# Yr 7 Maths levels

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by charmedimsure, Jun 22, 2009.

1. ### charmedimsure

Can anyone help please? I have twin boys in yr 7, one working at a higher level of maths than his brother (much higher). At the end of May they sat QCA yr 7 Maths papers. I don't really understand the marking on them even though I have checked out the QCA site. Twin 1 took the level 3-4 papers. In the non calc. test he got 7 (out of 40?) and in the calc. test it was 17 (again out of 40 I think). There was a mental maths test which I think was out of 20 and he got 7. His total mark 31. In his book the teacher had them write
7=3c
14=3b
20=3a
25=4c
32=4b
40=4a
45=5c
This doesn't tally with the marking levels on the QCA site.I think it quite unlikely that anyone in his class took a paper where they could have got a level 5. He has written that he has achieved a level 4b. (He was told to round up his score to the nearest level) On paper that looks pretty good, that he has made 5 sub levels of progess since yr 6 but there is so much basic maths, division etc. that he is unable to do and I have not seen any evidence in his books to show that he can 'do' any more than he was able to in yr 6. Can anyone explain, should I be concerned? Thank you.

The standard QCA level 3-4 test has the following mark boundaries (out of 100):
35-45 = 3c
46-55 = 3b
56-65 = 3a
66-77 = 4c
78-88 = 4b
89-100 = 4a
If this was the test he took then he got 31 marks and so is working below level 3 (potentially a 2a but the tests aren't designed to score below level 3 so not particularly accurate).
The year 7 tests are optional and so it may be that what your son took was a test that was made up of a mixture of level 3, 4 and 5 questions that the school put together and used a 3-4 paper cover to make it look nice. More likely I think that it may have been a level 4-6 paper (the optional test rather than the progress test which covers L3-4) and the level 3 grades have been estimated beneath the pass mark. Worse still it could have been the L3-4 test that was taken but they have used the 4-6 grade boundaries in error.
Other less likely options: It may have been a past SATs paper that covered level 3-5 (though marks still seem low). It may be that the mark he was asked to write down was actually some sort of target level (for the end of year 8 or similar) and this wasn't explained properly.
However if it WAS the proper QCA 3-4 test and those are the results and the level being given for those results then there is something incorrect.
If you are concerned then you should raise your concern with the mathematics dept (I would suggest you ask to speak to the class teacher in the first instance) and see if there is a good explaination involving a different test/result.
Hope this helps

The standard QCA level 3-4 test has the following mark boundaries (out of 100):
35-45 = 3c
46-55 = 3b
56-65 = 3a
66-77 = 4c
78-88 = 4b
89-100 = 4a
If this was the test he took then he got 31 marks and so is working below level 3 (potentially a 2a but the tests aren't designed to score below level 3 so not particularly accurate).
The year 7 tests are optional and so it may be that what your son took was a test that was made up of a mixture of level 3, 4 and 5 questions that the school put together and used a 3-4 paper cover to make it look nice. More likely I think that it may have been a level 4-6 paper (the optional test rather than the progress test which covers L3-4) and the level 3 grades have been estimated beneath the pass mark. Worse still it could have been the L3-4 test that was taken but they have used the 4-6 grade boundaries in error.
Other less likely options: It may have been a past SATs paper that covered level 3-5 (though marks still seem low). It may be that the mark he was asked to write down was actually some sort of target level (for the end of year 8 or similar) and this wasn't explained properly.
However if it WAS the proper QCA 3-4 test and those are the results and the level being given for those results then there is something incorrect.
If you are concerned then you should raise your concern with the mathematics dept (I would suggest you ask to speak to the class teacher in the first instance) and see if there is a good explaination involving a different test/result.
Hope this helps

4. ### charmedimsure

Thanks very much for your reply, I have some idea what to ask his Maths teacher now. The papers do look like 'proper' tests. They are in a proper booklet form with year 7 mathemats test paper 1 calculator not allowed and paper 2 calculator allowed, although on the back, printed at the bottom it has an order ref of QCA/08/3275. I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation but there is no way that he is a 4b. What is the average expected for a pupil at the end of yr 7?

5. ### lancsHODNew commenter

You'd expect average Year 7's to be high level 4 at the end of year 7. 2 or 3 sub-levels above their Year 6 result- in theory that is.

6. ### charmedimsure

Thanks, looking at his papers it would be very hard to believe that he is a level 4b (6 sub levels above his yr 6 result) I have yet to have a reply from his teacher yet, but thats OK because I know it is a very busy time for you all and I can wait.

7. ### MathsHOD

I arrived at school one day around this time last year (having been visiting another school yesterday) to find an e-mail in my in-box timed at 9.30am asking me to call a parent about maths sets for next year.
I made a note to call once I had checked the rest of my e-mails.
Later on was an e-mail timed 3.45pm on the same day (a day when I was out of school remember!) to the HoY and cc'd into me demanding to know why I had not called mum back and asking for a meeting with the Headteacher to discuss the issue!

8. ### charmedimsure

Maths HOD thank you for your very kind post. It was much appreciated at the time especially after the recent drubbing I suffered on the secondary forum
https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/320780.aspx
I realsie I left my self open to certain comments but I was quite stunned after this!
Sorry you had such a day because of an impatient and unreasonable parent! I am still waiting to even have an acknowledgment that my letter has been received. I shall probably give it a few more days and then just check that the teacher concerned is actually in possession of it. Not long to go now, roll on the h/w free holidays!

