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Position in the class

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Fleurie, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. I was asked by a young mum why her daughter's teacher would not tell her what her child's position in the class was. Her child is aged 5. Her argument is that she felt in the dark about her own child's ability and had no feel for it. This mother does not have an academic background and probably feels she does not have the tools to measure this herself. She feels very frustrated about it. I don't know if this is what happens in all schools now or just this school. When my daughter was 5, we were told that she had a reading age of 8,
    I would be interested to know how primary professionals would comment on this.
     
  2. I was asked by a young mum why her daughter's teacher would not tell her what her child's position in the class was. Her child is aged 5. Her argument is that she felt in the dark about her own child's ability and had no feel for it. This mother does not have an academic background and probably feels she does not have the tools to measure this herself. She feels very frustrated about it. I don't know if this is what happens in all schools now or just this school. When my daughter was 5, we were told that she had a reading age of 8,
    I would be interested to know how primary professionals would comment on this.
     
  3. Position in the class, my only comment would be "third chair on the right!
    At 5 there isn't a position in the class ( and hopefully never will be!) I would tell a parent that their child was doing well in a certain area, or perhaps needs further support with something but I would NEVER say how they compared to other children in the class ( although by about yr 2 they can pretty much work it out for themselves!)
     
  4. I think that parents have a right to know how their child is doing for their age, but not in comparison with other children in their class.
    (I hope that makes sense)
     
  5. I think parents have a right to know if their child is a higher, lower or middle ability child. I wouldn't say they were ranked 17th in the class, but they should know the ability.
     
  6. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Why not?
     
  7. I would agree with that. You could feed attainment and progress and compare it to national average. That would help them understand what the numbers mean. I too have been asked for a comparison against the rest of class and it ended in a rather heated 'discussion'.
     
  8. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    And what were your reasons for not giving this information?
     
  9. Because it is none of his business how the other children in the class are doing. I feel that he wanted a little ego boost on how well his lad was doing and I was happy to compare that against the national average of progress and attainment but not against the other children in the class. That is a discussion that between me and the other parents.
    Do you disagree then?
     
  10. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Apart from anything else, surely one would have to give several values to indicate his/her position in each of the main curriculum areas?
     
  11. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    To be honest, I'm not sure. I too have always resisted the idea of giving this information, but have never really thought it through. I don't think that the idea of it being none of his business holds any water at all - giving a child's position compared to other children reveals nothing about the other children at all, certainly not on an individual level.
    No, I'd say that the reluctance probably stems from the anti-competitive liberal tradition which is still alive and well in primary schools - everyone still has to be a winner!
    I'm beginning to think I do disagree!
     
  12. It does when he was asking 'Is my boy above Child X?!' Hmm, easy response.
    Having said that, we teach in guided ability groups in my school (rarely whole class) and that allows the children to very easily see where they stand against the rest of the class. There is massive fluidity between the groups (on a daily basis if needs be) so it is far from set in stone for the year.
     
  13. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Yes of course that information should not be given, but that's not what the OP was talking about, which was giving a numerical position in the class.
     
  14. A numerical position for what?
    Are we talking one for just Maths and English or for aspects of these subjects ( you can imagine the conversation "Well, Johnny is 13th in addition, 12th in subtraction, 27th in measure apart from time when he's 5th, 6th in diary writing, 16th in information texts, 2nd in fantasy genre but really struggles in poetry where he's only 27th) Then again, should we be reporting position in every subject, perhaps ( given the child mentioned in the OP is only 5 and could still be in Reception), we should give a position for Dispositions and Attitudes, or Creative development maybe!
    I have no problem with discussing with parents their child's strengths and weaknesses, how they could help, whether there is a cause for concern but I wouldn't want to assign a "class position" to anyone!
     
  15. Because it's not a competition, each child is unique and an individual.
     
  16. My previous post was in response to this question.
     
  17. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Try looking here.
     
  18. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Hmm, exactly as I feared, it is indeed the "everyone's a winner" problem again. I'm not sure, however, why a child cannot uniquely and individually be 15th in the class though!
     
  19. Quite. We simply don't do this this way anymore. This is harking back to the 1950s when my parents were at school and when tests and assessments were heavily numerically based. It's a nonsense in today's education system. I NEVER talk about another child's ability (and tell the parents that it would be unprofessional to do so "of course") but I am always happy to talk in 'thirds' - ie she is working in the top third of the class for maths, and with the middle third for literacy etc etc.
    I always compare to the national average but might, for example, say that this particular class is strong in , say, maths, and that with her peers your child is working well at a good level, or working below most of her peers but above national average.
    All heavily backed up by ongoing assessment, and children change and are moved as they improve/need support.
    Most parents always happy with this cos it's the truth! Numerical position makes no sense.
     
  20. No it's not. 15th by what measure exactly?!!! Be specific if you are using specific rankings. My son, for example, has a county ranking for tennis - based on the number of his wins, losses and competitions. He gets points, he gets ranked.
    I've not met a school that does this yet!!!
     

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