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Year six doom and gloom. Is it just us?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by mrsminniemouse, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. mrsminniemouse

    mrsminniemouse New commenter

    What with the new curriculum, increased expectations, removal of levels and new assessment procedures, (not to mention Ofsted looming) the new school year in our year 6 is not off to a very optimistic start.

    I teach the lower ability and SEN children for Maths and English. With a lot of hard work and effort on everyone's part, the vast majority of children have been where they needed to be at end of KS2 for the previous two years. We have also achieved above average numbers of level 5 and 6 in the middle and top groups. With Ofsted due we obviously would like to maintain our good results.

    Looking at the recent Rising Stars document about 2016 assessments I feel like my LA children are just not going to be able to reach the expectation. The grammar is so complex, the standard of writing is like the old level 5 and the easier questions have been removed from the earlier part of the maths papers. That's just off the top of my head.

    In addition to the increased expectation, this cohort have come to me with the new 'bands' telling me where they are working currently. They are so vague I cannot use them as a good baseline. Children labelled as working at 'expected' level, will not I suspect, come out of the SATs with the magic expected 100 score due to the higher expectations. I feel like we are changing currency but nobody is telling me what currency the final transaction will be carried out in....I knew approximately how many marks the children needed to score in past years to achieve a level 4. We had past papers and thresholds to look back on for guidance. I feel like I am stabbing in the dark now.

    Of course, we will carry on teaching all the things they need to know, we will plug away and hope for generous raw score/ scale conversions next summer. But in the meantime, I, for one am feeling distinctly blindfolded and about to fall down a very steep step....

    Anyone else in year 6 feeling this? Got any optimism to share? Will everyone's results dip? Will the pass mark for 'expected' be lowered to account for the fact this cohort hasn't followed the new curriculum all through KS2?

    Interested to hear how other year 6 teachers are feeling.
    Please share your theories, strategies and angst!
    smarty77 and Shaney24 like this.
  2. gill42

    gill42 New commenter

    Sorry, I have no strategies to share but am so pleased that somebody else is feeling the way that I am!!!

    I too, will plug merrily away, but after scrutinising the Expected section of the Interim Report, I feel like we will never get them all there. We had record results last year, but feel that these will seriously slip this year AND we have Ofsted due :(
    mrsminniemouse likes this.
  3. mrsminniemouse

    mrsminniemouse New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. Don't know about you, but I'm REALLY hoping Ofsted come while last year's data is still most recent.

    We too had our best results ever last summer. Would much rather be judged on those than this year's inevitable dip!
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I think everyone is 'feeling a bit in the dark' at the moment as this will be the first year where results will be on 'mastery' rather than levels. I don't teach Year 6 for the 'basic subjects' but as a year 5 teacher who's just sent up quite a poor cohort of children I know I'm worried how they will fare.
    Just keep on plugging on at what you know the children need and know you (I'm pretty sure)are not alone.
  5. jactom

    jactom New commenter

    I echo your thoughts Mrsminniemouse. I'm still getting my head around the maths - 32 out of 40 level 6 last year but do we change the content we teach with no level 6 paper? No probability! Tracing paper not allowed! Calculators? A tricky arithmetic paper! Mastery? My class this year disappointed they can't get level 6! GAPS more challenging. Spelling 29% and harder! Help!
  6. chipper115

    chipper115 New commenter

    I read these posts with interest. Your analogy with currency made me smile; my Year 6 colleagues and I have conversations about our pupils and discuss them in terms of 'old money' and 'new money' regarding their levels/ bands/ attainment/ progress.

    Take heart we are all in the same boat. To my mind, this is the one year there is a get-out clause for less than wonderful results. It will be the only year when those of us at the sharp end know we will be comparing apples (this year's results) with bananas (last year's results).

    As Lara says, keep doing what you know you are good at, in the knowledge that your HT also knows you're good at your job, and that many of us are feeling as baffled and perhaps a little daunted by the task ahead.
  7. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    32 out of 40 getting level 6.

    Wow! That's fab.
  8. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    We had 6 year six, and none got level 6 in anything!
  9. gill42

    gill42 New commenter

    I'm just so relieved that we are all feeling the same way. My head has just booked me on a course regarding the assessment framework, but it's not until November - hopefully, we should know a bit more then. I'll gladly share what I find out.
  10. mrsminniemouse

