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Interesting comment: whats your opinion? Personally i couldnt care less about the levels if I know the children are having fun and making good progres

Discussion in 'Primary' started by SIRFRANK, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. From another thread which really got me thinking from lots of angles..
    Mainly, that when I first started in primary teaching I probably felt the same and more than likely came across as a complete pra.t to the DHT who used to ask me about data and pupil progress and thats what I said.
    Nowadays of course having sat through more pupil proress, attainment reviews then I can remember..its pretty obvious that cant be the case. Schools are categorised on results, ofsted reports written on them, parents increasingly looking to that to be the main concern about their child s education (and rightly so)
    Coming back to my first point Im surprised I wasnt disci;ined really as in fact it is my job to care about levels and pupil attainment
    then I thought about the amount of classes that I have had to clear up from colleagues who 'didnt care about levels' -the result? all children were at least a year behind and KS2 children were still receiving a KS1 curriculum
    I suppose in summary it dangerous to think there are practitioners out there who still hold onto this view about standards who I assume cant or wont take on baord the immense damage and knock on effect such an attitude has on a childs educational career

     
  2. From another thread which really got me thinking from lots of angles..
    Mainly, that when I first started in primary teaching I probably felt the same and more than likely came across as a complete pra.t to the DHT who used to ask me about data and pupil progress and thats what I said.
    Nowadays of course having sat through more pupil proress, attainment reviews then I can remember..its pretty obvious that cant be the case. Schools are categorised on results, ofsted reports written on them, parents increasingly looking to that to be the main concern about their child s education (and rightly so)
    Coming back to my first point Im surprised I wasnt disci;ined really as in fact it is my job to care about levels and pupil attainment
    then I thought about the amount of classes that I have had to clear up from colleagues who 'didnt care about levels' -the result? all children were at least a year behind and KS2 children were still receiving a KS1 curriculum
    I suppose in summary it dangerous to think there are practitioners out there who still hold onto this view about standards who I assume cant or wont take on baord the immense damage and knock on effect such an attitude has on a childs educational career

     
  3. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Couldn't agree with you more. The focus has to be on a child's progression and this is invariably measured in levels. This doesn't mean that you can't have fun and enjoy learning at the same time.
    I too read that comment and had the same alarm bells ringing in my head. I am currently 'mopping up' a year 4 group, half of which are working between level 2c and 2a. The teacher concerned (whos mopping up I am doing) has been moved from class to class because of poor progression in children's learning. It's not fair on the children or the parents who trust us to educate their offspring.
     
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I can't stand it when teachers say 'Oh I had a lovely lesson. Don't think the children learned anything, but they had fun and that's the main thing'! NO IT ISN'T!!!

    Fun is the main thing out in the park with your mates. Fun is the main thing on holiday. Fun is the main thing at weekends.

    Fun is NOT the main thing at school or work.

    I had a student teacher with me in year 6 recently who said 'Oh I don't think I want to be in year 6 when I qualify, you have to worry about what they're learning all the time'! EEEEEKKK!
     
  5. Ok, first of all who on earth ever says that?

    Secondly, I'm certain children learn better when they're engaged and heaven forbid having 'fun'.

    Thirdly what learning are we measuring here? Recall? or Application?

    Finally, how are you measuring it? Exam? App? Teacher assessment?

    Progression is the most important thing and surely that only ever comes from engagement?
     
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Several teachers in a school where I only stayed a year! That was the general ethos of the school. Obviously NOT a 'good' school.

    Learning and having fun at the same time are obviously absolutely fine. But when people say 'Oh they had such fun, but they didn't learn' it IS worrying. If there needs to be a choice (and sometimes there does) then learning needs to take precedence.
     
  7. Well then the issue is not learning OR fun is it? It's always moving forward with enjoyment, I'm convinced if there is no enjoyment then very little learning takes place and again a wider question is created - what do we expect our children to achieve upon learning school - is a level four SAT really a good summation of their primary years? Not much good in my opinion if they still spell went with a 'h.' We need to trim the learning down and start focusing on consolidation.
     
  8. A question of balance I feel.
    The worry now is that levels is all some people care about. They are certainly useful but they do not tell the whole story.
    Lets start using our brains not just our pupil tracking programs.
     
  9. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I read that comment too.
    We've just had progress meetings. It was rammed home to me that there are some children who have not progressed at all since KS2 tests (I'm Year 4), so my brain is in overload trying to work out how to make changes and help them. How else could I have seen that so effectively than by having levels in front of me?!
    I suppose I'm in the camp that wishes we didn't have to worry about children's levels, but does anyway. And I do get satisfaction from seeing them progress, and knowing a particular strategy has worked for a particular group of children. So, scratch my initial thought. What I really mean is, it would be nice if I didn't have to worry about the levels of the kids in my class, but I do and enjoy seeing them progress with my help.
    Oh dear, it sounds like I'm contradicting myself!
     
  10. mprimaryz

    mprimaryz New commenter

    The levels are pretty pointless at the end of the day. How often do we start the new year in September looking at the previous years tracking going "no way is that kid a 3a blah blah blah"

    Yes we want the children to progress and yes on the whole they all do. Some lots some not so much. Having a sister
    working in secondary she too says "no way is that kid a level 5 blah blah blah".

