# Calculating

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Emnemz, Mar 8, 2011.

1. ### Emnemz

I would like to hear what other children's centres/schools do to help assess their children's knowledge of calculating.

I am really struggling to find child initiated observations of calculating. My Reception children can do simple calculations with me either on the carpet as an input or during a small focused activity but I never see them doing it in their play. If they are playing and counting something I can steet them in the firection of calculating but this is still adult initiated.

Help!

2. ### Emnemz

I would like to hear what other children's centres/schools do to help assess their children's knowledge of calculating.

I am really struggling to find child initiated observations of calculating. My Reception children can do simple calculations with me either on the carpet as an input or during a small focused activity but I never see them doing it in their play. If they are playing and counting something I can steet them in the firection of calculating but this is still adult initiated.

Help!

3. ### mystery10Occasional commenter

I'm not an early years teacher, so hopefully you will get the correct answer soon. But can't you make this part of your 20% adult initiated observations? As a parent it has always seemed unlikely to me that in nursery or reception you would get enough child initiated stuff on the calculating elements of the profile for it to be a true measure of what the child can really do.
Who actually checks this 80 / 20 split? And who checks whether something was child initiated or adult led? Some things are rather in the grey middle-ground aren't they?

4. ### MszEstablished commenter

The moderators!

5. ### carrotcat

Maybe you should do your calculating activiites in the continuous provision areas so that children are likely to try it out in their independent play.

7. ### Emnemz

The adult initiated stuff IS the 20%. I'm just not seeing any of the 80%. And like Msz said, the moderators will check. Not to mention year 1 staff who look at the points scores to analyse their new class and their ability. I can obviously verbally tell them what calculations they can and can't do with me but this is no use if the points are to be achieved with an 80/20% split.

I feel like I'm letting the children down because I can't give them the point. I'm going to talk with my staff and see if we can think collectively about how we can enhance maths talk and calculations but anyone with any tried and tested ideas your views would be very welcome!!

8. ### mystery10Occasional commenter

OK, is there really something written down that says that the 80/20 split has to be applied to each individual area of the profile? I thought it was 80/20 overall, so you could reserve most of your 20% AI for the calculating couldn't you?
Who are the moderators? If they are LEA advisory staff, aren't there fewer of them now in most LAs following the spending cuts, so won't they be looking at a smaller sample of work than before? Do they really in reality split hairs like this or is this another thing you are told but that might not turn out to be true in practice?
And what happens if your scoring really does fail the moderation process? Does it actually matter? I can't see it makes one jot of difference to the calculation education you have provided to those children whether you know they can, for example, add 3 + 5 by a variety of methods because you asked them to, or because they decided to do it for themselves in baking game in the sandpit that day and luckily you happened to be watching and listening at the time.
I am sorry you seem to have been landed with this infernally stupid system of assessing children.

9. ### mystery10Occasional commenter

But in a direct reply to your original post, at my children's school it didn't get assessed in a fully evidenced way for all children - I say this because I looked regularly a few times on my daughter's file / learning journey / whatever you call it a few years back and there was almost nothing on the calculating section, and we were returned a file with written obs on at the end of the year and there were hardly any. When I found out the profile scores the next year there certainly was not anything on the file to justify the score.
Do the moderators pick children randomly for moderation, or can you do something to make sure they only see your well-rounded sets of observations?
It's such a stupid thing you are having to go through, because you could fly through moderation with low profile scores for all your children because this would be easy to evidence, but what good would you have done for man or beast in reality?

10. ### Emnemz

Evidence doesn't have to be formally recorded though so they might not have written anythng down.
Yep they pick children at random to look through profiles, assessments as well as observing them together.

11. ### Emnemz

No, it's 80/20 for each scale point.

An adult-led activity is an activity defined, structured and delivered by an adult to a
child or group of children. It focuses on the direct teaching of skills and knowledge
with a specific objective in mind. An adult-directed activity is an activity defined by an
adult that focuses on a specific objective that the child may complete independently
or with adult support. In both cases, it is the adult direction to complete an activity
that defines it as adult driven. Although this is a key element of practice in EYFS
settings, practitioners need to ensure that no more than 20 per cent of the total
evidence for each scale point is gained from this type of activity.
The remainder
of the evidence should be drawn from knowledge of the child, observations and
anecdotal assessments. Practitioners are neither expected nor required to create
onerous systems in order to demonstrate this, but need to be aware of this ratio
when considering the evidence in order to finalise their EYFS profile judgements.

