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Predicted grades for A level
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Puzzledmum · 11/07/2018 10:30

My DD is in a very selective girls grammar school in year 12( nearly over). The school is very reluctant to give high predictions. They did not sit AS levels, but had internal final exams, which should be used instead of AS, I believe. She got 4A grades on these exams but is unsure if the school will predict her the A she needs for Oxford. If she did not get the AAA prediction, can she still apply for the course she would like to do (Biology)? I was left with the impression from the open day, that she may not be allowed to even apply if the predictions do not match the required offer. Any thoughts?

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goodbyestranger · 11/07/2018 10:39

My DC went/ go to a similar school and the chances are that while the application would go in (because they have to write a glowing reference for all five choices, not naming any institution) - and it's her choice whether to apply, not the school's - that it would be dismissed at Oxford before interview, especially given the lack of aptitude test for Biology (I assume that's still the case - if it's not then an aptitude test might conceivably make a difference).

I expect in reality the school will budge and predict an A*, it would be incredibly grinchy if they didn't.

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Skiiltan · 11/07/2018 10:51

Oxford - like many other universities - is very lacking in transparency about how it uses predicted A-level grades. If you look at www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/decisions?wssl=1, though, you'll see that they do say that predicted grades are considered in making decisions, so it is possible that an applicant would not make it as far as interview without having a certain level of performance predicted. Your daughter really needs to contact the relevant admissions tutor to find out where she would stand with predictions of AAA: it's possible that very high GCSE grades would compensate but there doesn't seem to be any way of knowing this without asking.

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goodbyestranger · 11/07/2018 11:02

OP I think her ports of call should be, in order: her Biology teacher, Head of Biology (these may well be the same person of course), Ho6 and only then - with no joy - the admissions office at Oxford. Tbh that's a wasted call, because they'll only say that's it's competitive etc.

AAAA is very creditable in the summer of Y12, I think she shouldn't worry about the school. It would be very unusual for a school to actively scupper an Oxbridge application with such a narrow margin, so I expect it's not going to be a problem. It sounds to me as though she's well on track for A*/s in any event (I have a biology DC who took the linear exams last summer so I know they're new etc etc).

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Puzzledmum · 11/07/2018 11:24

Thank you so much Stranger and Skiiltan! In the open day, another mother in similar position, posed this question and Oxford said that we should try and make the school change the grade. I really hope I do not have to go there and kick up a huge fuss (I will if I have to, of course). It is such a terrible position to be in, as this is not even an issue in the indies. Most of her friends in the private schools she was before this one, do not even consider the predictions as anything to worry about. I would hate her to have to take a gap year, so that she can apply with her ready results. On top of everything, they will release the grades early in September, not giving them out now, so we have the whole summer to ponder on this issue! Stranger you are right, there are no aptitude tests for Biology, so the onus is on the grades and the interview I guess.

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SoupDragon · 11/07/2018 11:39

DSs school gave them an exam grade, a grade that they would get if they continued with their current level of effort and then an optimistic grade (based on them working bloody hard!) that they’d use for UCAS. I think it is certainly worth her talking to her teachers about the predicted grades for UCAS.

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reallybadidea · 11/07/2018 11:43

I can't imagine that she's the first student at the school to apply to Oxford. What have they done in previous years? What has the school actually said when you've spoken to them?

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Puzzledmum · 11/07/2018 11:53

Thank you Dragon, the way your school has done it, is quite fair, I think. Hope ours pulls something similar.

Reallybadidea - the school has between 45-50 girls going to Oxbridge each year, so they are quite experienced with this. When I spoke to them, they were very complimentary and encouraging about my daughter, but would not reveal what the prediction would be. Other parents had a very similar experience. Everyone is quite anxious about these predictions, as they can make your child change their mind about applying at all. It certainly plays with the girls' confidence, that is for sure.

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TwinkleMerrick · 11/07/2018 11:58

Call the school and talk to the head of year. Don't delay. I'm a secondary school teacher and prefer when parents call me with their concerns. If it's going to affect her application to Oxford then you need to be the pushy mum and get the predicted grades she deserves. After all the school will also benefit if she goes to oxford.....trust me schools always use ex pupils successes when talking to governors and promoting to potential pupils.

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Puzzledmum · 11/07/2018 12:03

Thank you Twinkle, I shall do this. Good advice, I was unsure whether to do it, but now I think, I'll make the call.

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SoupDragon · 11/07/2018 12:57

Having read the explanatory notes, they’ve given optimistic grades to allow for an “aspirational” uni choice as well as the reserve. They still believe the grades are achievable though.

