The TES is reporting that the vast majority of A-level grades predicted by teachers are incorrect, and accuracy levels are likely to worsen in future, according to research published today.
The findings are included in a report written by a UCL Institute of Education academic, which reveals that only one in six A-level grade predictions were accurate. Three-quarters of actual grades turned out to be lower than teachers had estimated, while just one in 10 were higher.
The report has sparked renewed calls for a complete overhaul of the UK’s university applications system, so that students apply after their final exam results are known.
Author Dr Gill Wyness suggested that teachers tended to over-predict, rather than under-predict, grades – particularly for lower-attaining pupils – because they treated predicted grades as a “target for students to aim for, rather than a prediction of how they will perform”.
Her report added: “Moreover, there would seem to be little incentive for teachers to under-predict a student’s grade since this may encourage them to ‘give up’ or at least discourage them from aiming ‘high’.”
The report warns: “If being under-predicted results in students applying to universities which they are over-qualified for, this could have a direct impact on social mobility, potentially skewing social representation across higher education institutions.
“Moreover, it could result in students becoming demotivated and dropping out of university altogether.”
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), which commissioned the report, said it showed that most predicted grades were “guesstimates”.
“The results strongly support our call for a complete overhaul of the system, where students apply after they receive their results,” she said.
What can we do to ensure predicted grades are as accurate as possible without disheartening the students? Do you think that we need to have an overhaul of the UCAS system so students apply to university after they have received their final grades? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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