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Challenging predicted grades

(26 Posts)
Kittenx Thu 23-Mar-17 22:13:37

It's mooted that the new specs will make it harder to predict grades accurately.
Are we likely to see more challenges to predictions as a consequence?
Seems unfair that something so arbitrary can seal a child's future.

unfortunateevents Thu 23-Mar-17 22:52:52

Yes, it probably will be more difficult to predict accurately for a few years until the new A levels get bedded in but I don't see how that will seal a child's future? If you are talking about university places being offered on the basis of predictions, I am sure that universities will be well aware of the uncertainty surrounding the predictions and will take that into account.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 23-Mar-17 23:14:46

The examples I can think of where predicted grades would affect a child's future are in Y11 (when applying to sixth forms) and in Y13 (when applying to universities).

The pupils starting Y11 in September 2017 will be the first year group to have most of their subjects graded 9-1. Each sixth form will have to decide what their standard offer will be.

DS2 (currently in Y10) has been told that he will need to get the following grades in 2018 in order to stay on for the sixth form:
To do three A-levels: 46 points from the best eight GCSEs, e.g. 66666655
To do four A-levels: 60 points from the best eight GCSEs, e.g. 88887777

I don't know how universities will interpret the predicted grades of those starting Y13 in September 2017, but DS1 has been told that his predicted A-level grades will be based on his performance in internal exams at the end of Y12.

Trifleorbust Fri 24-Mar-17 07:15:37

On what basis would you challenge the grades?

titchy Fri 24-Mar-17 08:13:06

Universities will interpret predicted grades the same as they always have done. Why would they do any different? That's why the system steers you towards having a firm AND an insurance, and why clearing/adjustment exist.

troutsprout Fri 24-Mar-17 08:44:12

I think unfortunateevents has it right. If the predicted grades/results are a bit wobbly for everyone for a few years, I'm sure universities will be aware.
Can't see why you would need to challenge them though.
There is also a facility on results day for uni if your results are better than expected

Kittenx Fri 24-Mar-17 09:30:46

Asking based on info that Oxbridge filters applicants via their predicted grades.
Predicted grades estimated on end of Yr12 internal exams and so not as objective as externally marked exams.
Any admissions people willing to put me in the picture?

Trifleorbust Fri 24-Mar-17 09:45:52

I'm sure they do filter based on predicted grades. But since predicted grades have become harder to predict for everyone with the new specs, everyone is under the same cosh as it were.

titchy Fri 24-Mar-17 10:11:42

Where there is no pre-test (LNAT, HAT, BMAT etc, then yes of course they filter by predicted grade - they're hardly going to interview someone with CCC predicted grades are they? However there is a lot of movement towards pre-test now, particularly at Cambridge.

I don't see why internal exams would be less vigorously marked than AS exams though. Most schools just use past papers with known grade boundaries for internal exams. There's no reason to think predicted grades will be any less reliable than they already are.

If you're concerned, and your child shares your concern, there is always the option of applying with known grades a year later.

Ontopofthesunset Fri 24-Mar-17 10:21:20

Well, they always used to filter by predicted grade and GCSE/)0-level before AS levels were introduced so it's not as if it's a dark art that's never been practised.

tiggytape Fri 24-Mar-17 10:25:45

I'm sure they do filter based on predicted grades. But since predicted grades have become harder to predict for everyone with the new specs, everyone is under the same cosh as it were.

It might depend on which combination of subjects students study and in which year because the new versions of each A Level aren't all being introduced at the same time.

For example my DS is in Year 11 and his science teachers predict his final grade based on years of experience of other student taking the same exams. They tweak the predictions to within fractions of a grade (eg a secure A or a low A etc).
His maths teacher however can only guess. Maths is new this year so nobody knows what a grade 5 or grade 9 student looks like or where the grade boundaries will fall. There is a tendency in some schools to be very cautious and predict lower grades than the equivalent a student would have been predicted under the old system. Other schools have been wildly optimistic and predicted whole classes of grade 9's which, given that grade 9 is reserved for the top few % in the entire country, is ridiculous not going to be accurate. Equal ability pupils could have a prediction that varies by more than one grade depending on which school they attend and the estimates their teachers make.

