1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Setting - high, middle, lower ability, NC levels

Discussion in 'Primary' started by mystery10, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    A friend of mine has a child in Year 2 at a primary school who groups the children (within the same class) as high, middle, lower ability. They are in the same group for all aspects of literacy and numeracy. The groups determine the work they are given in class (apart from the whole-class teaching aspect) and also determine the homework.
    She is concerned because her child was teacher assessed as level 2cs at the end of Year 1 in literacy and numeracy, but is in the middle group in Year 2. Child had reading age of over 8 years at beginning of Year 2 and has early May birthday.
    She's concerned that if child stays in middle group throughout school, she will not achieve level 5s at KS2 (as the are above middle?) but if you project level 2c at end of Year 1 forward to end year 6 at 2 sub-levels per year (average progress?) you end up with Level 5b as follows:
    year 1 2c
    year 2 2a
    year 3 3b
    year 4 4c
    year 5 4a
    year 6 5b
    I see what she is saying and it puzzles me too. Can anyone explain this one please?
    I also wonder how the setting works. The notion of being in the same group for everything puzzles me. At the primary I help out at, they are in different ability groups for guided reading, spelling, writing, numeracy. So a child with different strengths could be in 4 different groupings.
    What do you think of these two methods of setting? I have a secondary teaching background, and a primary volunteering role, so it's all double dutch to me!!


     
  2. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    A friend of mine has a child in Year 2 at a primary school who groups the children (within the same class) as high, middle, lower ability. They are in the same group for all aspects of literacy and numeracy. The groups determine the work they are given in class (apart from the whole-class teaching aspect) and also determine the homework.
    She is concerned because her child was teacher assessed as level 2cs at the end of Year 1 in literacy and numeracy, but is in the middle group in Year 2. Child had reading age of over 8 years at beginning of Year 2 and has early May birthday.
    She's concerned that if child stays in middle group throughout school, she will not achieve level 5s at KS2 (as the are above middle?) but if you project level 2c at end of Year 1 forward to end year 6 at 2 sub-levels per year (average progress?) you end up with Level 5b as follows:
    year 1 2c
    year 2 2a
    year 3 3b
    year 4 4c
    year 5 4a
    year 6 5b
    I see what she is saying and it puzzles me too. Can anyone explain this one please?
    I also wonder how the setting works. The notion of being in the same group for everything puzzles me. At the primary I help out at, they are in different ability groups for guided reading, spelling, writing, numeracy. So a child with different strengths could be in 4 different groupings.
    What do you think of these two methods of setting? I have a secondary teaching background, and a primary volunteering role, so it's all double dutch to me!!


     
  3. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I don't see why the child would stay in the same group throughout the school. I make my own groups when I get my new class based on how I feel they should be grouped. I imagine this child will move around over the next four years.

    The two sub-levels progress is slightly above what the National expectation is (I think). I know some schools set this target but children are, as far as i'm aware, expected to make an average of 3 points progress a year. If the child is a 2c at the end of year one they would (and you have to remember 4 years is a long time) be looking at a high 4 maybe low 5 by the end of Y6.
     
  4. It is illogical to have a child in the same group for everything; why should a child who is working below their peers average at reading be assumed to be working at the same level for maths?

    I teach Year 1. I group children separately for Reading/Phonics, Writing, Maths. These groups are not set in stone; children learn at different speeds and not necessarily in a uniform way. For example, a child could suddenly seem to "click" with reading and make dramatic progress meaning their work would need to become more challenging. Also children can work at differing levels within a subject; why should a child who struggles with addition also struggle with sorting and classifying shape, or making patterns?
     
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thank you for all the answers so far. Yes, I can't see why anyone would want to put children in the same group for everything. Anyone who does that, please can you explain the benefits? And also I don't see how a "global" ability grading for maths would be useful - agree with teejay that there is a world of a difference between say rapid recall of mental arithmetic facts, and understanding of concepts in the different national curriculum areas of maths.
    At secondary level one is forced through timetabling issues to have children in non-ideal sets / streams / groups etc, but at primary when you're with the same teacher all day I can't see a reason for crude groupings.
    Also, I would like to understand a little more about "average" or "rule of thumb" progress through national curriculum levels at primary school.
    What info would you give to a parent whose child had gone down from say higher to middle group, or middle group to lower group? Would you expect to tell them about the weaknesses on which your judgement was made so that you or parents could work together on those areas where presumably the child's progress has slowed down relative to the others who have stayed in the same group or moved up?

