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AS grades predicting A level grades

(74 Posts)
LondonMilly Wed 12-Sep-12 20:52:38

My daughter did brilliantly to get 4 As at AS. However her school has just told her they will predict A at A level not A* which is what she was hoping for. Apparently they predicted A* last year for quite a few pupils who didn't achieve them. My daughter is upset and wants me to talk to the school - does anyone know more about how they make these decisions?

Yellowtip Wed 12-Sep-12 22:28:33

A* is a tough call. Getting 80% at AS doesn't mean a natural progression to 90% at A2. Schools have been over-generous in their predictions since 2010 and now things are settling down they need to look at the results of the past few years and be realistic, so that universities can have reasonable confidence in the predictions. Independent schools have been particularly over optimistic so far - it does no-one any favours. A dangerous game now, with the advent of more A* offers as standard.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Sep-12 22:32:11

Did she get near full marks in all her modules? That would predict an A*, in my experience. Less than that and it would need serious discussion.

creamteas Thu 13-Sep-12 14:05:13

I wouldn't worry about it too much. The number of A/A* grades dropped last year, and all admissions tutors know this. At my uni we are expecting lower predictions than usual (in line with the new 'policy' of anti-grade inflation measures.

A good crop of As at AS with predictions of As is likley to get some good offers, even when the offer incudes an A*.

LondonMilly Sun 16-Sep-12 11:50:29

thank you very much. She got 98 and 94 in her History exams and 95 and 95 in Politics, she is not so worried about the other 2 although she did well in those subjects. She wants to do History at university. I agree about the over optimism but I still think that they should judge each on their merits.

jabed Sun 16-Sep-12 12:57:52

As a school teacher working with A level, I do not give four stars about what universities expect, need or want it’s about what my school expects. My grade predictions are based on what I think a student can realistically achieve and leave me in a reasonable and defendable position. I cannot speak for all schools but most of those I have worked in require me to explain when a student fails to reach their predicted grade. I am usually allowed some leeway around one grade either way.

My thinking has to go as follows:

If I have a student on AS with a grade A, it is possible they will get an A at A2, or they may get an A* or it is possible that they could fall to a B. That’s reality. Such a student is very unlikely to drop as low as a C.

If I predict an A* and they get an A, all is well, if they go wrong ( as can happen) they may well end up with a B then I am on the carpet with senior management demanding I explain ( not your DC explain).

On the other hand, if I predict an A and your DC gets an A* that’s fine, he/she did better than expected/predicted and I am clear. If he /she gets a B, I am still within tolerance (a grade either way). So you see, an A is a good place to be, A* is not.

I think many teachers may take that approach whether they tell you or not.

titchy Sun 16-Sep-12 21:49:07

In other words jabed you 'predict' exactly the grade they got at AS!

mummyofteens Mon 17-Sep-12 17:50:09

I am a little confused over predicted grades. Say the university's usual offers are A*AA but a teacher only predicts AAA then I am assume there is no point applying for a place at that particular university or am I missing something?

titchy Mon 17-Sep-12 18:02:51

I think admissions tutors realise a lot of teachers won't predict A* so they're still as likely to make an offer even of the predicted grades aren't quite at their normal offer level.

Unless the predicted grades and AS results are significantly lower that is!

creamteas Mon 17-Sep-12 18:31:08

As an admissions tutor, I look for applications which suggest students could make our standard entry offer (ABB). I usually give the ABB offer to students with BBB predictions as well as those with predictions at or above ABB.

I also sometimes make this offer on applications with BBC predictions if the rest of their application is good. Especially if they have performed better at AS than GCSE, which suggests they have more to give at A level.

IMO on their application form, most students are best off having a mix of aspiration places, 'right' level places, and an emergency if it all goes wrong place.

When they have to choose their firm and insurance, they will probably be in a better position to judge what their likely grades will be.

jabed Mon 17-Sep-12 19:28:16

In other words jabed you 'predict' exactly the grade they got at AS!

No, not always. I rarely predict an A*. I have been known to predict a C
(even though the student has an A at AS) because sometimes you just know that they student is at their limit and likely to take a big drop in the step up to A2

titchy Mon 17-Sep-12 20:08:38

Except you said such a student (an A at AS one) would be very unlikely to drop to a Cconfused seems rather mean to me - a B would be a better bet surely? You get to be within a grade if they do screw up, but you don't scupper their chances.

MrsHoarder Mon 17-Sep-12 21:05:45

If a student gets an A (or any other grade) at A/S, then do they not need to do 20% better to move up a grade in the harder A2? This seems unlikely.

I could be missing something about the new A* grade though.

BeingFluffy Thu 20-Sep-12 22:57:45

Interesting. I was at my DD's year 12 Sixth form inaugural parents info session this evening. DD goes to a super selective in the London area, which sends a lot of girls to Oxbridge, med-school etc. The teachers were saying that they do not in any way or form rely on gut instinct, but only on the results at AS/during Sixth form, compared to the last 3 or so cohorts. They predict A2 grades with a high degree of accuracy.