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ifonly4 · 11/07/2018 14:49

Get her to talk to the school. DD sat internal exams which the school uses to give predictions. Her results were ABB. The A was upped to an her A* as she was only half mark off, with the Bs remaining as predictions. She's gone back to them to fight her case for higher predictions. One subject she's pointed out her strongest area in one subject wasn't tested on (performance and she's pretty certain to get full marks) and the other asking for a resit/advice on how she can help herself (has just bought two books to get on top of next year). She goes to a school who told us back in November they rarely increased predictions, so she obviously did enough to prove that she determined.

The school have said, they may one to use one choice as a bit of a gamble (in your DD's Oxford), 2/3 at predicted grades and 1/2 back up options.

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Puzzledmum · 11/07/2018 14:56

Ifonly4 - she has spoken to the school and all they said was that she was very suitable for the chosen course and should definitely pursue a career in the subject, but for me this is a bit "pink and fluffy" :) and does not really say much. There was no mention or reassurance about getting the predictions needed to apply to Oxford.
I did not understand your last sentence - what did you mean by this?

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Decorhate · 11/07/2018 20:40

At a recent talk, the head of 6th form st my ds's school said that he would personally overrule a teacher's prediction where appropriate so that the teacher would not be judged unfairly if the higher prediction was proven wrong.

I think his rationale was that getting an offfer is the trick as many places will accept a dropped grade or two on results day.

Oxbridge don't tend to accept dropped grades as much as other unis (if at all?) so it's a different situation.

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goodbyestranger · 11/07/2018 20:43

Puzzledmum I assume that sentence means: one aspirational choice, two to three at predicted grade level and one to two as insurance. However that school policy is bonkers as you'll just have your application binned at an 'aspirational' choice if your grades are lower than the standard - almost certainly if the school is a good indie or a good grammar. It's completely misunderstanding the concept of aspirational.

Definitely talk to Ho6 about the need to know before term ends if Oxford is a viable choice or not in terms of predicted grades, so that your DD can get in the zone.

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 11/07/2018 20:44

dds sixth form had an absolute policy of not changing the grade from their prediction.

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goodbyestranger · 11/07/2018 20:44

Decorhate they do accept lower grades where an applicant has performed especially well at interview and/ or in the aptitude test.

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Puzzledmum · 12/07/2018 09:06

Thanks Stranger. I agree about talking to the Ho6. I sent a request and am waiting for the call. I shall insist on knowing so DD can get in the zone as you say. Thank you for the advice!

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TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross · 12/07/2018 09:24

Is your DD likely to get an A? Has she produced A standard work during the course?

Predictions are a nightmare for us as we are under so much pressure from parents and students to predict very optimistically because the entry requirements for so many “desirable” universities are so high now.

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 12/07/2018 10:17

I don't blame schools in anyway for wanting their students to get into the best universities they can. It's quite ridiculous, with so many courses now dropping entry grades substantially when results come out, for all but a few universities it has now become all about the predictions. The actual A level grade barely seems to matter within a couple of grades or so.

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Puzzledmum · 12/07/2018 11:04

TheOnly she has been producing A/A* standard work all year and in fact most of her school life. She is definitely aiming for achieving 3A**next year (fingers crossed). Most of the girls in her school are in fact very hard working high achievers. Hence my problem with the very stingy predictions from the school. They are simply reluctant to predict the highest grades (although I am sure most girls will achieve them) and this way preventing the girls from applying to the most desired unis. This contributes to unnecessary stress and mental health issues for the girls and this also bothers me immensely, as I would like my DD to come out healthy and happy in the end and not a nervous wreck who has no strength to perform well when she really needs to. These are the main problems I have with this system.

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Puzzledmum · 12/07/2018 11:06

Sorry this all came out wrong I mean to say she works at A/A star* level and is hoping to achieve 3A* stars at the exams next year . Somehow the star sign is not working very well.

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 12/07/2018 12:52

bolding and A*s always goes wrong Grin

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Puzzledmum · 12/07/2018 13:00

So true! Very temperamental, these stars and the bolding Grin

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lalaloopyhead · 12/07/2018 13:13

My DD was predicted AAB based on mocks and her preferred Uni needed AAA. We spoke to the teacher at parents evening and asked if he would consider predicting an A so she would have the opportunity to apply and he agreed. She worked hard, got the grades and has just finished her first year.

We are not talking Oxford or Grammer school so can't comment from that angle. It does seem counter productive to lower predictions as surely they would want as many pupils as possible to get these top spots at Uni??

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Puzzledmum · 12/07/2018 13:40

Lala I agree completely! Oxbridge is a totally different ball game Grin! I am glad it worked out well for your DC. And this is exactly what I am talking about -the children should be given the opportunity to apply where they wish (within reason of course) and not be prevented just so the school can preserve their reputation of predicting the most accurate grades! The schools should encourage the students to aim higher and take opportunities and give them the benefit of the doubt when appropriate! More often than not, the kids will do better if encouraged!

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