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Year 6 teachers: What would you & your children make of this? (Maths)

Discussion in 'Primary' started by mature_maths_trainee, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    I'm a secondary Maths teacher, and want to work with my local Primary feeder schools to set a clearer standard of expectation in Maths. I know students inevitably have different abilities, but I've tried to identify a *core* numeracy skills for 'all' (end of Year 6) students to posses in order to properly, fully, engage with most Secondary school's KS3 Schemes of Work. It doesn't relate to students being at 'level 4', or 'level 5'. There can be a great deal of vagueness in how students are actually assessed to be at those levels.
    So I've listed, what I regard as, the 'core numeracy skills' (neccessary in order to properly access most school's KS3 SoWs) in a document at:
    http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/A-definition-of-Core-Numeracy-Skills-for-KS3-6195407/

    Do you think this list of skills is too tough for 'most Yr 6 students' to achieve? Which skills (of those I've listed) do you think are generally 'unattainable' for most Year 6 students? Does anything on the list especially surprise you?
    Or is it all pretty much as you would anticipate?
    I guess what I'm doing is testing your reaction to this document before I share it with my local Primary colleagues. I want something that's of a high standard, but that's also realistically achievable, and that my Primary colleagues have belief in.
    All feedback/comments/criticisms are very welcome. :)
    MMT
     
  2. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    I'm a secondary Maths teacher, and want to work with my local Primary feeder schools to set a clearer standard of expectation in Maths. I know students inevitably have different abilities, but I've tried to identify a *core* numeracy skills for 'all' (end of Year 6) students to posses in order to properly, fully, engage with most Secondary school's KS3 Schemes of Work. It doesn't relate to students being at 'level 4', or 'level 5'. There can be a great deal of vagueness in how students are actually assessed to be at those levels.
    So I've listed, what I regard as, the 'core numeracy skills' (neccessary in order to properly access most school's KS3 SoWs) in a document at:
    https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/A-definition-of-Core-Numeracy-Skills-for-KS3-6195407/

    Do you think this list of skills is too tough for 'most Yr 6 students' to achieve? Which skills (of those I've listed) do you think are generally 'unattainable' for most Year 6 students? Does anything on the list especially surprise you?
    Or is it all pretty much as you would anticipate?
    I guess what I'm doing is testing your reaction to this document before I share it with my local Primary colleagues. I want something that's of a high standard, but that's also realistically achievable, and that my Primary colleagues have belief in.
    All feedback/comments/criticisms are very welcome. :)
    MMT
     
  3. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    What do you expect your local primaries to actually do with the list?

    As for the list, most seems pretty basic, but then I have top set maths. The area and perim section seems very easy for a L4/average Y6 child. Same with the angles section. In fact, all the shape section.

    You didn't put anything for tables & graphs, when I would have that as one of the most important things.

    I haven't looked at everything though, and those are just my initial thoughts.


     
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I'd just like to suggest an alternative approach to the whole thing, which is to work with your primary colleagues to come up with such a document as a team.Primary/secondary relations do vary considerably (as a secondary teacher I've done the primary liaison in two places, and the contrast was stark), but "here's what we want" may raise hackles, however reasonable.Obviously you have the more detailed knowledge of KS3, but I'm sure the primary teachers have ideas of what they would expect to send children on with.
    There's also the question of the use of the document. Is it just a target to work towards with all children? Do you want to use it as a checklist, so that when children transfer you know which skills they haven't mastered? If the latter, it's important that it is made easy for the year 6 teachers to use - that it fits easily with the records they are aready keeping.
    Why not organise a meeting, with plenty of refreshments, and invite maths coordinators/year 6 teachers. Of course they may not want to come, but at least their input will have been invited. It's good that you're seeking primary teachers' opinions here, but it would be better to value the input of your own primary colleagues.
     
  5. Knowing their times tables: great. But I'd really expect them to have an idea of how to do long multiplication by one method or other (I'm a massive proponent of the grid method over the other methods, especially the classic formal method, for middle- to low-ability students). Don't see why basically all kids can't have that. Bus-stop division, too.
    I broadly agree with what you write in cell A106; I'd be tempted to reintroduce equivalent fractions, but... nah, I really don't expect kids coming in to already know that.
    Btw, are the ThatQuiz references on the spreadsheet supposed to be hyperlinks? At one point, you say "see how I've implemented that..." but I can't see :p
    Things I think are ambitious and I don't necessarily expect year 7s to have:
    N2.3
    M2.2 - I'd hope they'd have this skill in life, but I don't see how it's necessary to access KS3 maths.
    M6 - depending on specifically what you expect, this could be very challenging. I don't know how complex scales you're envisioning.
    M8.4
    S3.3 - area of triangles.
    question:
    S1.2 - might be being overly pedantic here, but how does one "accurately sketch"?
    Finally, I'd say:
    1) that it's worth overemphasising that it's more important to have the basics working solidly (especially arithmetic) than overreaching; I'd much rather a kid who CAN do long multiplication by the grid method than one who THINKS they can do the formal method... but really can't.
    2) that I really feel that of these 4 areas, arithmetic is key, followed by number concepts.
    3) that PLEASE don't teach kids to times by ten by "adding a zero" (plus other quick-and-dirty methods that later lead to misconceptions people can think of...)
    ps. as a concept, though, I love it
     
