicising the conversation to help them get a feel for it, good life skill.

Kez100 Sun 31-Mar-13 13:42:49

Ronaldo, I am disappointed that a teacher would take more notice of a parent than a child. I am constantly trying to encourage my secondary school children to be independant of me and, although in this case I would encourage my child not to worry about it, it is still a good example of a situation where it would be most appropriate for a child to start to learn independence if they really wanted an answer.

Her daughter is the one demoralised and who cannot understand why she has not been given a more appropriate grade. This is a prime example of where she could learn to approach a teacher with her thoughts and have the reasons explained to her.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:32:32

surely in secondary, the child should be taking responsibility fot their own learning, performance etc and speaking with teacher is part of that. am unimpressed, that as teacher, you'd take comments of parents more seriously than those of the people you teach

Not in year 7,she is still a child. 11/12 years old is not the age for a DC to be asking.

I am sorry you are unimpressed but I still take the comments of parents more seriously. Pupils say all sorts of things and often its just talk.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:35:33

Her daughter is the one demoralised and who cannot understand why she has not been given a more appropriate grade. This is a prime example of where she could learn to approach a teacher with her thoughts and have the reasons explained to her

And get fobbed off as is most likely the case. That is why the parent needs to ask. My best guess at this is that the teacher just made a decision, not much thought behind it and did it because she hoped either the child wouldnt bother or that it would spur the child on to do more.

That is clearly not going to be the case. Therefore the parent needs to step in. Its what a mum and dad are for. No point in having them if you have to fend for yourself at 11.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:36:41

The parents pay my wages loshash, hence I take note of them!

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:37:10

Loshad, sorry.

Ronaldo Sun 31-Mar-13 16:42:35

Now ,if the child were year 11 or 12 (or even yr 13) I would expect them to be asking themselves but not in lower school.

fairylightsinthesnow Sat 06-Apr-13 14:53:48

When a y7 child asked me why they "good" instead of "outstanding" I showed them my mark book and explained how I looked at their grades across the term, factored in how they are in class and used my judgement and experience to decide. I asked them if they had understood the explanation and were happy. We also discussed how they might look to achieve the better grade next time (though I always emphasise that "good" IS good, not just satisfactory). I usually also ask them to let their parents know they can email me if they'd like a further explanation. I don't "fob them off". Reports are only a waste of time if no-one takes any notice of them, so I am pleased that the hours spent writing them are not futile and can provoke a useful discussion. Sometimes these exchanges result in me having a useful insight into a particular student that can inform my judgements of them in future. Very occasionally, it is also the case that a slip of the mouse has given them the wrong grade and it is easily corrected.

tethersend Sat 06-Apr-13 23:55:02

This is why we need to get rid of effort grades- not only are they completely subjective, they are inaccurate, arbitrary and often used as 'compensation' for poor attainment marks.

It is virtually impossible for one person to accurately measure how much effort another is putting in to a task.

Far too often teachers give a high effort grade and a low attainment, giving a clear message that 'you will only ever achieve this grade, no matter how hard you try.'

There is no place for effort grades in a rigorous assessment system.

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