It could potentially be the same with A Levels and predictions as new ones come in whilst old ones remain for a while. The new physics A Level was started in 2015 so the first results will come out later this year from that cohort. For students applying to uni in 2019 with Physics as one of their A Levels, there will be 2 year groups before them to use as a basis for grading.
But Further Maths results will be brand new in 2019 since the first students to study it won't start it until Sept this year. I don't know if the new Further Maths A Level will differ so much as to make it's newness a problem with predicted grades in that first year but it is certainly been the experience at GCSE after staggered changes.

Trifleorbust Fri 24-Mar-17 11:36:11

tiggytape:

Oh I don't disagree. But universities have to filter using some criteria. They can't just guess.

OCSockOrphanage Fri 24-Mar-17 13:57:51

Filters are a bit of blunt instrument and can be misinterpreted. DS's GCSE results were not wonderful, but he took the first six aged 14 in Y10 after only half the course, because of a change of school. Compare his results to one person in his class who sat her GCSEs at 17, also after a change of school, who achieved a full house of A and A* and he looks like a dunce. In Y12, it's influencing the university choices guide, although their current essays are receiving similar grades.

MaisyPops Fri 24-Mar-17 15:29:00

OCSockOrphanage
But they do look at when they were taken. Its why some unis want set grades first entry only etc.
Theyre not daft.

RiverdaleJughead Fri 24-Mar-17 15:37:46

Five years ago my teachers predicted me a C on my A level History - I needed 3 As for my firm choice. I asked her to change it , she asked if I would get the A. I said I would and so she changed it ( I did get the A) .... if the grades predicted are too low then tell your DC to speak to them. Nothing is set in stone.

titchy Fri 24-Mar-17 15:47:16

Equally there's no point being a CCC student, persuading your school to predict AAA, firming an AAA offer and insuring an AAB one, then getting CCC.

OCSockOrphanage Fri 24-Mar-17 15:51:16

None of his GCSEs have been retaken, so all first entry for the subjects. Glad to know there's an allowance for the age of the candidate. Otherwise, it's not a very level field.

MaisyPops Fri 24-Mar-17 15:58:42

We can (and would) alter predictions if a student was working exceptionally hard to improve. But i wouldnt change it based on words alone. Eg. If someome is working at a C and doing bare minimum but says "i need a A/B" then no way would I change it. If they came to me and said "I need an A/B and this is what im doing" and I could see that if they continued working like that then an A/B would be doable then i probably would alter it.

Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder. and each year you get a handful of students who think getting a predixted grade will get them into uni or means its a given theyll get that grade. They often end up in clearing

RiverdaleJughead Fri 24-Mar-17 16:13:20

I did mean only if the child knew they were capable of getting the higher grade. I'd be bet had below a B in my life until one very confused history coursework piece and so I knew I could get the A

RiverdaleJughead Fri 24-Mar-17 16:13:36

Never not I'd be bet

titchy Fri 24-Mar-17 16:36:48

I wouldn't be too complacent OC. Age isn't normally taken into account at all - which is why early entry is very strongly discouraged. Having said that, for the most part GCSE grades aren't really considered at all. Predicted A level grades are what gets offers.

OCSockOrphanage Fri 24-Mar-17 16:46:09

Sadly, that school's then head had a bee in his bonnet about early entry; the thinking has changed since then (and the head) and now GCSEs are taken in Y11. I hope it makes no difference in the end.

Kittenx Sat 25-Mar-17 16:50:15

I can't understand why our leading selective universities cannot select accurately, based on actual grades,PQA (post qualification application) like most other places seem to do!
Internal exams are potentially subject to markers' bias when the candidate is known to the assessor.
The Sutton Trust and the Office for Fair Access have historically complained about disadvantaged groups being inaccurately marked down.
There are lots of arguments about timing. But where there's a will there's a way. Yr 13 days could be slightly longer. Yr 12 holidays shorter. The uni year could start in Jan for the first term.
The teacher's reference would still be taken into consideration and it would remove any shenanigans around favouritism and the underestimation of particular groups.

merlottime Sat 25-Mar-17 18:08:00

Given the school funding crisis, and the teacher recruitment crisis, I don't think changing the Y12 holiday length or the Y13 school day are remotely feasible!

titchy Sat 25-Mar-17 18:44:54

It's not the universities' fault tutors from state school predict lower... if you're concerned about predictions for your own child encourage them to apply after they have their results.

Starting the first year in January isn't a viable option, unless you start the second and third years in January too.

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