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New research: number to get straight 9s could be as low as 200

(106 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sun 01-Jul-18 08:49:26

Unlike the previous prediction of 1-2 students getting straight 9s, this one is based on an analysis of 2016 exam data by Cambridge Assessment.
For students taking at least 8 subjects, they reckon between 200 and 900 will get straight 9s, out of about half a million students.
About 2000 got straight A*s in 2016.

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TheThirdOfHerName Sun 01-Jul-18 09:53:57

Was the prediction of 2 students in the country based on the probability of 9 in each subject being independent from each other?
I would imagine that a pupil who gets a 9 in Maths would have a higher probability of getting a 9 in Physics than a pupil who gets a 4 in Maths would.

errorofjudgement Sun 01-Jul-18 10:08:03

I thought A* isn’t the equivalent of a grade 9, A* is equivalent to grade 8, with only the very top few percent of those scoring a 9.
At least that’s how it was explained to us last year. So if your DC were forecasted A/A* s in their GCSEs then they should broadly expect 7/8s in the new system.

ThomasNightingale Sun 01-Jul-18 10:22:55

I did think that this was the most rubbish headline of all time from the Telegraph.

“Threshold of Top Grade increased significantly: fewer children now expected to achieve Top Grade”. No! Really?!

If someone was really predicting fewer than a handful getting a clean sweep then that did seem pretty unlikely though. They’re only GCSEs and although you have to have a rare combination of talent, hard work and luck to not slip below a 9 in any of them, out of half a million there should be enough children for rather more to hit the jackpot.

It’ll be interesting to see - but it’s surely of purely theoretical interest: it’s not as if Cambridge are suddenly going to say “looks like they’re all crap this year, let’s only let in two hundred of them instead of four thousand”. (Before Noble jumps on me I am aware that there are also real problems with the implementation of the new exams).

noblegiraffe Sun 01-Jul-18 10:28:40

I think it’s useful to warn parents to lower their expectations because significantly more than 200-900 students have been given target grades of straight 9s by their school. There’s certainly more than 1 kid in my comp in that position.

We cannot let these children feel like they have failed if they don’t meet an unreasonable target.

We also need to continue to remind children that a 7 is an excellent grade even if it is now 2 grades from the top grade.

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noblegiraffe Sun 01-Jul-18 10:30:24

The prediction of 2 students was a data bod from the DfE having a reckon, he hadn’t actually analysed the data.

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MinaPaws Sun 01-Jul-18 10:38:09

It's all such twaddle. A* was brought in to reflect excellent above and beyond the very high achievement of A grades. Now 9's come in to top A*s. Why? Constant fiddling with what should be very straightforward assessments.

Tansie1 Sun 01-Jul-18 10:45:42

It should be 'a straightforward assessment', but when 25% of kids were beginning to get A/A*, 'top grade' became meaningless. Grade inflation madness brought this 1-9 system about.

TeenTimesTwo Sun 01-Jul-18 11:56:24

noble Do you think schools should be predicting 9s at all? I'm kind of surprised that this year especially anyone would do it for any subject other than maths.

I guess there is an issue in that teachers predict individually, and if for one child they all think 'on a good day this child will get a 9' or 'they have a strong chance of a 9' then that leads to straight 9 predictions, even though it is still probably that at least one 9 will be missed?

noblegiraffe Sun 01-Jul-18 12:38:54

No, having seen the effect of unrealistic expectations on top set kids (especially girls) I don’t think schools should be in business of setting targets which they are most likely to fail to meet, especially when teachers don’t know the standard required and it’s all guesswork.

While I understand that individual teacher might reasonably think that a student can achieve a 9 in their subject (I’ve got some pretty sure bets in one of my GCSE classes), no one tends to look at the picture as a whole or the effect that that might have on the student.

I think that it would be better to have a target of an 8+ for those students so that a 9 would be a bonus, not an expectation. It wouldn’t look so intimidating as a group on a report card at least.

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Ggirl27 Sun 01-Jul-18 12:59:52

I can't believe we are having this conversation at all! It's the first year of full 9-1. The teachers have no basis to give predicted grades accurately, the grade boundaries have not been decided and will be adjusted accordingly when the results are in. There are no practise papers, new GCSEs syllabuses have been rushed in, it's a mess and my DS will be a guinea pig. And now they're trying to make a grade 9 desirable by making it elusive. Why don't we concentrate on the kids that are going to struggle to get 4's. I hate this angry

ThomasNightingale Sun 01-Jul-18 13:15:07

My DD’s school doesn’t issue predictions/targets for exactly that reason Noble.

