Exams: new OCR research finds that half of teachers’ grade predictions are wrong

The TES is reporting new research suggesting more than half of teachers’ forecasts for their pupils’ GCSE and A-level grades are wrong, and staff have a tendency to be too optimistic about results.

The findings from the OCR board, shared exclusively with TES, show that accuracy is worse now than in previous years. Despite this, greater emphasis will be placed on teachers’ predictions of student performance in the wake of the government’s overhaul of A-levels…

Independent schools are the best at predicting their students’ A-level grades, the OCR research shows. In 2014 they produced correct forecasts for 50 per cent of their pupils.

Grammar schools came second, with 47 per cent of their forecasts proving to be correct. 

Next were academies at 42 per cent, followed by comprehensives and sixth-form colleges, which were right in 41 per cent of cases. 

FE colleges came last, with just 36 per cent of their forecasts proving correct…

For more on this article, get the 7th August edition of TES

More at: Exams: new OCR research finds that half of teachers’ grade predictions are wrong


Which, as the full article goes on to suggest, makes things a bit of a lottery when it comes to university admissions, especially as AS level grades will be available in far fewer cases than before.

Another reason why it perhaps makes more sense and would be fairer to look at applying for university places after A-level grades have been awarded and not before? 


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Categories: Secondary and Teaching.


  1. amforrester1

    SchoolsImprove interesting that teachers are wrong and yet re marked papers can move from Us to As with different examiners…??

  2. Jacky

    If you are predicting a top grade then all you have to do is be able to predict that the mark will be above a certain score, and so less accuracy is needed to get a correct prediction. Lower marks have a smaller ‘bandwidth’, and so might have less accuracy. Hence, the more top grades you have (independent schools) the better your prediction rate. Someone should compare the accuracy of predictions of the actual grades across different types of schools, e.g. a B or C grade across all schools. If then there is still a better accuracy for independent schools then there will be something to report.
    Also we are supposed to be optimistic in our predictions. On a good day, downhill, with the wind behind them. So no surprises there.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove There’ll be a few reasons for this: 1. Repeated changes in exams policy make predictions more difficult (1 of 2)

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Reason 2: students’ actual mark compared to prediction and if wildly different heavily questioned so better to be “generous”

  5. Who cares anyway?  The predicted grade is just used by the exam board to flag up results which need to be checked.
    The vast majority of those ‘wrong’ predictions will be only out by one grade and hence will not trigger a  check.

  6. thislast

    SchoolsImprove I know you are just trying to attract attention but it tires me out to keep readng such misleading guff parading as summary.

  7. Mando_Nottm

    SchoolsImprove ‘Teachers are better at predicting A Levels than GCSEs’ Easier to predict when students spend more time on each subject.

  8. Teachers’ grades are presumably based on knowledge of the pupils’ work over a year or more.  Examination grades are based on batch marking of pupils’ work over a two or three hour period.  Is it not more likely that the latter are “wrong”?

  9. Prufrockprof

    SchoolsImprove but doesn’t this suggest that GTGs are often wrong in the first place and that teachers then have to match? Unrealistic.

  10. timothycullinan

    SchoolsImprove tutor2u_graham But what proportion are to the grade either side? Very marginal differences

  11. DavidWray

    SchoolsImprove Classic! Who is likely to know best about student achievement? Obviously it MUST be examiners (or OFSTED). Not!

  12. jeografy

    Total Bollox Anyway
    Kids go into exam and are responsible from then on!
    Teachers R not Sages
    U expect TO much
    Back off U0001f44e

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