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How are GCSE grades predicted

(18 Posts)
circular Tue 27-Sep-11 08:29:47

DD1 just started yr10.

We recently received a letter from the school explaining that predicted GCSE grades will be given out shortly. They are using FFT and the levels at the end of KS3 for this. An examples given were that a level 5 in English and a Level 6 in science would usually predict a C grade.

The letter was accompanied by a list of DDs levels - no sub-levels, just the 5,6,7. And also a breakdown of percentages in the school and nationally, achieving those levels.

DDs last progress report was half way through yr9, and most of her levels that mattered were one sub-level away from her end of year target. Every subject was at least "on target". Ie Science 6a/7c o/t, 6a/7c o/t, MFL 6a/6a o/t, Eng 5a/6c o/t. Incidentally, this was the same as for end of yr8.

We were never advised that she had not hit her target levels. At every parents evening we were told by all subject teachers (except English) that she is capable of achieving A*/A. But her list of KS3 levels now is showing Maths & Music level 7; Science, Geography, *French level 6, English level 5. So it looks like she will get B/C predictions for most subjects.

*how can anyone ever get an A prediction for an MFL when level 6 is the highest they work to in yr9?.

Once these predictions are set in yr10, are they revised in yr11? Especially as some modules and CAs will be completed in yr10? And some have been taken in yr9.

I appreciate many children achieve better than predicted which is better Than predicted. Our concern is that the predictions are used for 6th firm applications. Many if which require at least A in the 4 AS subjects.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Sep-11 17:25:53

The predictions are just to give an idea of what your DD should be aiming for. FFT set targets from KS2 SATs data. The average child who is similar to your DD will achieve these grades. FFT predicted grades change occasionally so these aren't set in stone, but the change will be nothing to do with anything your DD has done individually, as they are just averages.

Predicted grades may be used for intervention if it is considered that your DD is underachieving.

The teacher should revise predicted grades on the basis of module results etc, and from actually knowing your child. By the time it comes to sixth form applications modules will have been sat and mocks should have been taken so you should have a much better idea of what her final grade will be.

elliepac Tue 27-Sep-11 17:35:55

What you have received, based upon all the data you mentioned, will be the Value Added Target grade. This means the grade your dd will be expected to achieve if she makes the same amount of progress as the average child of her ability. These are used as a target grade. Predicted grades are predicted by the teachers as pupils go through the course ( we report ours every term). The VA grade is used as a base. Some will be predicted to achieve higher than their VA and some lower dependent upon effort etc.

A VA target is seen as the minimum they should achieve not the maximum and will stay the same. Predicted grades will change. As for languages, the base point for languages is lower, they generally start on level 2 and so level 6 by the end of Year 9 is equivalent to Level 7 in a lot of subjects and will therefore an A VA target is not unrealistic.


scarlettsmummy2 Tue 27-Sep-11 17:38:25

do they not do mock exams anymore?? or are gcses modular now too? When I did my gcses and a levels we did past papers and then knew what grade we were likely to get.

cricketballs Tue 27-Sep-11 17:46:01

I can't understand why you are getting so worked up about these target grades - as has already been said, these are the initial grades that the data is suggesting which is the basis we have to work to.

Your dd is not subjected to them! If she is constantly working above these targets, her reference for 6th form/college etc will reflect this. If however, she is not working to these grades, intervention/support will be put in place

ibizagirl Wed 28-Sep-11 06:05:51

Hi circular. Just looked at your post and saw it mentioned MFL not going above level 6. My daughter has just started year 8 and in her year 7 assessment got a level 7 for her german and french. On her assessment homework the levels go up to level 8. Just thought you might be interested. Best wishes.

circular Wed 28-Sep-11 07:44:59

Thanks all. We don't have her predicted grades yet, just the final JS3 levels. Guess I am miffed that for Geog, Science & English her predictions will be using levels below Her yr9 targets. Which means either 1) She did not meet her targets; 2) There is an error; 3) The school is deliberately using lower levels to err on the side of caution. I will be even more annoyed if it is 1) as her progress reports have NEVER shoen her below target on anything.

Noblegiraffe - DD never had FFT levels set for KS3. Something to do with not being able to get any previous data for her. Her KS2 Sats were all 5"s.
It has taken nearly 2 years to get the school to recognise that she is underacheiving in English instead of fobbing us of with "why are you worried, she will get a C".

Ibizagirl- Congrats to your DD. I'm guessing she is either multiple-lingual or at a highly selective school. DDs school (just above average state comp in affluent area where many are creamed off to private sekectives) don't teach above level 6a in yr9. The max fir yr 7 was level 4a.The stats we received showed 1% achieved level 7, 0 level 8 at the end of KS3.