12. ### marymoocowStar commenter

Our moderators told us that some points including calc were harder to gather evidence in CI so said it didnt matter if we didnt have much in the way of CI obs as long as overall it was 80/20. Have you tried playing some board games with the children as a focus activity and then leaving it out for CI time. We often get obs when they recreate the game and language on their own. I sometimes do post it obs of focus activities and you cant tell whether they are CI or AI activities as there isnt room to write much. Naughty but I refuse to be a slave to this rediculous system!

13. ### Emnemz

I think it's a ridiculous situation too. Just because a child doesn't choose to show you something they know doesn't mean they don't know it!
I've been promoting calculating everywhere this week, I think my class will be sick of me going on about it by Friday hehe!

14. ### mystery10Occasional commenter

Oh thank goodness there are so many of you take this view. I have always suffered the opposite for both my children in nursery and reception - if the child does not go and do whatever it is right under the teacher's nose at a point when she is ready to observe your particular child, then it seemed to be tough, she can't do it. But then, it would seem from the profile scores I obtained the following year, she must in the end of taken a pragmatic view, certainly in the calculation area, and just gone with her judgement (or maybe what I had told her my child could do as I really don't think my child would have performed any spontaneous calculations for her that year).
Other areas were rather low in the profile - it gave me a good laugh. They would probably have passed moderation with flying colours, but really no description of the child at all. My child is the type to scribble on a bit of paper at school, like a baby, play in the sand or junk model with endless rolls of sellotape all day, and then come home and write a diary or do a painstaking picture that takes at least an hour to complete beautifully and to her satisfaction. Not the kind of thing you sit and do in a reception classroom where there's lots of distraction and everything broken up into short time periods.
You don't see the whole of a child at school - you see them do the opposite of what they do at home quite often, because children like and choose variety.

Sorry I'm just a parent so might have got this all wrong.

15. ### Emnemz

At parents evening I had a mum who said her boy loved to draw pictures and write stories at home - he has never once done this at school, he spends his time running around outside and having fun in the sand and water! I think I would too if I were him haha.

16. ### mystery10Occasional commenter

Yes, well I think that it all depends on the personality of the child etc, not how "academic" they will turn out to be. There are few people who would sit down at a party and read a book or write a chapter of their next novel. But that's not to say they don't enjoy reading or writing - they might even be professors of English Literature or novelists. In a way, some early years classrooms are expecting children to choose to sit down and do the equivalent in the middle of a party.

17. ### Leapyearbaby64New commenter

So true. I have a boy who is reading and understanding better than some of the Y2s he does his guided reading with. He can write sentences correctly punctuated when asked to. I've have NEVER seen him reading or writing during CI time as out of choice he prefers to make models, play on the climbing equipment or leap about with his friends playing Ben 10. It's back to assessment informing Y1 teachers. I'm going to score him in those points because I know he can do it. S*d the rules and s*d the moderators. Common sense needs to kick in at some point.

18. ### lilyput

You are so right about the 'grey space'. If you push the 'official' advice to one side and then consider what is right you should get a system where assessment is done using a variety of strategies and methods including:
Adult directed - focussing children on a particular objective or skill whilst children are playing
Child initiated - children using the resources available (or asked for) in their own play with no adult involved
Other - including info from parents, childminders and other staff in school (we used obs from lunchtime staff too)
The balance would be proportionate to the type of objective . For example PSED obs are so easy to get during CI but calculating or linking sounds to letters much more difficult. So for those the balance may need to be different.
As long as you get a clear, true picture of what the child is capable of and in what context (there may be a pattern that needs consideration) then as professionals we should be using whichever balance is appropriate.
I remember being chastised by a moderator for putting cut out shapes (circles, squares etc) on the creative table although we were looking at shapes at the time. The children could do with them what they wanted but I was told that this was an 'adult interpretation of a shape' and would stifle their creativity. I nearly choked. 'A square is a square' I said, 'how do I cut up the paperso that it isn't a shape?'No answer - a lot of these ideas only hang around because nobody questions them. I think it is the same with the 80/20 - it's really important to see what a child can do in their play but other strategies must be taken into account.

19. ### Emnemz

That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. How ridiculous is that?! I bet every child who used those shapes made sometime different, using their own sense of creativity and skill. Bl**dy hell.

20. ### lilyput

And it was exactly that that helped me to work out how I wanted to work as a teacher - the stupidity of it really opened my eyes and they have stayed well and truly open so I now question every similar statement or suggestion that is thrown my way. I know I'm not perfect but somebody has to stand up to these ridiculous demands and use their professional judgement and common sense. Ironically, since then not one moderator or advisor has done anything similar, however we are due an ofsted anytime soon so bring it on!