9. ### pixelNew commenter

Charmed,
What is your school's communication policy? Ours is an expectation of a 48 hour turnaround.
If you have not heard within 4 working days I suggest you email again, say "I'm worried that the first email may have gone astray" and asking for an expected date of reply.
Perhaps the Head of Dept should be asked to get involved at this point if there are serious errors being made.

Good luck,
Pixel (a not the Maths HoD)

10. ### charmedimsure

Thanks Pixel. I had a very peculiar converstion with one of his maths teachers yesterday. I left a message and asked if they could call me when convenient. Well one of them did and said 'my complaint' had been passed to the deputy head as I had questioned 2 teachers professional judgement. I tried to point out that actually it was not a complaint but a query asking if they could explain the levels given to my son during the recent maths tests. It was a very frosty conversation!

11. ### pixelNew commenter

I'm sorry to hear they were less than receptive to your question.
It seems a simple question to me, "How were the levels calculated and could they just be double checked please?"
Usually the parents I meet want their child upgrading, so you've probably just the sent the teacher into shock.
I hope the Deputy Head gets back to you quickly so you can have your mind put to rest. I expect you have heard by now.
Fingers crossed.

12. ### charmedimsure

Thank you very much pixel. I have not heard back yet but I live in hope!

13. ### markussOccasional commenter

All this: mark = such and such = such and such level a, b, c, d, e,f ,g whatever is total gobbledygook.
There are no sub levels in the national curriculum. Never have been and never will be.
They're having you on if they pretend otherwise.
And, you can't get an NC level by getting a certain mark and be a level lower by being that mark minus one. Test levels are totally notional.
It's the Teacher Assessment (with no bull about "subs") that tells you the truth - or should be.
TAs in levels only have to be given once in three years - at the end of the key stages. Forget levels the rest of the time. Just get a frank statement on what the child can actually do.

14. ### ic3g1rl

I'm sorry that the teachers involved appear to be taking an aggressive stance on you normal concern. Most teacher care deeply about their pupils and only want to do the best they possibly can for each and every one of them. However, certain misunderstandings may have arisen and the teacher may have spoken out over a hidden itme that has been discussed amongst collegues. As can be seen in one of the correspondence above your calm attitude is very rare amongst parents, hence the teachers would like to teach your twins. When you see the teachers try to keep calm and stay as diplomatic as possible. Your worry is quite natural and you have every right to ask for clarification. Let us not forget that your child needs to receive the correct help and I would have thought your questioning this result is the most effective way to achieve this!

15. ### charmedimsure

Thank you all for your replies. I am by no means always calm but I try never to lose my temper with teachers who deserve my respect as well as my children's respect. That doesn't mean to say I am some sort of door mat and that I don't question whats going on. Markuss thank you for explaining so clearly about levels. I have been googling and found a document that states what a pupil should be able to do at each level in the NC. Reading through the maths ones my son would struggle to meet the criteria for level 3. Except data handling which he is very good at. He always gets fairly good marks for those type of questions but gets very few (if any) right on other parts. All I want is for the school to be honest with me as to what he can actually do and to help him to learn the things he doesn't know.

16. ### charmedimsure

Thought I'd let those who gave me advice know that I never received a reply from the school. In the end I was leaving messages (3) and sent several e-mails. I spoke to the senco who said she would try and find out what is going on. She e-mailed me to say the DH would be contacting me that day. Well they didn't and the boys break up today. I would like to have had some answers before the break but if necessary I shall pursue this when they return in September. Perhaps they are hoping I will go away.

17. ### Mecky Turner

I think there is an urgent need to look at the way we develop children's number concept at Key stage 1. Please have a look at my article about improving early numeracy teaching.

18. ### charmedimsure

Well I think I have had my answer albeit in a roundabout way. Both boys brought their end of year reports home. For son whose levels I have queried it said ' previous level 3c, present level 3c end of KS3 target 4b'. I said to son, Oh I see your current level has been changed and he replied that Miss had said in class that she had been given the wrong figures for the levels so it wasn't really her fault that pupils had been given the wrong levels. Well thanks for letting me know.
Mecky thank you for the links very interesting. I have to agree that for some children the way Maths is taught just doesn't work. My son has spent the last 8 maths lessons doing posters on the golden ratio, fibonacci and interesting facts about space. They also had to find a picture of somebody they found attractive and say why. I'm all for making lessons interesting but this was for a class that can't yet do addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. I do not blame the teachers at all as I think this must be equally frustrating for them. I am still amazed that children can leave primary school without being able to do the most basic maths or being able to read and decode unfamiliar words. This should only be the case for those with underlying problems.My son's primary school spent a great deal of time and effort making sure that he had access to a broad and balanced curriculum but really how can that happen especially in secondary if you don't have the basic skills in maths and english.

19. ### lilachardyStar commenter

Do you think then that they should only do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division until they a) can do it or b) leave school? You are aware for some that b comes first?!

20. ### charmedimsure

But why is this Lilac. Are all these kids totally unteachable? A friend of mine passed an article to me a while ago about a lady called Chris Tricker who takes the lower ability maths groups in her school but makes the lessons match the skills they need, back to basics
http://viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php?mid=wpfdqs#/page16/
and actually I do think that they should only do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division every day until they can do them comfortably. Maybe if that had happened in primary school most of the kids in my son's class would not be struggling so much now.