Greenhead College’s policy on predicted grades has been written in the context of the following guidelines issued by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), ref. ‘Predicted grades – what you need to know’:
“A predicted grade is the grade of qualification an applicant’s school or college believes they’re likely to achieve in positive circumstances.
“These predicted grades are then used by universities and colleges, as part of the admissions process, to help them understand an applicant’s potential.
“Predicted grades should be:
- entered for all pending qualifications, unless the assessment method or structure of the qualification makes this inappropriate – failure to do so can lead to complications or, in some cases, the rejection of an application
- in the best interests of applicants – fulfilment and success at college or university is the end goal
- aspirational but achievable – stretching predicted grades are motivational for students, unattainable predicted grades are not
- determined by professional judgement – your expertise and experience are vital in informing predictions
- data-driven – while each school will have its own process, you should look at past Level 2 and Level 3 performance, and/or internal examinations to inform your predictions
- finalised by the point of submitting an application – universities and colleges are only likely to consider the predicted grades received as part of the UCAS application. While they will make every effort to accommodate genuine errors in data entry, this may not always be possible for highly selective courses
“Predicted grades should not be:
- affected by student, parental, guardian, or carer pressure – there are risks associated with inflating and suppressing predicted grades
- influenced by university or college entry requirements or behaviours – predicted grades should be set in isolation of an applicant’s university or college choice(s).”
The College’s policy
Although predicted grades are estimates, the College has a strong track record of making predictions which match to eventual A Level outcomes.
The College’s policy is not to issue predicted grades based on what students would like to achieve or on the basis of their promise to work harder to obtain it. Put simply, a student will not achieve an unrealistic predicted grade. Neither is the College’s policy to inflate predicted grades: this would have the impact of leading to a poorer correlation between predictions and outcomes, thus undermining the credibility of the process and would weaken the integrity of our estimates with many universities. In addition, the College’s approach is never to revise down predicted grades once these have been issued to students.
The College’s approach is based on the principle that we wish students to achieve excellent A Level grades and progress successfully to their chosen university.
In coming to an honest judgement on a student’s predicted grades, subject teachers and/or Heads of Department/Subject will consider his/her:
- Previous examination performance at GCSE
- Attendance record
- Performance under test conditions in College
- Data drawn from homework and assessments over time
- Classroom behaviour and commitment in the subject
- Engagement in extracurricular activities and work experience (where relevant)
- Contextual factors which may have caused temporary underperformance.
They will also:
- Use their professional judgement based on expert knowledge of the curriculum, the examination, and progression by students to similar university courses in previous years, and comparative performance against standards achieved by previous students with similar GCSE performance and target grades.
Based on this criteria, above, a judgement will be formed which reflects both what the student can realistically achieve and what they might achieve.
In summary, the College’s process is holistic, considering a range of factors; evidence-based, pointing to tangible data over a period of time; realistic, representing what this evidence tells us about the student; and draws on staff’s professional judgement.
It is also worth stressing that universities themselves will not simply consider a student’s predicted grades but a range of additional factors, including his/her:
- Performance at GCSE
- Personal statement
- Record of work experience (where relevant).
They will also consider the College’s reference which has been written by the student’s Personal Tutor. Additionally, many universities will require additional evidence in their selection process, such as a pre-interview assessment, written work, interview, etc.
Queries and appeals
Students are encouraged to discuss their predicted grades with their respective teachers and Personal Tutor, particularly if they are unsure how a particular grade has been derived.
However, a student may appeal to their respective teacher against a predicted grade. Appeals will only be considered against the criteria set out in bullet point form (in bold, page 3). Appeals will not be considered because a student or parent/carer wishes to have a higher grade or because of a commitment to work harder.
For the appeal to be successful, the teacher will use the criteria outlined above and must be secure in their judgement that these could reasonably result in a higher predicted grade. Alterations will be made by the subject teacher who will inform the Personal Tutor of the change on the Cedar pastoral log.
In some cases, where teachers feel an improvement is appropriate, a higher grade may be given on the firm understanding that a lower-offer university is selected as the insurance offer.
Should the predicted grade be unchanged on appeal, the student may make a further appeal to the Deputy Principal. The Deputy Principal will review the case and make a final decision.
Many students choose to either defer their university entry or apply after they have left College. The student’s former Personal Tutor (or former Tutor’s line manager if s/he no longer works in this capacity) will assist them with their application, providing all internally-set and external deadlines are adhered to.
A number of students choose to i) improve their A Level grades by sitting qualifications independently as candidates in other institutions or ii) undertake additional qualifications in other exam centres. Again, the student’s former Personal Tutor (or former Tutor’s line manager if s/he no longer works in this capacity) will assist them with their application, providing all internally-set and external deadlines are adhered to. However, predicted grades will not be made based on the current academic year, as our policy is to use the predictions which were set by teachers during the student’s final year of study at Greenhead College. Additionally, predicted grades will not be issued by College staff for any additional qualifications undertaken by students in another exam centre. In these circumstances, predicted grades will not be entered on the UCAS application and will be quoted within the body of the reference supplied by the College.