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Year 10 predicted grades for GCSE. Far too low. School wont listen

(32 Posts)
starbucksluvver Mon 12-Oct-09 15:33:11

Hi everyone. I have a bit of a predicament. Am making myself a bit of a pain with sons school but they have really angered me. He came home, start of Y10 and said he was predicted to get C grades in his core subjects. I was astonished since he was 3 grades higher than expected at end of KS3 and on the right level for maths and science. In KS2 sats he got all 5's. I therefore thought, in conjunction with all reports home over the years and all feedback from teachers at parents evenings, that he was on course to get A's. I have battled this out with school and they tell me that these grades are worked out by people in an office somewhere in Wales who feed stats into a machine and that they are highly probable of what he will achieve. He is really upset since he wants to do so much better and all school can say is that from what they know of him he WILL get A's. If this is the case, why has he been labelled as a C grade student ? Because of this he was excluded from an activity last week where pupils with A and B predicted grades got to visit a university. This all seems wrong to me. Whatever happened to the days when a student was assessed by a teacher and they were a person not a statistic ?

Thanks for listening to my rants !

NyeEve Mon 12-Oct-09 15:35:21

these will be his Fisher Family Trust predicions then?
If he is hacked off hten let him prove to them and himself he can do better.

Milliways Mon 12-Oct-09 17:23:40

DD was predicted a load of Cs based on her CAT tests in Yr 7 (good but not great - she can't do those reasoning tests) and she is now at Cambridge Uni

Take him to Uni open days yourself - they are open to everyone, encourage him with his coursework and get him to prove them wrong! (Schools love value added students).

KembleTwins Mon 12-Oct-09 17:32:28

Whilst I agree it's unfair of the school to exclude your DS from certain activities if they've decided that he's not likely to get above C grades (based on whatever bonkers scheme they have going) actual predicted grades will not be submitted anywhere officially until he is in Yr 11, by which time he will have had chance to prove these grades wrong. Predicted grades are an odd thing. At my last school, students were given "target minimum" grades, rather than predicted grades at the beginning of Yr 10, which represented the LOWEST they ought to achieve. As a form tutor, it was tough explaining to students who'd achieved a 7 in their KS3 SATS (this was a couple of years ago) why their GCSE "predicted" grades were Cs. They didn't understand that these grades were not "predictions" as such, but a baseline, below which they were not supposed to fall. For the school, it was useful for teachers to have a clear record to refer to in case of students falling behind where they should, but for the students it was a bit confusing, as they assumed that their TMGs were "predictions". IME, predicted grades are only used in Yr 11 for admininstrative purposes (they have to be submitted when exam entries go in) and for if students are applying to college/VI Form At your DS's school, it sounds a bit odd. He has plenty of chance to prove them wrong, though, as NyeEve says.

wicked Mon 12-Oct-09 17:35:32

Do you know what his baseline test scores are (the IQ-type tests he'd have taken in Y7)? The school will probably stand by these results and it will take a lot to budge them.

Is your DS really, honestly, truly working to the best of his ability.

Can you get any evidence of what he can do, eg Sats results (I know they cancelled them last year, but the school may have done them voluntarily).

The school may be playing silly beggars with statistics - predict low, and give themselves a bit pat on the back when he does well.

What is really important is that they don't prevent him from doing higher GCSE papers. If he is predicted a C, they may want to just teach him Foundation level work, and that is pretty disastrous for a bright student. A lot of schools would rather get a definite C, than risk a B in the higher paper and get nothing.

If I were in your position, I would want a good 20 minute meeting with someone in authority to go through all his test scores from the start of Y7 - Sats, cats, end-of-year exams, module tests - the lot! You really don't want him to miss out on higher level teaching.

Morosky Mon 12-Oct-09 17:54:05

I would imagine these are Fisher Family Trust targets. These take into account not only KS2 data but also social data for the school such as Free school meals. Although the school can tweek them to discount some of the social data.

