Q:

# Want to understand how the other children would cope/react with new style of questions?

Hi,my son will be 8 year old in august, he is in class 2 at the moment(key stage1),and will be going to year 3 in september, i tried to change the school, he is at private school since he was 4 +.he is happy,nocomplaintsfromteachers,Every teachers used to say ,he is doing good, improving all the time. he had an enterance test at new school for maths and english,and he failed both test. I was shocked, as what i belive that he might not be at the top level , but certainly not in bottom three. he is an average student.i spoke to his currant school teachers, first they said,they are very suprrised that he failed a test. but then after speaking to new school, they are saying his first language is not english, so he has a very limited knowledge of the english language, and thus he couldn't answer any tenses related question, and also he had been asked to write a story,he wrote it, but not according to second grade standard.
After this episode I started to teach him other than homework and normal maths question, and I found out that he takes time to understand any new type of question, is this norma? is this happen to most of the children?for example i used to do normal maths with him like 56 + 38 = ____ or 56- _ =38,he does it pretty quick, but in the SATS test, one of the questions is , you have 6 cards ,6,18,24,+,-,=  and you have to make two number sentence using 5 cards, so the answer should be 6 + 18 = 24 , and 24-6 = 18 , he didn'd do it, is it normalor he is not clever?
In Topics:
> 60 days ago

|

#### Expert

Apr 2, 2012
Subscribe to Expert

### What the Expert Says:

Hello! Thank you for writing. First, this question really is several questions, some which are hard to answer as more information by people who know and review your son's work could better answer.

Based on English not being his first language, it would appear that you may want to consider talking to the teachers and other school professionals who can assess academic progress in terms of age/grade normative data. The following may be a start to ask:

1- Is your son performing the same as age peers? If not, are the areas of difficulty language based or over all subjects?
2- May the school conduct language and nonverbal based assessments? (this will take a formal meeting to have conducted, most likely) These assessments could point out areas of strengths and weaknesses and help to determine a course of instruction.
3- Are there programs to help children with learning English as a second language?

Also, the following may be helpful:

http://www.education.com/reference/article/how-children-learn-second-language/
http://www.LanguageCastle.com
http://www.netrover.com/~kingskid/graphic/graphic.htm

Good luck!

Louise Sattler, Psychologist

Did you find this answer useful?
0
yes
0
no

writes:
I've often encountered similar situations in my classrooms with my students. Many of them have another language as their first language and came from schools that focussed on teaching math as a 'rote' subject.

By rote learning, I mean that they memorized their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. They were able to very quickly answer a sheet of math questions that required them to only be able to 'state the facts' so to speak.

When they were presented with math questions or problems that required 'manipulating' information and knowledge, they were met with some initial struggles.  It didn't mean they were not clever but rather, they had never been exposed to using the math fact knowledge applied in a different way.

This is the new way of teaching and learning. When a child truly understands math concepts, he or she is able to apply them to problem scenarios in many different ways- not just by answering plain old 'math fact' questions.

As English is obviously a second language for your family, I would ask your school administrators if there are any special resources or classes within the school to assist your son with his English language skills. I don't know where you are located (definitely not in Canada as I don't recognize your description of Key Stage 1).

However, where I live and teach in Canada, every school has supports built into the system for children who do not speak English as a first language to help them achieve on the same level as a non-native speaker of the language.

Children first learn the correct use of verb tenses as they hear them spoken through the oral language of their parents at home. When they begin to read and write, they instinctively know which verb tense is the correct one to use.

Many of the students I've worked with had parents who chose to use some tutoring services to assist their child's progress at school (tutoring is a very common practice in their home countries). Unfortunately, they often chose friends of the family who had been teachers in their homeland and it wasn't always successful. Many times their English usage was not correct so it did not assist the student. It was very difficult to try explain to the parents that their tutor was reinforcing errors in their child's English language usage (the parents constantly sent in worksheets completed by their child while being taught by the tutors).

Check with the school re: extra resources/help for your son and above all, keep being the concerned parent! I'm told by the experts where I teach that it takes a child a full seven years to catch up linguistically/academically with a native language speaker. He will do fine.
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
1
yes
0
no
writes:
By the way, we often have students transfer to our public schools who have been in a private school. Many times, the students are in fact behind in their achievement levels.

It is always a difficult conversation to have with a parent explaining that fact to them. Parents often assume that a 'private' school means a 'better' school or a 'better' education because they are paying tutition fees to the school.

What often happens is that small independent private schools will inflate the marks or grades of the students to keep the parents happy.  What parent will continue to pay tutition fees to have their child attend the school if their child is not achieving fabulous grades?

Usually, simply doing a walk around the classroom showing the parents samples of the various students' work on display is enough to help them understand what is needed to achieve an 'A' grade as opposed to a 'B', 'C' or 'D'.

The parents often come in angry because they feel their child was not given the appropriate grade/grades but when they see actual samples of what is expected it clears up any misunderstandings.

I should point out that the many private schools can be and are superior to public schools due to the funding, resources and small class sizes and they rigorously follow provincial and state standards. However, some of the small private schools out there just squeak by with following and meeting provincial and state standards.

Always be careful! Private does not mean better.
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
0
yes
0
no