    With thanks
    Thanks
     
  6. Hard to judge what is going on without a clearer view of the cohort. the child may be in a particularly high achieving cohort where many of the children are expected to reach secure L3 at the end of Y2.
     
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The DCSF stated, in its August 2006 advice on target setting, that, at Key Stage One, “Children should generally make at least 1 level progress per year across the key stage”.(so 3 sub levels per year)
    http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/ts/docs/guide2.doc
     
  8. That's for KS1. For what it's worth (and I know some people find this whole thing arbitrary and pointless), the expectation is that children in KS2 should make 2 full levels progress across the key stage (minimum "age-related expectations" being 2b to 4b); as Milgod suggests, this is 6 sub-levels divided by 4 years = 1.5 sub-levels progress per year for satisfactory progress. So yes, 2 sub-levels every year in KS2 would be slightly above that.
     
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    yes the child is in KS1 unless Y2 has moved Key Stages and someone forget to tell me
     
  10. And, of course, "1.5" sub-levels doesn't actually exist as a measurable amount of progress; one of the many ways in which this system asks you to fit square pegs into round holes.
     
  11. Milgod's point was replying to the original post, which was asking about projecting 2 sub-levels progress every year up until Year 6.
     
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The child in the OP is a Y2 pupil so this year they will be expected to make 1 full level progress then 2 full levels progress in KS2.

    so rather than

    year 1 2c
    year 2 3c
    year 3 3a
    year 4 4b
    year 5 5c
    year 6 5a
     
  13. Except that the expectation for KS2 is 2 levels progress, so "expected" progress from 3c at end of Y2 would be to 5c at the end of Y6.
    This is all irrelevant, of course, if we spend so long thinking about these things that we don't think about what we are actually going to do to make sure that this progress happens.
     
  14. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thank you for clearing that one up. Am I right in saying that a 5a is not a "secure" level 5?

    And what do you think about such child being dropped into a middle ability set as early as Year 2 ..... ed psych report shows ability in reading and vocab well within top 10% of population, numerical within top 1%, and spelling just within top 25% of population?
    And what do you think of the groups / sets within the class being the same group for all aspects of literacy and numeracy? Is this current best practice? Is it likely to lead to the 5c (or preferably higher) at end KS2?
     
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    a 5b is a secure level 5
    5a is a good level 5
     
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    yes
     
  17. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thanks Msz, it was a typo I meant to say that a 5c was not a secure level 5.
    What do you think about the setting/grouping issue - same group for all aspects of literacy and numeracy from start Year 2?
     
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I don't have set ability groups for two consecutive days in Y2 usually my groups are mixed ability.
     
  19. Without knowing anything else about the child or class in question, all we can say is that, having achieved 2c in English and maths at the end of Year 1, they are probably working at slightly above the expected level for their age. And "expected" progress in KS1 may well be 1 whole level per year, but this doesn't just happen by itself - the child will need to be appropriately challenged in order to achieve this, just as they will in every subsequent year if they are going to build on their early achievements to attain level 5 by Year 6.
    As for the question about setting, the idea that any children in this class are going to be appropriately challenged if they are all lumped into three fixed ability groups regardless of subjects seems unlikely to me, but then their teacher has obviously chosen this approach for a reason, they're a professional, etc etc.
    My advice would be for your friend to discuss their concerns with the teacher. If they have sound reasons for doing what they're doing, and can reassure your friend that the teaching they are providing will support their child to make the expected progress, then this won't be a problem.
     
  20. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I think you are being a bit ambitious. I'm not saying that can't happen but it is a lot to be targeting a child that might make 3c at the end of Y2 to be a 5a at the end of Y6.
     

Share This Page