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Is it just me or are the Fischer Family trust Pupil Estimates a load of twaddle?

(27 Posts)
mumblechum Mon 07-Dec-09 15:57:15

Had ds's target setting review today. Had to change my day off work, re arrange my voluntary work, cancel a Christmas party I was supposed to attend tomorrow (now working) for a 5 minute interview with the HOY who didn't know my ds's name or form.

Gave me a printout of predictions for his GCSEs. very helpful, y ou might think, except that he isn't taking 4 of the subjects they've predicted grades for, and haven't given any info for 4 of the ones he is taking.

Just a rant, really, what a bleeding waste of time it all was, but if any secondary teacher read this, can you please confirm whether Hu'ties means RE, bearing in mind there are sep. predictions for Geog and History.

They haven't mentioned business studies, Re,Physics or Chemistry.

violetqueen Mon 07-Dec-09 17:02:18

and what do they base the FFt estimates on ?

Jux Mon 07-Dec-09 18:36:27

I hope you complain vociferously, on all counts. Inconvenience to yourself and their inability to match the right pupil to the right parent, let alone the right subjects.

mmrred Mon 07-Dec-09 20:36:25

Doesn't sound like the HOY knew what she was doing - although to be fair, FFT estimates are pretty complicated. Like any data prediction model, it has limitations, but schools have to set targets and FFT is a very common way of doing it.

Very basically - FFT is based on KS2 scores. They look at the GCSE scores of all the students who got the same scores as your child when they were Yr6, and then use that to work out the probability of your child getting particular grades. So, for example, of the 100 children who scored the same as your child, say 25 got D's, 30 got C's, and 25 got B's, and 10 got E's and A's. Thus the probability of your child getting a C would be 30%.

With me so far? Now obviously they only do English, Maths and Science at KS2, so predictions for options can be less accurate, so my guess would be that the Physics and Chemistry grades are whatever Science grade you have. (Often schools work out the probability for the most common or even all the subjects to inform the option choice proceedure, so that would explain why they had subjects he isn't taking) Your guess in terms of RE is probably accurate in terms of Humanities (also worth checking if he is doing long or short course RE) and if you have separate (different) targets for Geography and History it may be that a teacher has had some input as the targets can be set higher if your child is particularly good at one.

There is more to it but probably not needed here. Really hope this helps.

More importantly, are you happy with the predictions? Are they achievable/sufficiently challenging for your DS?

SCargot Mon 07-Dec-09 20:39:39

oh god dont
we spend our LIVES looking at them

hums mea s RE

TheFallenMadonna Mon 07-Dec-09 20:44:32

We live or die by them in our performance management. They are the target grades for our students, and there is no excuse for missing them hmm.

cat64 Mon 07-Dec-09 20:53:06

Message withdrawn

TheFallenMadonna Mon 07-Dec-09 23:07:03

Not predicted grades - they can be realistic. These are the target grades. And they are what we have to get them to achieve. Or we have not been teaching them properly for the purposes of PM. Seriously.

cat64 Tue 08-Dec-09 08:20:03

Message withdrawn

NewAlmostStepMum Tue 08-Dec-09 08:35:27

My mum is an art teacher and has been for 30 odd years. She's on a disciplinary now because her class didn't reach their target grades last year. So suddenly she's a shit teacher. I think not. This puts so much pressure on teachers.

senua Tue 08-Dec-09 08:36:23

"They look at the GCSE scores of all the students who got the same scores as your child when they were Yr6, and then use that to work out the probability of your child getting particular grades. So, for example, of the 100 children who scored the same as your child, say 25 got D's, 30 got C's, and 25 got B's, and 10 got E's and A's. Thus the probability of your child getting a C would be 30%."

Sorry, don't understand this.
I could understand this method if they were predicting for only one child, but they are predicting for (say) 100 children at the same time. So can't they say 'you are the 25 likely to get the D grade and you lot are the 30 likely to get the C Grade etc'
Also, what is the point of saying that someone is 30% likely to get a C Grade? Rephrase it and it becomes 'there is a 70% probability that the prediction is wrong'. What use is that!?

scaryteacher Tue 08-Dec-09 09:59:40

RE should be a separate subject; it was never measured as Hums where I taught.

mumblechum Tue 08-Dec-09 12:35:22

Thanks all you lovely teachers.