It may be worth asking for a little more information on how these are calculated. Schools can set their targets to fall in line with a certain type of school nationally. My school compares itself with the top 25% of schools nationally. So the statisticians works out the chances of each of my pupils may get of achieving each GCSE grade in each subject of they were attending school which is in the top percentile of achievement. Some schools choose to dip into a lower percentile for their figures, your school may be doing this.

Something else to bear in mind is that these ttargets give a probability for the student to achieve each grade. So your son may have say 1 35% chance of getting a C, but a 34% chance of getting a B. THe target therefore will be a C even though he is almost as likely to get a B. On my target grades lists ffor my classes I do have a note of which pupils have a very similar percentage for a different grade. Your school should be able tto tell you this.

It should also be possible for your school to set him an aspirational target if they feel that is appropriate. I do this sometimes if the official target seems low.

I hope that makes sense, I have been dealing wwith targets and figures all day and my head is so pickled I have come home early and am now in bed. My laptop keys are also sticking.

ellokitty Mon 12-Oct-09 19:09:01

I understand them to be the same as Kemble Twins. In my teaching experience, they are lowest acceptable grades that a student can be expected to get (bearing in mind that there are many variables affecting performance - motivation, ease of the exam paper for that particular student, coursework, revision...) and basically if he got below Cs, then the teacher would be having to answer questions - as to why he has underperformed. I understand it as this is the minimum grade he is expected to get.

seeyounexttuesday Mon 12-Oct-09 19:12:23

Please check with your school that they are not putting him in for the FOUNDATION level gcses. That way you can only get a C grade tops, but ensures the school get their good results for the league tables. Lots of schools do this 'play safe' method.

If he takes the higher paper he would have the chance of getting the B or A

Lots of schools do this and the parents only find out when it is too late. Just happened to a friend of mine. Predicted Bs and As then they put him in the lower level. She is steaming.

duckyfuzz Mon 12-Oct-09 19:30:34

there are different categories within FFT target grades, sounds like his school have opted for the easiest to achieve, FFTD will put it against the top 25% whilst FFTC is nat average. I would be severely miffed by this and think you should make an appointment

hocuspontas Mon 12-Oct-09 20:03:04

Dd1 was predicted Bs and Cs in all subjects and when I queried it the Head of Student Progress said they base it on KS2 scores. When I mentioned dd1 had got 5As and and NAGTY membership based on their own CAT scores she mumbled something about the school needing a good 'value added' score. hmm I checked about the higher papers. Dd1 went on to get all A*s and As but at the time she was cheesed off that they'd undervalued her.

So OP, I understand your annoyance - I was the same, hopefully he will prove them wrong.

Morosky Mon 12-Oct-09 20:09:32

That is shocking, I would report them to OFSTED hocus.

mmrred Mon 12-Oct-09 20:17:40

The school has to assess students at the end of the key stage (eg year 9) giving them a level for all subjects, and inform the parents of those levels. Although the external SATs were stopped (more to do with not being able to sort out getting them marked properly IMO) schools still had a statutory duty to assess the students - most opted for in-house testing.

I'd start there - find out what he got at KS3 (if you don't know) and then see how that compares with his predicted grades. Should give you a more accurate picture of the current situation than tests he took 4 years ago.

wicked Mon 12-Oct-09 20:28:53

Hocus, if your DD had top band Cat scores, and the school were holding her back, they would not be doing themselves any favours in the value added dept.

If VA is based on Y7 Cat scores, the school can't really do anythign positive for themselves by holding her down. They would be better placed to put her forward for higher things.

seeyounexttuesday Mon 12-Oct-09 20:35:04

sorry wicked just noticed that you had already said about the foundation and higher papers and i repeated the same!