They refuse to change the predictions, even if girls or parents beg them to for Uni admissions. They advise girls in that position to apply the following year, after they have got the grades (but they normally don't achieve them).

jabed Sat 22-Sep-12 16:49:24

*If a student gets an A (or any other grade) at A/S, then do they not need to do 20% better to move up a grade in the harder A2? This seems unlikely.

I could be missing something about the new A* grade though*

It is by no means a foregone conclusion. I have had students who have A grade at AS and have dropped to C grade or even lower at A2.

Although not involving me, a colleague is currently explaining why such a bright spark who got an AS grade and and was predicted an A* at A2 got a C at A2 and has now a B overall.

I could explain why but it would not make the parent happy. Fortunately for me the DC got an A* in my subject although I predicted an A ( and expected a B).

glaurung Sun 23-Sep-12 18:07:11

Some university departments keep records on schools predictions vs what their students actually achieve and then have lists of schools whose predictions they can't trust, so it is not in the interests of future students for schools to over predict A levels.

jabed Mon 24-Sep-12 10:33:23

Here is a related issue. I would be interested in thoughts.

I have to write references for students UCAS - am I therefore supposed to do as the students/ parents ask or can I say what I think? I currently have a reference for a student who is applying to Oxbridge. I would like to say she isnt up to it (as I dont think she is) but is that fair? By the way she isnt a straight A's student either.

glaurung Mon 24-Sep-12 10:57:11

I would think a reference should mainly stick to facts rather than opinions and have a positive slant without saying more than you would want. Remember the same reference will be read by the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th choices as well as oxbridge and your candidate may be well suited to those courses. I wouldn't say she's not up to it, but maybe say she's in the top 10 (or whatever her position generally is) in her cohort - oxbridge will deduce from that that she isn't top 2 or 3, but it still sounds like a positive (and factually verifiable) statement.

titchy Mon 24-Sep-12 11:17:26

You certainly shouldn't say she isn't up to it! It's up to Oxford to make that decision based on her results so far, her interview if they interview her, and her actual results. Please don't assume Oxford don't know what they're doing adn they need you to tell them....

In any case if you genuinely don't think she will get the straight As they will ask for, thenn you won't be predicting those grades, which will mean she won't even get a look-in from Oxfrod. Which means you need to discuss this with her and her parents NOW otherwise she is wasting an application.

jabed Mon 24-Sep-12 11:23:54

But she is at the top of the cohort. She just doesnt have work ethic.

Its not that she will not get straight A's. She hasnt got them. She has an A* an A and a B and she is re sitting. She also lacks in other features. It annoys me that I have to be positive. I want to be honest. I would like to refuse to put anything in at all. I will not be writing the final reference but I do have to make a statement concerning my subject where she got an A* but as an ex Oxbridge man myself, I say she isnt Oxbridge material. So why do I have to lie? Prents want it? The kid begs it? See OP.

The pressure I am under makes it difficult. Just so you understand.

jabed Mon 24-Sep-12 11:26:47

BTW, her mother is blaming the school for the DC's failure.

glaurung Mon 24-Sep-12 11:38:37

The resits will speak for themselves, you should write positively and honestly. If she was top of the cohort you should say so. Don't write about the 'other features' that are lacking at all, and don't say she is hard working if she isn't. Universities can read between the lines.

jabed Mon 24-Sep-12 11:53:49

Seriously I can think of nothing positive I can say about the girl. She got an A* , three other students in her class did the same thing so how close to "top" she wasis questionable in my view.

I cant think of anything to say. She got an A*. Thats it if you want facts. I also co ordinate the EPQ. She did not complete this. Other students did. Of course as she did not complete it and required far more support even though she did not complete and I cannot comment on it factually.

I am inclined to want to write nothing. But that makes me a horrid teacer type I suppose.

glaurung Mon 24-Sep-12 12:21:40

Well, how was she in maths tests over the years you taught her? If she was generally in the top 3 or 4, and if this was the top or only group, then say that she is an able mathematician consistently in the top 3 or 4 of her cohort, if her UMS score actually places her top and she was usually top in tests too, then don't let your annoyance with her get in the way of saying so. Did she score 100UMS in any modules? If so, mention it. Can you say something positive about how she was in class? If she didn't work hard for instance is she intuitive? Don't mention the EP at all. Just take all the facts you do know about her and put the best slant on them that you honestly can.

jabed Mon 24-Sep-12 12:32:07

Honestly? No, she isnt an intuitive mathematician. She is not applying for this at uni either. She didnt always make it into the top three in the chort in tests but she managed to get an A* ( as did three others - no one in my class got less than a C BTW) . She has a high IQ. She did not get 100% UMS. She did well because I bullied her but she could have done better with her brians. She worked in class because I bullied her. I am a better bully than my colleague for whom she got a B ( C in the AS" modules). She did not work in class. If the other students could have been distracted she would have done it. They were focussed and so she had to focus. She ( on her own admission) hated school.

Sorry, I am letting of steam here.

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