Talk

Advanced search

Can someone explain the logic behind target grades pls?

(37 Posts)
basildonbond Sun 16-Nov-14 14:14:25

Ds (y10) has been given target grades in some of his subjects for GCSE. He's bright and works reasonably hard so would expect his targets to be fairly high but for several subjects he's been given a minimum target of A*. How is that supposed to motivate him as there's no possible way he can exceed it - and means that if he gets an A he'll feel like he's failed... Is this common at secondary?

TalkinPeace Sun 16-Nov-14 15:05:24

Common.
Out of order.
Complain and have all the targets dropped to A so that he has a chance of exceeding them.

I had to do this with both DCs as did many of DDs friends parents - particularly with boys as if they think they will waltz an A* they do bugger all extra work grin

Philoslothy Sun 16-Nov-14 15:13:54

They look at the likelihood of a student with your DS's academic profile in a school like the ones he attends achieving certain grades, The target will be the grade he is most likely to achieve. Sometimes there is not much to choose between two grades and therefore it is worth enquiring.

In addition to that schools should use their own data and knowledge of the pupil to adjust those grades. Some students will be motivated by A* targets others will not and the school should use that knowledge.

Philoslothy Sun 16-Nov-14 15:14:37

Some schools do not have A* targets for the exact reasons that you give.

noblegiraffe Sun 16-Nov-14 16:39:39

But if they are capable of getting an A* why would you give them a lower target? Isn't that just encouraging low expectations?

bigTillyMint Sun 16-Nov-14 16:57:07

Baslidon, this is EXACTLY the problem we have with DD. They have been doing it since the start of Y9 (they do 3yr run up to GCSEs) and the grades have seemed unrealistic all along - until she has done mocks, surely they cannot get an accurate target grade. She is completely paranoid she will not reach the target grades. It is a rubbish systemangry

bigTillyMint Sun 16-Nov-14 16:58:41

I have heard that some local private schools do not do target grades. They only grade the students on attitude/organisation, etc. Seems a much better system to me - surely if they are working as well as they possibly can, they will get the best grade they possibly can?

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 16-Nov-14 16:59:08

DS1 has exactly the same problem. Every target is an A or an A*. He is able, but not that able, and certainly not in every subject. Very demoralising.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 16-Nov-14 17:00:36

I have spoken with the head of year about it twice, and then with the head of KS4. No change.

ChocolateWombat Sun 16-Nov-14 17:10:02

Why is it important to exceed the target or have a target which can be exceeded?

Clearly an A* cannot be exceeded! but as a top grade it is something to aim for and a good target for an able student.

The targets are usually based on something which is computer generated (based on SATs, MidYis tests..like IQ tests) but also teacher judgement. So, SATS and Mudyis might pedict that a student should be able to get a B. The teacher will use that as the starting point and decide if based on their knowledge of the child, that is about right. Rarely will teachers lower the target, but they may well raise it. So I have pupils who the computer tells me should get a B, but I know they can do better than that from the fact I have taught them for a couple of years....so I will make the target an A.

Targets should be aspirational but achievable. Those 2 words are very important. The is no point in having something which is impossible, but neither is it worth having something which is too easy either.....some schools call it a Challenge grade for this reason.
In some schools the pupil is involved in agreeing the target/challenge grade....so a discussion might be held as to whether they want to aim for a B or A.
Personally, I think that most students cannot answer this question early on, because they don't know what an A or B looks like or what will be involved. I think the teacher is in amu h better position to know what is possible and likely.

There is a balance to be had. On one hand, pupils should not be out under ridiculous pressure.....so it's important they know that the target IS achievable and not a pipe dream. At the same time, they need to be encouraged to be aspirational and not to settle for less than they could achieve.

It's worth mentioning that many A Level courses will require an A in that subject at GCSE in order to do it at A Level these days. GCSEs go on UCAS forms for Uni entry.....aiming for the the higher grade,will be beneficial in the long term. At the end of the day,they will get what they get, but aiming high is always good.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 16-Nov-14 17:18:51

On DS1's report, two grades (or more) below target shows up as red / CONCERN!
So if he gets a B, then it's red. If he gets an A then it's orange ('behind target').

bigTillyMint Sun 16-Nov-14 18:59:01

ChocolateWombat, of course it is good to aim high, but don't underestimate the pressure that some children feel under/put themselves under because they are given A* targets. And as TheFirst says, it is ridiculous to be given A/A* in every subject unless you are clearly an extremely bright student.