Very important that parents are made aware that schools will just put them in for foundation just to secure their 5 A to C results.

paranoiabigdestroyer Mon 12-Oct-09 20:39:24

OP the feedback from Morosky is almost certainly the situation at your son's schol. Don't confuse predicted grade with target grade.

hocuspontas Mon 12-Oct-09 20:40:02

I didn't know all this then! Dd1 is now in Yr13 so it is all in the past really. Maybe I should have investigated further with the Head of YR10. TBH the Head of Student Progress came across as slightly scatty and asked me quite crossly if I wanted the predictions changed ("Although it will be difficult as it's all in the computer now!"). She completely didn't get my point that dd1's self-esteem was the issue.

wicked Mon 12-Oct-09 21:07:21

It needs to be said more than ones, seeyou!

OP, please check out which papers your DS is likely to be entered for, and if they are already limiting the teaching to foundation only.

You would hope that they would give the pupils the benefit of the doubt until at least their Year 11 mocks, but you never know. It is important for you to intervene now as 'too late' will come along really soon.

:cynical:

Targets and predicted grades are well over my head. I would just want to know that my DC was given the full opportunity until the last minute.

Target grades are just a thing to fool you into thinking that the school knows your child. Don't be taken in by them - actually you are not, are you?

wicked Mon 12-Oct-09 21:07:45

*once

Morosky Mon 12-Oct-09 21:19:18

Predicted grades are very different. Most targets are based on the statistical chance of a child in a school similar to yours with their educational history getting different grades.

As wicked says they don't need any knowledge of your child. Throughout the twi year course I report back to parents what grade their child is working at and then in the summer of year 11 I issue predicted grades based on my knowledge of your child.

Some schools issue lowest expectation targets, they often take lower percentile targets from the data. Others take the higher targets which are seen as aspirational, although in our school aspirational means you will get it! It is important you understand how the school uses targets.

Because of they way the targets are created there are going to be some which are not quite right. I have noticed from my targets that the middle to lower ability targets seem quite low. That is where my knowledge of the student comes in and I will talk to them and say officially your target is this but we need to be aiming here.

Morosky Mon 12-Oct-09 21:20:39

Sorry that is awful my laptop keys are sticking.

seeyounexttuesday Mon 12-Oct-09 21:20:52

Agreed wicked - they should be given the opportunity to do Higher level mocks, then decide if it is right for them.

When you think about it the entry for a summer exam (may/June) is around march that same year so there is no need for these decisions to be made so early.

My friends son was predicted a and bs and was getting a place at college on the strength of it. Of course he only came out with c's tops and therefore it was a real fight to secure his place. Luckily they still took him but not everyone is so lucky.

She naturally presumed he was doing the higher level from the way the teachers had predicted his grades.

mumofsatan Tue 13-Oct-09 05:52:23

agree with the other posters that you need to check which level of exam he is bein entered for.

To be honest, I found the predicted grades that DS and most of his friends got quite ridiculous. At times it felt that some of the teachers were just plucking grades out of the air and not even considering the student.

One teacher predicted he would get an F (in a 2nd foreign language that he'd only been studying for 2 years) and he got a C grade and another predicted two Cs and he got As.

scaryteacher Tue 13-Oct-09 10:38:06

Problem is that this isn't an exact science, but more like a black art.

I used to predict GCSE grades for my subject based on a combination of their year 11 mock and what I knew they were capable of.

starbucksluvver Tue 13-Oct-09 12:59:24

Thanks so much everyone for your ideas and advice. I am definitely going to ask the head of KS4 for a meeting to discuss this and in particular how he fared at the end of Y9 tests. The only record I have is a 7a for English, a 6a for maths and a 6b for science. The school have given us nothing in writing about these GCSE predictions. My son was simply told verbally by his English, Maths and Science teachers that he was predicted C grades.

I am also going to check that he is not being entered for these "foundation" GCSE's. Must admit I hadnt heard of them before.

Docbunches Tue 13-Oct-09 14:27:23

I think you should definitely query the English predictions at the very least. I would've thought that a level 7a for English in Y9 would equate to an A* prediction at GCSE?!

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