    mrsminniemouse New commenter

    Thanks everyone. Some interesting and reassuring replies. I know the new assessment without levels is hard for everyone, but I can't help thinking that other year groups can get away with woolly judgements or even (dare I say it?) 'fudging' their results a bit- not sure anyone could even tell because it is so vague. But in year 6, with externally marked new style tests levelled against an undisclosed scale, it is very hard to call what your pupils will end up with as their official result.
    Year six teachers- There's nowhere to hide!!!! ;-)
    Good luck out there! x
    benhughes13 likes this.
  11. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    We are ALL feeling the same, we have looked at the sample papers but even my strong pupils are finding them difficult to access, especially as I have no idea of the scale of success required. As Mrsminniemouse said , I KNEW what a child needed to be able to do to get the magic level 4b/5 but now have no idea what is expected. The interim assessment framework either looks ridiculously easy or impossible hard depending whether I'm in an optimistic or pessimistic mood. The Head keeps asking for end of year predictions and I may as well just pull a figure out of the air, i have no idea!!:(
  12. gerdmuller

    gerdmuller New commenter

    I'm glad that I found this thread! We're having target setting with the authority this week, so I just gave the head my predictions with the old system. My class are down to 12 now, with two who won't be able to access any tests. Whilst the other 10 have no option but success, it seems, there is one chink of light; the KS1 data for this cohort was dreadful, so at least progress should back us up if/when people come snooping.

    I think that you put a lot of pressure on yourself because the data is one of the big headlines for the school, you don't want to feel like you've brought the house of cards down, etc. but I'm trying to treat this year as one long charge, head first, towards a brick wall. Which will either crumble, or hurt my head a lot! o_O
  13. Floppy!

    Floppy! New commenter

    A bit late to the party but I'm glad there are others out there who feel as lost as I do! Are you concentrating on teaching the objectives from the new interim framework ahead of SATS? I know we need to teach the entirety of the year 6 curriculum (and year 3/4/5 in some cases....) but are you using this as a benchmark for what will be tested? For example Michael Tidd has compiled a comparison between the curriculum and the test framework. https://michaelt1979.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/how-secure-is-secure/.
  14. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'm feeling the pressure as well - we're all in the same boat. It's pointless to worry about 'expected' scores will look like as it will just be averaged out from the results and will change every year for the time being anyway.

    I'm also taking some comfort from our KS1 data for this current class being entirely woeful...

    How are colleagues in junior schools finding this? With concern over inflated KS1 data coming up from the infants schools being so common, I'd imagine that progress has the potential to look very shaky.
  15. Yahtzee21

    Yahtzee21 New commenter

    Reading this has made me feel a million times better as I feel like I'm currently scrabbling around in the dark to get my head around anything. New to year 6 as well so feeling very overwhelmed. Went on a great maths course a few weeks ago which made me feel a little bit clearer on this, so now it's writing that's my main concern! Our head has told us to focus heavily on the spag paper and worry less about writing as externally marked papers seem to hold more importance. Are other people doing this too? Also does anybody know the requirements for moderation in literacy or where they can be found online?
  16. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I don't think anyone knows yet. The STA have yet to tell anyone, including moderators, so I imagine they possibly don't even know themselves. I think the problem might end up being that moderation is quite rushed this year. It would be more sensible to maybe not moderate this year (obviously with schools still taking charge of their own internal and external moderation processes), but sense rarely features in such things.
    I'd take that advice cautiously. The SPaG result still won't be part of your combined results whereas writing obviously will.
  17. Yahtzee21

    Yahtzee21 New commenter

    This is really helpful, thanks. From past experience then- how much support are they allowed across the evidence for writing moderation? Would you advise doing lots of "cold pieces" (no input, scaffold) or not? We don't know what other schools are doing and what we are allowed to use. We do big writing every fortnight; this forms an "end of unit piece". Do we need to re-think this perhaps as the children's work may be too similar/scaffolded? Sorry for picking your brains- it seems I've emerged from the first half term with more questions than ever!
  18. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    The advice has always been from our moderating team that they will look at everything, including the scaffolded pieces, but also want to see lots of independence and choice - so that could easily be free choice in a modelled piece. It should be evident in the planning stage that they've had some choice. I've always felt that a supported piece is fine but if it's too heavily scaffolded then maybe not. We've all had those units where the children's first paragraphs are all almost identical to your model...moderators don't like those!

    In terms of more independent stuff, what I tend to do is teach a unit and then plan for another cross-curricular piece of writing in the same text type to be done a couple of weeks later. So, they might do a unit on discussion and then later that term write a dicussion piece say, on deforestation of the rainforests or whatever. This can be done in the afternoon foundation subject time so your're still getting through the units during English. They can look back at the writing they did to help remember the skills they learned in order to do it and then apply it to the new piece of writing. Moderators like this sort of thing.
  19. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'd suggest you get in touch with your cluster schools incidentally. Do some moderating with them (obviously with a bit of guesswork for now). Get your secondaries involved too if they're willing. And remember, external moderation means they're moderating the school's asessment practices, not yours. Make sure your school helps you.
  20. teachingking123

    teachingking123 Established commenter

    You are right.:)

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