If the predictions are right, they're very different from his last half term report card, where he was predicted to get 8As,3Bs and a C. According to th FFT, he's only predicted to get 5As which won't be enough to get him into 6th Form (v. competetive grammar).

I have a feedback form where I'll politely saty that the data isn't terribly helpful!

violetqueen Tue 08-Dec-09 13:12:14

Thanks mmrred.
Bit tricky for parents to follow ,isn't it ?
It does all seem mad - teachers have all my sympathy.

violetqueen Tue 08-Dec-09 13:14:44

Another thought - I suppose someone has to factor in the effect of where the child was when they took SATs in year 6 and where they'll be when taking GCSE's.?

mumblechum Tue 08-Dec-09 13:28:21

On the printout we got it referred to KS3 sats, actually, which were all level 7 or 8, which makes it a bit odd that he's now predicted so few As.

mmrred Tue 08-Dec-09 14:26:01

Right, sorry Senua - I'll try to be clearer. When each child has had all the probabilities worked out for each subject, the school give a single likely grade for each. Every child who got the same score at KS2 should therefore get the same prediction for GCSE, within that school. Some schools give the lower grades as targets, some give the higher grades, depending on their approach. Any child can do better, or worse, than their prediction, but it does give a guideline as to what is possible. There are lots and lots of other factors like SEN, a school move in year 10, EAL, for example, but that really does get complicated.

I think there are definite positives - what I think is stupid is after all this effort being spent to work out what kids should be getting, the Government then arbitrarily impose a flat figure of 30% A*-C to be achieved, regardless of any other social factor. Some of these so-called 'failing schools' actually make more progress with the kids they get than high achieving schools do.

senua Tue 08-Dec-09 18:46:07

Thanks, mmrred. I think. <still confused, is there really no teacher input? kids can change a lot from Y6 to KS4>

Are you going to 'appeal' mumblechum? the sixth form will make its choice on predicted grades. It will be great if he does get his grades but the actual result is a bit too late for Grammar entry.

mmrred Tue 08-Dec-09 21:11:48

Hmm...I think perhaps one of the problems is the terminology - it would be much easier if there was a standard term for the various grades 'guesses'. According to the school, words like predicted, forecast, target and aspirational grade can be used, often to mean different things!

FFT generated grades are a guideline. They give a nationally recognised outline of an acceptable result for your child, according to school policy. If he/she gets a level 5c for English at KS2, what could you reasonably expect them to get at GCSE, all things being equal. These may be called targets or predicted or aspirational grades.

However, just to be confusing, there are also grades that are based on teacher assessment (of your child's work at the time) where the teacher gives their 'best guess' as to what your child will get. This factors in the child's current attainment, their attitude, natural aptitude, maybe their homework or coursework, contribution in class, even exam nerves. These grades might also be called targets or predictions, and it is these grades (based very firmly on performance in, say, mock examinations) that are passed on to Further Education establishments.


So, it may be in Mumblechum's school that they give the students very achievable targets (FFT based) in order to build the self-esteem of the pupils. Mumblechum's DC has clearly done very well (report card is teacher 'guess' based on assessment of his actual current levels) and is working hard so is doing better thatn many students who got the same KS2 scores did before him.

HidingInTheZoo Tue 08-Dec-09 21:41:35

Doing ITT (teacher) training at the moment and the brief we were given on this is as such:

FFT is an independant organisation to the schools and the school has absolutely no impact on the predictions made for the individual. When calculating the score they look at the socio-economic background, ks2 grades and some other factors to calculate the predicted grade for a individual based on what other students from a similar background country wide have obtained. This makes the FFT score a little bit of the post code lottery and incorrect for a few students. You might have a very bright child is a less affulent area being predicted a lower grade then a less able student in a more affuluent area. Departments tend to use the FFT predictions to assess the student because this is what the teachers are rated on.
Some schools have taken a policy to have a seperate department target which may or maynot be the same as the FFT. However if the department target is higher or lower then the FFT the have to be able to justify to OFSTED (?) or at the very least internally the reasons why.