    We're all obsessed with statistics so not to make ourselves look bad but also to put other staff members down. I'd rather have a fun lesson anyday. Odds on that the child will learn from it.

    When I was in primary school there was no such things as sats and tracking to the extent we have now. I loved my lessons and I (along with my fellow peers) turned out alright.
     
  11. This thread is of particular interest to me because as a newish teacher in year 5, I am totally confused about the accuracy of levels. I have a class of kids who range from a 4c to a 2b. I am supposed to achieve two sub-levels progress for two thirds of them. BUT...this far in, only about 12 have made a single sub-level according to their latest test. Several actually appear to have gone backwards! My school places a very big emphasis on the test results and the reasoning for their lack of/slow progress is that their learning isn't 'deep' - i.e. what they have learned to do in class, they cannot replicate on a test at a later date. There are also the usual issues with applying methods and knowedge to test questions.
    I had similar issues with my maths group last year and am really worried that I am just teaching maths really badly! I can't explain what's happening otherwise, or what I should be doing about it. My own gut feeling, is that several children had unrealistic levels at the start of the year, and that many just can't apply themselves in a test situation.
    How do other people measure maths levels?
     
  12. I think the consensus here is that it is your job to actually care about pupil attainment and progress whether you think of it as levels as not. Try saying at an interview you couldnt care less about levels of attainment and see how much longer the interview lasts
    I once worked with a fluffy bunny LSA who thought everything ahd to be fun and child centered and lovely and nice, and would spend an hour per lesson preparing whizzy resources
    Believe me, she soon chnaged her opinion when every lesson had to be planned, resourced, assessed, behaviour managed, marked and be consistently good-and then when she had to justify her assessments aainst end of year targets
    Cant actually beleive there are still some teachers where 'fun' and the 'kids loved it' are genuine reflections and annotations
     
  13. <font color="#333333">In life there is a time for working and a time for having fun. It&rsquo;s great when both occur simultaneously and this can sometime be the case - but not always. Primary schooling is about acquiring basic educational skills and the &lsquo;Levels&rsquo; are indicators of the extent to which these skills are (or are not) being acquired. They are no more but also no less important than that. The child who fails to acquire basic literacy skills will be less able to express him/herself and may find expression in other less positive ways which is why.a very high proportion of all prison populations are illiterate. The Levels should not be worshipped in their own right. They should never be published outside a school &ndash; they should inform teachers and head teachers as to the effectiveness or otherwise of the strategies they are using.</font>
     
  14. Cant actually beleive there are still some teachers where 'fun' and the 'kids loved it' are genuine reflections and annotations

    When teachers comment that the children 'loved' a specific activity, what they really mean is that the particular activity motived them and that's important. We all know that its impossible to stay motivated all of the time.


     
  15. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I am presuming that primary has been spared external tests until end KS2 because people understand that children's performance in a test situation on one isolated day does not always accurate represent their knowledge and understanding of that particular subject. And I presume this is also why teacher assessment as well as test results are sent on to the secondary school.
    One can have "deep"knowledge of a subject ( terminology that an earlier poster used) but be poor at sitting tests. Some children take more training than others to sit a test well, and others will be always be beset by poor concentration, or performance nerves, or something else that will always marr their test mark.
    It would be bad teaching if you kept the child who understood the stuff but did not demonstrate it well in the test situation "behind" and on low level material all the time because of this.
    And there are things outside the scope of the NC tests that it is great to cover. So you can surely still be obsessed with levels etc, whilst understanding this is not the be all and end all, and get the best levels you can for kids, and the "added value" too. But if you're not having your best shot at getting the highest levels for your kids that you can, you're doing them no favours no matter how much other unmeasured "added value" you provide.


     
  16. I just could never understand the teachers who didnt care about standards, who did they think they were doing any favours? themselves at perf management stage? the school? the parents? the kids?
    In short nobody benefits from a child being way behind not able to access an age appropriate curriculum I wouldnt have thought
     
  17. I must be a horrible teacher then as I quite often reflect (talk about in the staff room) on lessons like this. I think the difference is that I won't teach it in the first place if I don't think the children are going to learn something. It also doesn't mean that this is the sum total of my reflection or evaluation of the lesson.
    I think the problem with levels is that some teachers focus only on what can be measured through 'levels' and forget the need for breadth, extension of the top end, the need to teach children how to think independently (not spoon feed) and behaviour and emotional support.
     
  18. Fun or not, you should plan each lesson knowing what each child is going to learn, make sure they know what they are to learn and assess during the lesson how well they aredoing towards that learning and at the end, have they achieved that learning.
    Learning can be fun too - that's what can make the difference in how much children enjoy learning. The challenge is to make learning irresistible!
    But some things can't be made enjoyable - they are just essential, and children should understand that, and that to make progress, they will need to pass certain steps and stages.

    In general .....!


     
  19. Tests and assessments and therefore 'levels' are an inevitable part of the Educational process. The child with only limited mastery of the basis educational skills can never have true independence. Low 'levels' of competence prevent children from accessing information and creative experiences not accessisble by any other means. For these reasons we have to know how successful or unsuccessful we are in teaching these skills so that we can adjust our teaching to make it more productive. Levels are the rungs on the ladder to the successful acquisition of skills. And we should not forget that the acquisition is skills, unlike the asimilation of concepts, in not dependent on IQ.
     

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