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Average year 8 level for English?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by trustingh, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Can anyone tell me what level an average child would get in English at the end of Year 8? I understand the levels at primary school but am confused by those in secondary school. In primary school it is expected that a child will make two sub-levels of progress per year but this doesn't seem to follow at least with my son's progress in English since he entered secondary school. He got a 4a in English at primary school, but dropped to a 4c in the autumn term of year 7 and then was given a 5a at the end of year 7 by a supply teacher, who didn't understand the leveling system!. He then dropped to a 4a at the start of year 8 and now at the end of year 8 is a 5b, meaning he has only made 2 sub-levels progress in 2 years, ie since year 6. Is this adequate progress?
     
  2. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    My boy is also in year 8 and I too have been very confused about the levels (I'm EY)
    He was high level 5's at the end of y6 and is now 5a in reading and 6c in writing. We had parents evening tonight and discussed this very thing.
    Apparently the levels for Primary and Secondary don't marry - by which I mean that a level 5 in Y6 is not the same as a level 5 in Y7.
    We were told tonight that 5a is very good and not to worry, that he was learning higher order skills and making good progress.
    Hope that makes sense.
     
  3. Thanks for that, I have wondered if there is a difference between primary and secondary levels in English and that would make sense. None of his teachers have ever mentioned this at parent's evening even though I have voiced my concerns about progress.
     

  4. Two things:
    1. Sub levels don't exist....i.e. there is nothing official about dividing levels etc and in fact OFSTED try to discourage it. They are used by SMT to try to show progress because it might take a year or more to move from say a L5 to 6 and parents and deputy heads who make graphs sometimes get twitchy about this! So 5a is top whereas 6c is bottom.
    2. The levels kids arrive at Secondary School with are often over - inflated. Primary schools obviously work as hard as they can to get the best level for kids in SATs but this often doesn't reflect true ability when they arrive in a Year 7 classroom. I teach in a Secondary with a lot of feeder primaries which are high achieving and it often takes a a while to work out the true level of the kids and we have to switch our sets around at Christmas because some that come in with Level 5/6 are nowhere near that really.

    So as a result I really wouldn't worry about the levels 'marrying' or that there has been a slight movement down. Nationally a Level 5 is the average at the end of Year 9 so it very much depends on the school/stroke kid. As I say I work in a high achieving comprehensive in a middle class area and I would say that a solid level 6 at the end of Year 8 is doing well and a 5a is average to above average. Overall is the teacher is happy I would try not to worry!
     
  5. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    I asked that very question on here last Summer and that was what I was told.
    All the Secondary teachers I have spoken to have said the same.
    It does seem odd though as a Primary bod - Y6 SAT's are national tests. You'd think they would be right wouldn't you.
    Maybe try asking the question at your child's school?
    Or maybe a Secondary bod could help us out.
     
  6. It's not that the levels are different per se, it is just the way they are applied. You are right in theory that they should be a straight ladder up but it just doesn't work like that in practice. Another useful thing to remember is that Levels are designed to be used as an 'end of Key Stage' reflection of achievement NOT all the flaming time! Also I think watching my colleagues that sometimes they start the new Year 7 pupil on the lower end of where they actually are so there is somewhere to go over three years. Remember Deputy Heads like smooth graphs! I think if you ask at school you might get a panicked response, I'm not sure I'd say this face to face with a parent because it would have all kind of reprecussions!!
     
  7. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    Thank you historychick.
    I think you're right about how often our children are expected to show progress.
    A very wise person once said to me 'You don't grow a pig by weighing it all the time'
     
  8. Absolutely, and remember all targets in Stalinist Russia were met!
     
  9. Can you tell me what the main differences are as I'm curious to know, is it the style of English? My son seems to think that KS2 focused more on creative writing, i.e. stories.
     
  10. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    Last year's was an advice leaflet. Much more like a KS3 task. I didn't mark this year, so I can't comment. I'll have a look at last year's mark scheme, but KS2 marks handwriting and has a spelling test, whereas KS3 didn't have either. There were only 4 marks out of 100 for spelling at KS3 and most pupils got 2.
    Oddly, the NAHT is complaining about inconsistency between the marking of papers this year, but at KS2 the same marker marks all the tasks, whereas as KS3 you mark either reading or writing.
     
  11. I'm responsible for KS3 English and also work with transition and we've had a lot of problems with this.
    There is a difference between KS2 & KS3 level 5 and the SATs test aren't always marked that well.
    But there is often a dip between the end of Y6 and the start of Y7. It's sometimes as simple as having 6 weeks away from education or the fact that in KS3 we assess on different things. English is broken down into 3 parts: Writing, reading and speaking & listening. The report level should be an average of all 3 of these, so if your child is naturally weaker in one area that will have an impact on their overall level. Also, reading in KS2 is different from reading in KS3. In KS2 it's more guided reading and understanding the novel / text, from my understanding. Whereas in KS3 it's more about analysing the text. This means that students come into Y7 with a wealth of knowledge and experience with the writing but really struggle with the reading as they're not used to the depth of analysis we're after. I would like to point out that this is <u>not</u> a fault of the KS2 teachers, more the weighting the SATs exams put on writing and the emphasis put on results for KS2.
    In terms of progress, students should make 2 levels of progress in KS3. This equates to 2 sub-levels a year. However, some schools will adjust this to suit the child to make realistic targets once they know CAT scores meaning the idea of 2 sub-levels a year could go up or down.
    Hope this has made some sense and explained it a little.
     
  12. "In terms of progress, students should make 2 levels of progress in KS3."

    That's very interesting, my son therefore has a long way to get from a 5b at end of year 8 to a level 6a by the end of year 9. From what you say he looks as though he is underachieving.
     

  13. Progress isn't always smooth...from end of Year 8 to 9 I have seen a lot of kids go up whole levels easily (probably 3-4 sub levels for those of you who like these things!). Maturity, things clicking etc make a huge difference.
     
  14. Fingers crossed then! Thanks for that.
     
  15. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    (Just a Post Script. There's nothing especially standardised about the end of key stage tests. Sometimes people think that because they believe the myth that thy're called "SATs" or similar. They're not. I've been told on another thread not to say this because "everybody knows" it but I'm not so sure that that's true.)
     

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