TalkinPeace Sun 16-Nov-14 19:02:58

noblegiraffe
A* grade targets depend on the child ...

when DD was given solid A* targets she started getting really stressed that ONLY A's would be seen as failure.
So I put pressure to get it altered to half and half - if nothing else to protect her against Gove and political grade boundary alterations

it took re-marks to get the two B's up to A's - ie to get the real marks not the politicised ones
and she does not feel a failure because A/A* is just dandy to take to A levels - especially as her Certificate includes a paper she took but that did not count towards the grade hmm.

PiqueABoo Sun 16-Nov-14 19:31:25

"she started getting really stressed that ONLY A's would be seen as failure. ... So I put pressure to get it altered to half and half"
--

Interesting.

Why didn't you just tell her to deal with it?

bigTillyMint Sun 16-Nov-14 19:33:35

Well done to your DD, Talkin.

DD managed to make sure that the highest grade predictions her teachers put on her Sixth Form applications are A's for the same reasons - she did not want to feel or be seen as a failure for getting an A instead of an A* She is bright, but not a complete genius.

bigTillyMint Sun 16-Nov-14 19:35:35

Piquehmm, have you any idea how fragile some teens are? And just "telling" someone to deal with it won't magically make them able to deal with it.

I wasn't like that as a teen, but that may have been down to the fact that we didn't have any target grades.

noblegiraffe Sun 16-Nov-14 19:38:20

That does rather suggest a problem with fear of failure than a problem with high target grades.

I totally accept that unachievable target grades can put undue pressure on young people, and one of my students in previous years had a breakdown because of this. SLT were stupidly giving unaltered computer generated average targets to students as individual targets - we don't do that any more.

TalkinPeace Sun 16-Nov-14 19:54:03

She still aimed for top grades,
but look at the shifts in boundaries that happened this year
tens of thousands of English scripts sent back for re mark

set targets over which you have control
the A/ A* boundary was NOT in DDs control because of political posturing

so the fact that some of her results were just below that boundary was fine by me and by her

PenelopePitstops Sun 16-Nov-14 19:55:27

Tbh they are usually generated from FFT data and based on ks2 results. Schools literally cannot change them without very good reason. It's a nightmare for teachers as well, personally I agree that unachievable targets are meaningless. BUT in this ofsted data obsessed world where each child should conform to a computer model, this is what happens.

PiqueABoo Sun 16-Nov-14 19:56:10

@bigTillyMint, this may puzzle you but I agree.

That was TP's solution for the DD who apparently feels intimidated as the only girl in a AS Further Maths class (see other thread).

noblegiraffe Sun 16-Nov-14 19:58:30

Schools can't change FFT targets, but they do not have to share them with the pupils. I would go further and say that any school that routinely gives unaltered FFT targets to students are run by complete idiots with no understanding of the data they are handling and they should be sent for retraining.

TalkinPeace Sun 16-Nov-14 19:58:42

pique
the other thread is about a child who feels intimidated to speak up in class

I told my DD not to feel pressured but the nastiness of politicians

bigTillyMint Sun 16-Nov-14 20:09:07

Ah, OK.

Philoslothy Sun 16-Nov-14 20:18:17

Add message | Report | Message poster PenelopePitstops Sun 16-Nov-14 19:55:27
Tbh they are usually generated from FFT data and based on ks2 results. Schools literally cannot change them without very good reason. It's a nightmare for teachers as well, personally I agree that unachievable targets are meaningless. BUT in this ofsted data obsessed world where each child should conform to a computer model, this is what happens.

But schools do not need to pass those targets on to students, it is deeply unprofessional to give a target to a student that you know is wrong simply because the computer says yes. OFSTED will judge against that target, although having been a senior manager thorough an OFSTED they were sataisfied by our target changes as long as some were moved up and some down.

PenelopePitstops Sun 16-Nov-14 20:18:33

Noble we have to share them with pupils. OFSTED and HMI both demanded it (in special measures).

We know the data we are handling, we know it's rubbish. Try telling that to a kid who will never get a C at gcse because he can't read. Thanks ofsted.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now