  6. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    Definitly a good idea, I work in a middle school currently and so can see much more clearly what is expected at KS3. Also please bear in mind that most KS2 teachers will be ensuring all these core standards are covered as part of the curriculum. Children do forget things. I taught Year 6 and 7 maths last year and children who came up with level 4s who should easily have been able to do lots of the things you have mentioned couldn't, but more because they had forgot than they had not been taught them! (I had taught Year6 the year before in a strong team of teachers)
     
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Those are your expectations for Y6?

    they are a bit basic aren't they?
     
  8. I would say they are fairly basic for more able children, but children working below lev 4 would definitely struggle with a lot of that. My high lev 4s + lev 5s would be able to tick all of those points off a 'can do' list but low level 4s and lev 3s would have gaps.
     
  9. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'd expect a L4 maths child to be able to do all of those - a L3 would struggle with some, A L5 child would be able to do them all easily and I'd expect more. On that basis, it's a fairly good set of skills you'd expect a Y6 child to have.
    .
    Off the top of my head they more or less match the L4 APP descriptors (not that these are the be all and end all).
     
  10. I'll be honest I haven't even looked. You might think we are being vague when assessing level 4 and 5 but the amount of time I'm spending on my Y6's currently doesn't feel vague! I know in detail what my children can and can't do and their next steps! This feels like you don't trust our judgements at KS2!
     
  11. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Without wanting to sound hostile at all, doesn't it make more sense for progress to be viewed from the bottom up rather than looking at the top and scaling down?
    Rather than secondaries asking for certain requirements to be met, shouldn't secondaries be working with what children typically arrive with in Year 7?
    Shouldn't secondaries be tailoring their SOWs to those of primaries, rather than expecting primaries to fit into theirs?
    I see why it's beneficial to a secondary to have an idea of where children typically should be when they arrive - a cluster of feeder primaries all arriving having had the same coverage is far easier to set than ones with wildly different sets of skills, but given that all of these are in the NC anyway, children will definitely have been taught all of these by the end of KS2.
    Maybe better to work in conjunction with your feeder schools to produce something together than to be seen to be making demands that could be viewed as patronising.
     
  12. I have 35 pupils in my Y6 top set. Of these, one is (admittedly) highly gifted and scored 94/91% on a <u>very</u> recent GCSE foundation paper that I brought in, 9 are functioning at middle/high Level 6, most of the rest are high Level 5s with a couple of 5Cs.
    We are using Y7 textbooks (having raced through the Y6 ones) and, having enjoyed Pi Day (last week) will soon be looking at Fibonacci, Pythagoras etc in order to enrich their experience rather than accelerate them any further.
    I can see where the OP is coming from but I have had it up to here with Secondary teachers who underestimate the ability of pupils arriving in Y7. My OH is a Secondary Maths teacher and he freely admits that Y7s are regarded as 'ankle biters' who will spend the first year going through stuff that they had already mastered in Y5!! You can imagine the lively conversations we have in the evenings when Y7 pupils from his, and other local schools, come back to visit my Primary school early in the Autumn term and complain that they are SOOO bored.
    Sorry...rant over.
     
  13. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    My thoughts exactly. We do know what they are supposed to know by the end of junior school. It just doesn't always happen like that, depending on the child.
    We're doing our best, you know!

     
  14. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Thanks for all the replies so far. It'll take me a while to go through the detailed comments (which are most helpful), but I just need to clarify...
    I *do* intend to develop this further with my Primary colleagues. It's not a 'set of requirements on Primary teachers'!! (see below for stronger evidence of that). All I'm trying to do at present is create a reasonable 'first draft' to take to them. You are helping me do that. To be absolutely honest, it's must easier for you to give me 'robust' feedback than it is for my Primary colleagues, who I personally know and will be sitting with.
    For what it's worth, I'm extremely sensitive and sympathetic to Primary teachers - my partner is one! (though 'only' at Year 4). They need less work, and fewer people telling them what to do!
    I also largely accept that Secondary KS3 SoW's should be based around the needs of the students, rather than 'secondaries' telling 'primaries' where the students need to be. I am absolutely heading that way (see below for detail).


