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Targets and predictions for GCSE

(33 Posts)
RomanyRoots Sun 02-Sep-18 22:21:32

Are these necessary?
What are the pros and cons and have they affected your dc for the better?

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Sun 02-Sep-18 23:31:57

I really dislike the computer generated targets, from your Yr6 SATs results.
Apart from not seeing how being good at maths when you are 10 yrs old can really predict what you are going to get in Geography or French when you are 15, even if all other things were equal, it is just unlikely that all other things are equal.

Both my dds used to be cross that their reports were rarely 'green' (each subject would give you a red, amber or green colour in their school as to if you were 'on track to meet your target'.) However much staff would tell them that they were doing well, and it was just the 'system' generating ridiculously high targets for them, it still upset them twice a year, every year, when these damned stupid reports came out.

TheThirdOfHerName Mon 03-Sep-18 08:45:48

DS2's targets were mostly 9s with a few 8s.

Because of the uncertainty over the new GCSEs (first year of exams for all subjects except Maths & English) the teachers erred on the side of caution with their assessments and so his colour-coded reports often showed he was under target.

He is resilient, didn't take the reports to heart, and went on to get mostly 9s with a few 8s.

More sensitive pupils might have become quite demoralised by the process.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 03-Sep-18 09:08:14

Our school doesn't tell the pupils Targets, only Predictions.

On the y11 report it did have some waffle about 'based on KS2 SATs expected progress in Maths would lead to X grade, and better than expected Y grade (and the same for English)'. But is was clearly a postscript to the actual report.

Predictions are based on 'this is the grade we think you are most likely to end up with given your work ethic, progress and attainment to date'. They can be adjusted every term.

I think predictions are needed to help the DC focus correctly, and to be able to discuss suitable options for after GCSEs. They can also be tweaked, by raising for a DC who needs to aspire, and lowering for a DC who gets overly stressed.

I don't know how they did predictions for recent exams, whether they gave a range or an individual number, or whether they predicted 9s for anyone.

RomanyRoots Mon 03-Sep-18 10:40:16

I like predictions as they aren't scientific, and can change from term to term.
However, with a school that doesn't set predictions or targets do we just have to trust the teachers to take our children to the level that reaches their potential.
I suppose with them both you have a ball park figure as to how they will do, they know from feedback whether they are reaching the target or if they need to put in more effort.

I also wonder if more is expected from parents in the absence of targets, whether we need to be more on top of how our children are performing.

OP’s posts: |
TheThirdOfHerName Mon 03-Sep-18 11:32:55

All schools set targets. They have to in order to measure progress. Not all schools share those targets with the pupils.

RomanyRoots Mon 03-Sep-18 12:39:32


How do they manage this if they don't have tracking from previous schools, and if students have accessed varying systems of education?
Isn't this where they should be predicted, due to lack of data?

OP’s posts: |
Astronotus Mon 03-Sep-18 13:37:46

Schools' predicted grades for GCSE will be needed on applications for sixth forms. Those sixth forms, whether schools or colleges, will make offers based on those predictions. If you are predicted a 5 for Maths but the sixth form you want to study Maths A level at insists on a minimum of a 7, you will not get an offer from them.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 03-Sep-18 13:47:41

Neither of my two had data from their previosu schools.

Dd's school gave tagets based on CATS done in Years 7 & 9. But they bore no relation to her actual ability/progress in the various subjects (she had a very spiky profile due to her asd) I think in Year 9 she was predicted Grade 5/6 in Science based on CATS (she ended up with 7 8 8). The abandoned this half way through Year 10 and put predicted grades basedon teacher assessment instead.

Ds's school puts both targets (based on SATS) and predicted Grades based on teacher assessment. Except he didn't do SATS so they put Grade 6 target across the board for him based on what hos previous school said.

So his report reads something like

Maths Target 6 Predicted 8
English Target 6 Predicted 2
Science Target 6 Predicted 5
Computer Target 6 Predicted 5
Food Tech Target 6 Predicted 4
Music Target 6 Predicted 8

Kilash Mon 03-Sep-18 13:51:25

Many school initially set predictions for GCSE based on Y6 SATS and initial testing in Y7. At ds school, the translated into % predictions for 5 GCSES's which were then refined during Y7-10 and ended up being targets at Y10. Like The Third, I think there was a lot of anxiety around the new GCSE's so no-one was predicted 9, ds had 'target ' 7 and 'aspirational' 8 targets in Y11.

Targets definately helped ds focus his attention on where is was needed in the run up to exams.

RomanyRoots Mon 03-Sep-18 13:55:57

If they are staying at the same school for 6th form they won't need predictions or targets though.
Do they need predicted grades for A levels for uni admission, or can /would they (the uni's), take this into consideration if the student hadn't been given targets or predictions/ if the school didn't use them.