Soursprout Sun 01-Jul-18 14:10:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GHGN Sun 01-Jul-18 14:18:52

Only 2000 got straight A*? Judging by the number of threads about G&T kids on the G&T board, I thought every other kid will have straight A*.

200 pupils to have straight 9 is quite high actually. For new specs, not many teachers will be able to teach pupils all the subtle skills they need to get grade 9 yet so it will be very unpredictable in the first few years.

goodbyestranger Sun 01-Jul-18 15:15:00

Surely the correct way of predicting is for individual teachers to predict on the basis of their individual subject rather than 'as a whole' confused.

I agree with noble that a better way of approaching things this year would have been an 8/9 or 8+, in retrospect. And I'm very glad that DD, with each of her 10 GCSEs predicted a 9, takes exactly noble's view despite that - a 9 in anything will be a bonus. She's adjusted downwards herself.

I like the massive margin for error: 200 - 900!

AgentHannahWells Sun 01-Jul-18 15:22:23

Thank you for posting this. I have realised DS predicted grades must be around 6 and 7s and was thinking I was way off how 'clever' I perceive him to be. Actually getting Bs and As would be fecking marvellous and I will take a chill pill.

BackforGood Sun 01-Jul-18 15:27:14

dds school refused to predict anyone a '9' for any subject, as it is all new.
A* equivalent is an 8. That is still pretty impressive.
The very point of the 9s is to show those few children who really excel. I wouldn't expect many to be thinking they would get all 9s across the board. Some 9s maybe, but if more than a tiny fraction got 'straight 9s' then, IMO, the change to the new spec hasn't done it's job.

BubblesBuddy Sun 01-Jul-18 16:29:01

Perception is interesting here. One poster said 25% got all A/A* but in fact only 2000 got 8 A*s. (I would have been interested to know how many got 8 xA* in the EBacc subjects, not hand picked similar ones such as several maths GCSEs for example.)
There’s a huge difference in 25% and 2000 and clearly an A is not A* and certainly not a 9. It tends to show that, for the vast majority, the 9 didn’t matter. The truth is, few children are talented enough to get 8 x grade 9. Great that it marks them out as being super intelligent all rounders but I think the best universities worked that out anyway! Only a handful should be predicted 9s in my view.

user1499173618 Sun 01-Jul-18 16:36:13

Parents, teachers and pupils are still adjusting to the very idea of a GCSE culture where only a tiny percentage of candidates will get a full hand of top grades. It’s a massive culture change, but it’s a good one as it will restore meaning to GCSE grades as a selection tool for universities.

lljkk Sun 01-Jul-18 18:13:51

Isn't the effective abolition of AS levels main reason that GCSEs are so important for Uni selection, now?

Judging by the number of threads about G&T kids on the G&T board

Mostly parents of little kids post there, if you notice, preschoolers esp.

Is RE also being graded as 1-9?
Do I get to boast loudly if DD is one of the 200 with straight 9s? grin wink
DD won't be one of them... won't get a 9 in RE. I asked & She did a flappy thing with her hand, saying a 7 would be fine.

noblegiraffe Sun 01-Jul-18 18:16:48

I doubt that there are many unis in the country concerned with the difference between an 8 and a 9. I don’t think even Oxbridge care.

Which rather renders the exercise pointless.

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bunbunny Sun 01-Jul-18 18:50:17

It would be interesting to see how many they predict will get an 8+ - and if this is more or less than got an A* last time. Ditto for a 7+ vs those that got an A or A* previously...

noblegiraffe Sun 01-Jul-18 19:01:05

The proportion of 7+ will be set to be roughly the same as the proportion of A/A* last year, that’s how they’re deciding the grade boundary.

More students should get 8/9 than got A*, the 8 is supposed to be a high A/low A*.

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user1499173618 Sun 01-Jul-18 19:16:27

noble - the new GCSE will allow far more fine tuned tracking of pupils performance. This might interest all sorts of selection processes (not just universities). Lifetime tracking is a huge growth area for economic research.

gillybeanz Sun 01-Jul-18 19:26:53

stupid question, but how is a 7+ identified as such?
I have only seen the straight numbers i.e 9-1, so what identifies the +

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