    So I'll make my intention a little clearer. I'm trying to get some clear agreement (with Primary teachers in general, and my local Primary colleagues) as to precisely what mathematical skills most (the vast majority) of Year 6 students will have.
    When they first arrive at secondary, I'm thinking of then assessing them on exactly this set of skills. [I hear you ask - why? Don't I trust the Primaries assessments? This also is addressed below]. Those that have them - great. Start immediately with normal KS3 SoW. Those that don't, start immediate 'intervention' or 'booster' learning focussed on the core skill areas yet to be achieved. This may come as a shock, but I'm afraid most secondaries don't currently operate like this. They just put all (bar SEN) students through a largely standard KS3 curriculum that will probably include algebra etc. in the first term. Before the basics are mastered.
    So why the tests? Firstly, because the working 'situation' in secondaries is very different to Primaries. Jonny may well be able to recite his 8x times table in his friendly Year 6 classroom, surrounded by his usual classmates and classroom teacher. But can he do it after the summer holidays, in a classroom he visits twice a week, with a teacher he sees for just 90 mins (say) a week, surrounded by many other students he barely yet knows? (Maths is often set by students 'level', and so Maths sets can differ greatly from a students form tutor set - which are the 'friends' they get to know quickest). This is the context in which students need to be able to apply their maths skills and knowledge. It's a lot more 'robust' and 'intimidating' than a friendly Primary classroom, despite my obvious attempts to create a tolerant, exploratory, 'we all try our best here', atmosphere.
    The second (overwhelming) reason is for AfL. 'Levels' tell me almost nothing about the particular strengths and weaknesses of a child. There are *many* level 5 students who don't know their tables (for example). [They may *have* known them. But they don't during the Autumn term at Secondary]. To teach them effectively, I need to know what they can do now, not what they've shown themselves to be capable of in the past.
    In one sense, I'm not doing anything novel or radical at all. All seocndary teachers will, when they first start teaching a topic (say negative numbers) do some AfL to check the current level of understanding of students in their class. And then plan the teaching accordingly. All I'm really doing perhaps is formalising, and sharing, this AfL activity so that it's much more transparent. And so that it's much easier to arrange 'intervention' for those that currently lack particular skills.
    I hope that's somewhat reassuring.
    If anyone else has detailed comments on the 'Core Skills' document I'd still love to hear your views.
    Thanks everyone.
    MMT
     
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Have you been in a primary school maths lesson lately? If not I suggest that it would be a good place to start.
     
  16. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    No but surely if you trusted these you should have a very good idea? While there are always the odd shockers ie how the heck did they give them L5, surely they should be able to tell you roughly what the child is capable of. Normal classroom practise would then highlight gaps and failing that there is always the dreaded APP! [​IMG] (I have taught both KS2 and 3 Maths by the way) I taught bottom set year 7 last year who were teacher assessed L2 and 3 and had SATs results of mainly 3s with the odd 4. I mainly used the teacher assessments as a base. The children all made at least satisfactory progress and most of them good. I didnt need to have 'core skills' and just taught my group what they needed. We have differentiated SOW any way that are bought in (Maths Framework, Collins.) If I thought what was in it was too hard then I would teach the objective at a lower level and differentiate in my set as needed. E.g if the LO was to multply HTU by TU, then at the levels my children came up on I would go back and do HTU by u first possibly TU by U for the weakest in the set.
     
  17. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I hate to spoil what could otherwise be a very productive conversation, but I fear that despite their best intentions, many y6 teachers will teach what is necessary for the NCTs, and anything else will be considered a luxury.
    A shocking indictment of our educational system, but a sad reality.
     
  18. As a very pressured Y6 teacher at the moment...please do not give us anything else to do at this time of year! I always welcome a discussion about transition (thoroughly depressing as it may be - personal favourite being the secondary HoD who said we just assume that they've learnt nothing and start from scratch), but I have 3 targets in each core subject per child, 9 whole class targets per core subject and 5 phase targets - if anyone gives me another list of targets I would not be responsible for my actions. At the beginning of the year it would be more willingly received. A brief look through the list and most of them seem to Y5/early Y6 objectives and I would predict that on leaving school in July 90% of our children could achieve them. Sadly over the holidays they will lie down and everything they've learnt falls out of their ears.
     

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