Thanks Cricketballs - I have replied on the other thread.

noblegiraffe Wed 28-Sep-11 09:25:50

I think you are taking this a bit too seriously, predicted grades for GCSE at this stage are merely educated guesses as a lot can happen in 2 years.

However, if her maths level at the end of y9 was a 6a/7c (which i think is what you were saying her target was) then a B would be a reasonable prediction. I'm not sure why her teacher was telling you she was capable of an A*/A if that's the level she was working at.

circular Wed 28-Sep-11 09:51:12

Maths was 7b/7c so she had already exceeded her target.
It was Geog and Science that were 6a/7c as has been since yr8.
Teachers in all 3 have consistently told us she is capable of A/A*. although when she got a U in her science mock she was predicted B in that paper. She got an A.

Maybe I am over analysing, but we are trying to short list sixth forms. Need to know if we should be ruling out those that want at least 6 A"s.

seeker Wed 28-Sep-11 09:56:37

Why are you shortlisting 6th Forms a the beginning of year 10? If she's anything like my dd, the person she is now is very different from the person she will be this time next year! And this time next year is when you should be thinking about 6th forms.

kat2504 Wed 28-Sep-11 09:58:25

This is what happens when computers take over the world. These FFT targets are a very crude measure in my opinion. It does not mean she has not got the potential for higher grades and it certainly doesn't mean she was underachieving last year.
These are minimum expected levels and the school will be judged on how pupils achieve in relation to them. Proper predicted grades can be made by the teachers on the basis of actual work done and mock exams. These will be what sixth form are interested in, not some generalised prediction on the basis of year 9 work.

noblegiraffe Wed 28-Sep-11 10:10:54

Maybe you should wait till the end of Y10 to be shortlisting 6th forms then.

7b/7c is still not A*/A, I'd want a level 8 to say that! 7b could give an A. But it depends on how she takes to the GCSE.

noblegiraffe Wed 28-Sep-11 10:17:19

FFTs aren't minimum expected levels! They are average expected levels for a child with a similar profile to your child. So some will do better, some worse, some spot on, and that's expected. FFTs shouldn't really be shared with parents, as they're not really designed for individuals but for assessing the progress of a large group of students.

Kez100 Wed 28-Sep-11 22:29:56

My daughter has just gone into year 11 and the consideration of 6th forms has just started. She cannot stay at this school as there is no sixth form so they all move. They have been given brochures from some colleges and a list of open evenings for all the establishments with transport; those start next week. It seems early enough to us as she will want to pick based on the right course for her (so need up to date brochure) and right feel (from the open evening)

ibizagirl Thu 29-Sep-11 06:04:01

Hi curcular, thanks for your kind words. No dd is not multi-lingual or from a selective school. She is at a normal high school but has just taken to languages very well, although she is on the gifted and talented register, so perhaps its just that she finds everything so easy. Dd actually wanted to learn Spanish but this was given to lower abilities and the French and German was for top sets. She is also studying Latin as an extra after school club and can gain an equivilant to a gcse. The results you show do seem quite low to be honest for that stage of school. I showed dd what you wrote last night so she got her german and french books out. Her targets are level 8 for both at end of ks3 and she is currently on 7a for both subjects. Her end of school report for year 7 said the same so not sure why your dd's school is like it is. I wouldn't worry about it much unless languages are the thing she wants to do. good luck with it all.

webwiz Thu 29-Sep-11 08:05:43

ibizagirl my DCs school don't assess above a level 6 in KS3 either for languages - there is absolutely no way anyone would be getting level 8 unless it was very exceptional circumstances. Don't worry about the language level OP all three of mine ended year 9 on a 6a, DD1 went onto get an A* in french, DD2 A*'s in french and german and poor DS is in year 10 and has to follow them.

The problem with comparing levels from different schools is that there is some variation in how they are applied and some schools seem to like to err on the higher side whereas others are much more cautious.

Kez100 Thu 29-Sep-11 09:01:19

Yes, we were told the same about languages. The level descriptors allow for a lot of individual school interpretation. I was told, for example, that for a level 5 there must be a knowledge of past tense. Some schools will allow a level 5 assessment for literally one past tense phrase used, whilst other schools demand a more rigourous knowledge of how the past tense is constructed and need a lot of evidence of a students use of it to award a level 5.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 29-Sep-11 09:21:06

how many kids with the right real grades DO NOT get into their choice of 6th form college?
when do the 6th form Admissions close?

Round here the answers are almost none and the March before September admission.

Worry about all current work being done to the best of ability and stop worrying about statistical results that are within one standard deviation and therefore insignificant

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