OP’s posts: |
Astronotus Mon 03-Sep-18 14:06:35

Your sixth form will probably require them to attain a certain array of grades to stay on into sixth form. x7 subjects at a certain grade (can be 5 or 6 or 7) including Maths and English, plus a 7, 8 or 9 in the subject to be studied at A level is quite common. Have a look at the sixth form entry requirements on your current school's website. They may change by the time your DC get to that age but it will give you some indication.

Yes, universities use predicted A level grades as they make offers before A level results. As AS levels (taken end year 12) are being phased out now the unis will also be looking at the GCSE grades achieved.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 03-Sep-18 14:35:58

My dd didn't need any predicted or actual grades in order to stay on at her current school and she didn't need to for the vocational courses she applied for elsewhere.

The schools that did ask for them sent a form that had to be passed onto her school and filled in by them. I believe for uni applications the school have to put them on the UCAS form.

TheThirdOfHerName Mon 03-Sep-18 14:38:09

How do they manage this if they don't have tracking from previous schools

They use data from KS2 SATs and most schools administer standardised tests on Y7 taster days and induction days. Many schools then repeat these at the end of Y9.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 03-Sep-18 14:45:47

Your sixth form will probably require them to attain a certain array of grades to stay on into sixth form

Thats not the case in either my dd's school or Romany's dd's school. Hwever both schools will be set up to give predictions, even if they are in confidence to another institution.

TheThirdOfHerName Mon 03-Sep-18 14:47:35

Do they need predicted grades for A levels for uni admission, or can /would they (the uni's), take this into consideration if the student hadn't been given targets or predictions/ if the school didn't use them

The UCAS form is done online. The applicant fills out their sections (personal details, GCSE grades, which courses they want to apply for, personal statement) and submits it so the school / FE college can do their bit.

Then the school / FE college fills out their sections of the form (predicted grades, reference) and submits it to UCAS.

When these steps have been completed, the universities can see it. Most look at the predicted grades as part of their selection process.

I've never heard of a school or FE college refusing to provide predicted grades for UCAS, so I don't know how it would affect the application if this happened.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 03-Sep-18 14:48:31

They use data from KS2 SATs and most schools administer standardised tests on Y7 taster days and induction days. Many schools then repeat these at the end of Y9.

Yes. Dd didn't take SATS but her secondary school administered CATS a few weeks into term in Year 7. Ds's old school used Midyis.

TheThirdOfHerName Mon 03-Sep-18 14:54:27

Many (most?) secondary schools use FFT (Fischer Family Trust) software to process the data and add socioeconomic context. My understanding is that this takes into account the progress of previous children in the same geographical area.

TheThirdOfHerName Mon 03-Sep-18 14:57:57

For KS5 targets, some sixth forms do standardised tests at the beginning of Y12. Many use software such as ALIS to extrapolate expected A-level grades.

Peanutbuttercups21 Mon 03-Sep-18 15:01:59

DS1 did not do Sats, he was a slightly below average pupil in primary (up from being 2yrs behind where he should be in y3)

Somehow he got target grades 7-9 for everything. Most of his year 10 grades were 4-7 so not sure this is achievable confused

Am not British, so the school and grading system here is hard to get my head around at times (and it's constantly changing?!).

He's going into y11 now, and I guess we'll just wait and see.

Target grades just confuse me tbh, how can they predict y11 grades based on y7 tests? A lot can happen in 5 years!

RomanyRoots Mon 03-Sep-18 15:03:46

Aw, that's interesting, wrt FFT, i hadn't heard of this.
So, if the children haven't taken ks2 SATs, or CATS could they get the information to target or predict GCSE's and a levels from other tests like MIDYIS or YELLIS .
Obviously, I'll speak to the school, just wanted to get the facts first, as I always forget to ask something important.

OP’s posts: |
AlexanderHamilton Mon 03-Sep-18 15:09:24

Midyis tests produce Chances graphs. It shows the percentage chance of a child reaching certain GCSE grades. I was given an explanation pack from ds's school about it all along with the results of his Year 7 tests but I never got his Chances graph as they are given out in Year 9 and he left the school at the end of Year 8.

PhilODox Mon 03-Sep-18 15:12:52

As your DC's school is independent, they aren't compelled to use targets in quite the same way maintained schools are.
However, predicted grades at a level will be required, unless you wait until they have sat their a levels, and had a gap year before applying through UCAS (all conservatoires go through UCAS?)

PhilODox Mon 03-Sep-18 15:14:51

Also, they won't have access to FFT, so don't worry about that. They will likely use Midyis or CATS to predict GCSE outcomes, as IIRC your child had no KS2.

PhilODox Mon 03-Sep-18 15:19:00

Of course (re UCAS and predicted a level graded) entry to conservatoire is based on audition, so a level grades not crucial or a bar to entry (they can give unconditional offers)

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