“Below Average”

So at the start of each new term we get an individual education plan (IEP) for Jasmine that lays out the specific areas of focus for the following term in maths, reading, spelling, writing etc.

The IEP always has some statistics at the top – essentially, scores in each area compared to the national average.

My heart sank to see “below average” for reading, comprehension and spelling and “average” for maths. That crushing feeling of disappointment, that I am so used to, came flooding over me.  I thought the whole reason she is in a specialist school is so that we start to see movement on these figures and signs of progress. How is it with all the intervention that she is still ” below average”. And if she is still below average, surely over time the gap will widen, how will she ever catch up?

After 2 very sleepless nights, I arranged to speak to the SENCO to understand what these results mean and indeed, what my reasonable expectations of progress should be given Jasmine has specific learning difficulties.

It turns out that over a 4 month period she was tested twice and in maths her scores ranged from 73 ( well below average) at first testing, to 87 ( good average) at second testing. So she had actually made good progress in maths.

Their methodology for testing reading and comprehension was slightly more involved but she had improved by a small margin of “5 months in reading age”. This does mean that she is still over 2 years below what is considered average reading for her age so she is still very much behind. That said, I’m happy that there has been some progress and as she is dyslexic, this is typical of her profile.

I was told by the SENCO that the dyslexic profile is such that often there will be prolonged periods of plateau and then suddenly there will be a spike when certain concepts have been truly consolidated.

I feel reassured today.

The problem with these national average scores is that they are one dimensional reflecting a static point in time. Understanding where you’ve come from is so critical and in my case, knowing that there has been progress ( a lot in maths and marginal in reading/comprehension) is so important.

I’d be lying if I said I was not concerned about her reading age still being so low, but I have to trust the insight and experience of the experts when they tell me to persevere, repeat, repeat and repeat 10 times again as that is what will ultimately push her out of the plateau to hopefully a spike.

A spike… wouldn’t that be wonderful?

So that is our current target.., pushing forward towards a spike.

It’s a journey, I’m constantly reminded of that.

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