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Predicted Grades for UCAS

(108 Posts)
LibraryBook Wed 11-Sep-13 14:19:32

Just trying to understand how different teachers/schools arrive at predicted UCAS grades for A2, to put on the UCAS form?

I'd be grateful for any explanations.

BeckAndCall Thu 12-Sep-13 12:07:08

It's not an independent school thing library - I was talking about an independent school when I quoted the policy above of predicting at AS grade as the rule.

tiggytape Thu 12-Sep-13 12:13:24

A predicted grade should be just that - not an optimistic suggestion as to what could be achieved but at present doesn't look likely. It stands to reason that not all students will receive a higher grade as A Level than at AS level despite having dropped a subject because the step up to A2 in some subjects is dramatic and some students struggle in Year 12 to reach grades that they will more comfortably reach but not exceed in Year 13.

I am not convinced universities reward overly optimistic schools with places for students who fail to meet inflated grades. Surely they would be more understanding of lower-than-predicted-grades from students attending schools known to be very accurate in their assessment of pupils. A lower-than-predicted result there would show a genuine blip whereas a lower-than-predicted result from an ‘optimistic’ school would just reflect true ability and give no special reason to admit them.

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 13:12:33

A smaller percentage of university grades were overpredicted 41.7% than were incorrect 48.7% so I don't get your drift.

If a teacher is wrong about the predicted grade, it doesn't matter if they were wrong due to pessimism or optimism. But it may matter to the student.

Anyway, UCAS is a bit of a dog's dinner. Luckily my son got his A grades at AS but then he doesn't have a part-time job like some of his friends who narrowly missed out on the top grade for AS and are therefore denied access to the best universities due tot their predictions.

noblegiraffe Thu 12-Sep-13 13:18:46

They should go and talk to their teacher then. It's quite common for students to come and ask for their predicted grade to be put up because they need it for a certain university. Usually we ask for some sign of renewed dedication, plans to get a tutor, give up job etc, then bump the grade on the understanding that they need to make sure that their insurance offer covers their original prediction,

secretscwirrels Thu 12-Sep-13 15:54:00

LibraryBook Are you suggesting that not having a part time job improves grades?
I really cannot see that it's in the student's interest to inflate their grade prediction. They might just get a higher offer than they would have done with a truer prediction.

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 16:33:27

secretscwirrels - universtities at the top end have a range of standard offers. A*AA or AAA including further maths, that sort of thing. If you're predicted ABB, you aren't going to get an offer. But interestingly if you are given an AAA including further maths offer, but narrowly miss, and achieve, let's say, ABB, they might let you in. I'm certain it's why independent schools have better success at admissions to Sutton Trust universities.

How dare ordinary kids have aspirations eh?

JGBMum Thu 12-Sep-13 17:20:33

I don't think it's as straightforward as that though. If you take the example of getting an AAA offer, achieving AAB and being accepted, you risk struggling to keep up.

Bristol uni engineering require A*AA, reduced to AAA if further maths is included. However, their average UCAS point score per student is 515 points (Guardian League table). That's the equivalent of A* A* A at A2 and 2xA at AS level.

A student with AAB at A2, and 1xA at AS has 400 UCAS points.

secretscwirrels Thu 12-Sep-13 17:22:04

What are Sutton Trust unis? I thought Sutton trust was for the under privileged?
I think the top unis require STEP for Maths degrees which is considered a better measure of mathematical ability so they will sometimes let you in if you do well at STEP but miss the A* in FM.

JGBMum Thu 12-Sep-13 17:30:16

Oops, just reread your post, you're actually suggesting that said student might get the offer of a place on A*AA course with an actual score of ABB! Not even AAB.

I think that is very unlikely

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 17:44:42

JGB - no that's not what I said. I said the holder of an AAA offer including further maths could under some circumstances be let in if they narrowly missed the grade. In face on maths degrees, Newcastle will assure you of your place if you get AA in maths and further maths so you could reasonably fail any other bits of the offer.

And ha ha ha at not keeping up. Having a few more ums marks doesn't necessarily make someone brighter. Sorry but it just doesn't work like that.

hatsybatsy Thu 12-Sep-13 18:11:23

ah ok. it's clearer now. your son has not been predicted the grades he would need to apply to a top flight university....

His teachers are the ones who know his academic ability best you know. part time job or not.

callamia Thu 12-Sep-13 18:20:21

In my experience, a startling amount of predicted grades are over-optimistic, which means a lot of students disappointed on results day. This year seemed particularly bad.

