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Aspirational target grades

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Bonnie23, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter


    Lots of little questions popping into my head this week.

    On the back off some bad exam results I'm wondering if you find your school inflates the students target grades.

    I know at our school they are inflated at GCSE but I'm unsure about A-level.

    What are your thoughts or knowledge on the subject?

    B x
  2. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Usually predicted grades are based on prior achievement data.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  3. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Do you think schools inflate them to try to get more out of students/teachers?
  4. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Not in my experience. How are your predicted grades calculated?
  5. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    In all honesty I'm not sure. I know they are taken off their GCSE grades but I was always under the impression it was meant to be one grade below from what you got at GCSE. For example if you got an A you would have a target of a B.

    But I think some of our students still have the same target as their GCSE result. E.g. I have students that got B's aiming to get a B at A-level but that doesn't seem right.
  6. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  7. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Bonnie23 likes this.
  8. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Of course there may be an update that correlates to the 1-9 or I expect there will be or perhaps should be for future use as all subjects have now moved over *I think.
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  9. lisajane007

    lisajane007 New commenter

    Yes. We inflate at both GCSE and A-level. Generally one grade above.
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  10. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Depends on the school, my last one insisted on 80% at whatever grade the SMT felt like. So I am not there in September. But many do the "aspirational" grade thing. It's supposed to make the pupils work harder but makes a lot feel stupid and give up. The well reasoned article this year about how ridiculous "growth mind set" can be, applies here I believe.
  11. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Our procedure - use ALIS data to get predictions, during Year 12. Look at each pupil individually and adjust targets - there can be lots of special reasons why ALIS is too optimistic or too pessimistic.
    Use ALIS, mock exams and (where appropriate) AS results to predict A Level, along with consideration of the individual pupil. Predictions are offered at two levels - most likely grade, which would more-or-less match the average progress of our pupils; and best grade which is usually one or two higher and represents an aspirational give-it-all-you've-got target. UCAS predictions have inevitably to be made quite early so tend to cover both eventualities; predictions to Awarding Bodies tend to be just a tad optimistic.
    needabreak and Bonnie23 like this.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I am pretty sure my former school inflated target grades way beyond what was reasonable.
    One pupil who had achieved level 3 in both KS2 sats was targeted a B in science. By the time I discovered his earlier grades, he was an extremely angry young man and ended up in an EBD unit where I hope they were able to sort him out.
  13. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    I find this saddening. So much pressure is put on individuals that sometimes it goes unnoticed because results take a higher priority. I am seeing more and more clearly how schools are becoming exam factories, all driven by a government with a bunch of statistics in front of them.
    needabreak likes this.
  14. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Indeed. It is ludicrous that we prioritise the perception of the school over the individual needs of students to compete in a market that needs no competition because it is a State funded provision, for fear of job losses if perceived unsatisfactory by a body that does not necessarily know or care about the individual student circumstances.

    I once sat down with an inspector when looking at data and was able to identify several students who had underachieved by a very small margin, we knew those students and were able to identify such issues as looking after siblings in parental absence (6th form), having children themselves, bereavement of close family members and in one case a forced marriage! Non of these issues are available with just data alone.
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  15. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    In my experience, they aren't intended to be inflated, but are based on KS2 data, which sometimes could be inflated, particularly if the timetable had been adjusted to focus almost entirely on SATs in year 6. Add to that the fact that the data was based mainly on English and maths, which is not entirely irrelevant, but definitely less relevant for some subjects, e.g. music, PE, art, etc, and you can end up with targets that are beautifully calculated, but not at all realistic.
  16. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    They are statistically calculated, but they are not targets, they are simply a projection of what historically others have achieved. They are meaningless statistically for looking at individuals, but have meaning when you look at large cohorts, even then local circumstances could distort their validity.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    The problem is though that these aspirational targets (which in 90%+ of cases are just unrealistic) then get used to instill total panic amongst the staff when you go to staff meetings and see a sea of red on the charts.

    I like our SLT (honest) but they took this aspirational target data and ran with it all year. It doesn't help morale - it really doesn't.

    As it happens the kids have done OK but no doubt we'll get a repeat performance this year - probably starting on the first day back.
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  18. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Honestly at school I found my target grades out only from one subject, they weren't widely shared then and it doesn't feel that long ago.

    I was told for one of my subjects my target grade was a C, it was a subject I loved and I was quite upset by this and so I worked my backside off and came out with a B which I was happy with. I think aspiration target grades just put unrealistic pressure on everyone.

    As it was said above, school shouldn't be competitive, we shouldn't have to fight to be the best, especially when they say every child matters (but clearly only in the stressed schools)
  19. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I sometimes think we now have a culture where the grade for a particular student is more important to the teachers than the student.

    It shouldn't be that way - going down this path has cost thousands of teachers their careers.
    needabreak and Bonnie23 like this.
  20. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I don't remember ever being given a target at school. My teachers said 'do your best, get the highest grade you can' and that was it. I am absolutely certain that for some students, aspirational targets are disheartening and offputting, plus they're just another tool to wallop teachers over the head - "oh, your class got their real targets but not their aspirational targets so you must have low expectations". Urgh. They make me angry.
    emhinch, needabreak and Bonnie23 like this.

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