Throught the year (in science at least) the students have to take things such as APP's/Badger for KS3 or ISAs for KS4/GCSE. These are assessements which are marked against the levels 3-8 which is comparable to the score they would have gained for the yr9 sats. Because the GCSE course run in grades rather then levels the ISA's are marked according to the standards for the final GCSE grade and give the teachers a clear idea of where the student is working. For example my year 7's have recently completed 2 APP's and most are working about levels 3/4 I can say this as this is the level of response to these tasks but also the approxiamte level that they demonstrate on a daily basis. This allows targeted teaching to develope the thought process which helps the inidividual to progress. Next week the year 10's will be doing ISA tests which will allow the students to develop skills for the next ISA. However all isa's are different and it is the applicaion of science knowledge that is assessed rather then the knowledge itself.

Most students follow a core and additional or core and applied course which entitles them to 2 GCSEs unless they have opted for seperate science. The predicted grade then takes account of all three sciences and they wont be listed seperately.

And so by the time this has been finished typing it will be irrelevant and someone will spot an error but hey i tried. blush

Tinuviel Tue 08-Dec-09 23:55:55

Can I also point out that they are given a target grade for Modern Foreign Languages which at the end of KS2, they may well not have started learning. They are a ridiculous waste of time and there are better ways of predicting grades - teacher assessment usually because we know the pupil and their strengths/weaknesses.

The previous info for targets that we used was worse though. It predicted one girl an A for Spanish and French and a B for German. She learned Spanish for 3 years; would have learned German for 5 (if she had continued learning it after KS3) and had never learned French at all!!

Just another stick to beat teachers with.

madamearcati Wed 09-Dec-09 09:54:08

My DB who is a secondary school teacher says that at hhis school grade predictions incorporate factors such as whether the child has free school meals and where they live.I was very shocked and saddened that a child's social and financial circumstances should affect their target

mumblechum Wed 09-Dec-09 10:03:46

I agree Madame. The first bit of ds's ofsted description of his grammar is that the majority of pupils come from affluent or very affluent family backgrounds. I don't see why that in itself should mean that they're all going to be geniuses, in fact several that I've met are far from it!

I've sent the feedback form back to school now, I said it really wasn't helpful as so many of the grades predicted were for subjects he doesn't take, and several of the ones he does take don't have a prediction at all.

I expect it will go the way of all feedback forms, ie be filed in the round filing cabinet!

mmrred Wed 09-Dec-09 17:22:02

Seriously? You think that coming from an affluent family with all the resources that implies would make a child no more likely to be successful than a child living in a single parent family with a p/t job to help ends meet and no money for books, trips, resources?

Of course there are exceptions but I'm afraid the evidence doesn't support you.

HidingInTheZoo Wed 09-Dec-09 20:01:15

It is do do with research into the effect of the broadness, depth and exposure to a wide range of vocabularly. Research suggests that individuals with a high exposure to academic type vocabulary rather then limited daily vocabularly at a young age wil perform better and this effects the individual's ability to learn the subject specific vocabulary, the foreign language vocabularly but also the ease at which a child learns to read and how this progresses. There are expections but in general child with a poor vocabularly when they start secondary typically have low reading ages, are less able to access the resources in the school and less likely to succeed. The more professional the parents the higher the probability the child will have exposure to higher level vocabulary and by extrapolation succeed.

Thus in order to get individuals, who are struggling or failing to progress, to suceed an ideal world would have early intervention to build the every day vocabulary used and assist in their ability to read. But this is an ideal world and there is barely enough time to teach the syllabus never mind the aspects of literacy that are missing so the emphasis is put onto covering the science whilst avoiding text books etc to suit the reading age of th student rather then to develop the student to gain more substantial experience

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