Universities won't work only from predicted grades - AS levels are also a reasonable indicator, unless there's a good reason why they were lower than the predicted grades.

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 18:28:20

hatsybatsy - eh?

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 18:32:07

callamia - yes I agree, the universities can already see the AS grades.

Luckily for him, my son doesn't have a job. grin

SlowlorisIncognito Thu 12-Sep-13 20:02:19

LibraryBook Please bear in mind that every year people do get rejected from university places that they have missed by just one or two grades. Many students hoping for places at a top university don't actually include a sensible insurance choice, and have no choice lower than AAA grades. Therefor, it's not as simple as saying overpredict, and if the predictions are wrong then they will still get a place.

I think an AS+1 prediction is fair enough if the student is close to the grade boundary and has shown the teachers that AS was a wake-up call, and they are prepared to work harder at A2. It shouldn't be standard though. A2 is harder than AS, so it's not guarenteed to go up a grade. Predicting any more than AS+1 can actually harm an application, as some universities consider this an unrealistic prediction (unless the teacher can justify it, e.g. via extenuating circumstances).

Schools/colleges can build up a reputation with universities where they regularly send pupils, and they don't want this reputation to be one for unrealistic predicted grades, as it may disadvantage future applicants from their school.

To be honest, it would make much more sense if everyone applied to university after a gap year with the actual grades they have achieved.

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 20:16:51

SlowisIncognito - Ah that's interesting about schools having accuracy reputations with universities. Are there any statistics kept do you know?

Blissx Thu 12-Sep-13 20:35:12

Blimey, you seem very harsh, LibraryBook and conveniently ignore the fact I said predicting grades is usually a combination of things as you abviously have a bee on your bonnet about this and wanted to jump on anything teachers put forward. On the one hand, you want predicted grades to follow a 'formula', as teachers cannot have professional judgement, but on the other hand, all students should be treated as individuals, should they not? We can't win!

I would feel worse giving a student false hope and have them waste one of their 5 UCAS options, which would happen if we gave a blanket 'one grade up from AS to all' rule. Yes, it works for some students but not for others. Hence my school considers all students individually. Where do you get your 50% statistic from?

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 20:56:08

Blissx - Sorry to appear harsh. But it is a bit peculiar that there is no uniform way of predicting grades, some use GCSE grades, some use AS grades, some use AS Grades plus 1, some use discretion, some a combination of all of those things. It's a decision that has a huge and life-defining impact on the student and the predictions are only correct 50% of the time, so there isn't much in the way of accuracy to preserve.

I wonder if it might be better for students to predict their own grade and fine them for inaccuracy.

My godson improved his grades from DDCE to get AAB and is off to Birmingham in a week or two. It isn't that abnormal.

noblegiraffe Thu 12-Sep-13 21:52:18

Er yes, that is abnormal. He'd have pretty much had to resit his AS to go from a D to an A, and now that January modules have gone, that would mean sitting all resits and A-level exams in June of Y13.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 12-Sep-13 21:53:23

D to A is very unusual.

BackforGood Thu 12-Sep-13 22:15:28

Really, you are not "trying to understand" at all are you ?
Lots of knowledgeable people have explained, and you just argue with them all.
Not sure why you are continually trying to convince yourself that it's better for a 6th former not to have any work experience, either confused

Loshad Thu 12-Sep-13 23:04:42

DDCE to AAB is exceptionally abnormal, i have never known a student achieve that. As Y13 is harder than y12 i generally say to students if they work as hard in y13 as in y12 then they will achieve 1 grade lower. If they up their game then they will stay on the same grade, they need to work significantly harder to move up a grade and ime that is very rare. This is all assuming they drop from 4 to 3 subjects.

LibraryBook Thu 12-Sep-13 23:57:28

Backforgood - what do you mean about the work experience? confused

Perhaps it depends on the school. At an academically selective boys' school there's a lot of pulling up by bootstraps after AS, and a lot of grade increases. Perhaps that doesn't happen much in non-selective maintained schools.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 13-Sep-13 00:09:08

We have grade increases in my non selective school. Most of my year 13s improved by a grade on A.

DDCE in a selective school would presumably be a significant underachievement, so where there is a real problem with year 12 results in such a school, I suppose such a marked increase might be more likely.

LibraryBook Fri 13-Sep-13 00:17:08

It's probably also fairly subject dependent. Also maths builds on cumulative knowledge, so that going back and resitting C1 having grappled with C3 and C4 is perfectly possible, without any extra work really. This would not be possible in History, say, where you may be entirely done with the Tudors or whatever.

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