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CAG trouble.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by BrightonPhysics, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. BrightonPhysics

    BrightonPhysics New commenter


    I know that I don't post here much but would really like some thoughts on this problem of my own doing:

    Back in March I predicted this A - level student a certain grade. If my memory serves he was quite pushy for it because of where he wanted to go next but I could be mistaken. It could have just been an oversight on my part.

    When all the coronavirus took off and we needed to submit CAGS, I reviewed the data and could not in good faith recommend that grade. I submitted the grade I thought he would have got (one grade lower). Before the U-turn the government awarded him with a grade 2 lower than he was expecting and one lower than I gave. Parents were angry.

    Now, with the u turn they know what grade I submitted. They are livid and are demanding I call them to discuss the "mistake". Apparently he only applied for universities on the higher grade.

    I'm in a bit of a panic to be honest!

    How much did I mess up?
    Any advice on how to go forward?

    Thank you!
  2. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter

    Oh, I don't think you messed up.

    You predicted the grade you genuinely believed he would get. You didn't cheat. You were honest and did what you were supposed to do.A prediction in March is never a guarantee, not in any year.

    How to go forward? I would hope that HoD and SMT would support you on this but, whatever happens, be certain that you did the right thing.

    That's his mistake, not yours. We always warn them about insurance offers. if they choose not to listen and to bank on a grade they haven't got yet, more fool them.
  3. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    As they are CENTRE assessed grades, I should ask your SLT to respond to them, not you personally as the teacher.
  4. BrightonPhysics

    BrightonPhysics New commenter

    Thank you, sound advice.
  5. BrightonPhysics

    BrightonPhysics New commenter

    This is lovely, thank you.
  6. Aelfric

    Aelfric New commenter

    And here lies the problem with these CAG grades. The U turn by the government is putting unnecessary stress on teachers and using us effectively as scapegoats. Try not to worry, you used your professional judgement and that’s all anyone can ask.
  7. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    A UCAS prediction and a Centre Assessed Grade are not the same thing. The former is based on less evidence and should be optimistic.
  8. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    I was literally about to reply with the same comment. We've had a couple of students complaining that their CAG was not the same as their (slightly more generous ) UCAS grade. The difference needs to be made clear to them. Perhaps in future we will need to pull back on any aspirational 'benefit of the doubt' in UCAS predictions. In the case of the OP's situation, your student couldn't possibly have applied to universities on the strength of the CAG, only the UCAS grade.
    ajrowing, phlogiston, ATfan and 4 others like this.
  9. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Agree that this should be dealt with by SLT, not the teacher who determined the grade.

    Unfortunately I think a lot of people think their CAG will be what was on their UCAS form, so there may be quite a lot of disappointed students who will need this explaining.
    phlogiston, strawbs, ATfan and 2 others like this.
  10. BrightonPhysics

    BrightonPhysics New commenter

    Thank you for all of the replies.

    I'm sure I wont be the last teacher to get "called up" on CAG grades.

    Still, I stand by my CAGS, I don't stand by all of my UCAS predictions!
    phlogiston, ATfan, Ohwell and 5 others like this.
  11. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Senior commenter

    I think schools need to be careful to make it clear that the grades were issued by SCHOOLS, not individual teachers.
    ajrowing, zaccat1, Pomza and 9 others like this.
  12. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    You haven't messed up - I've had to deal with a similar situation. This was bound to happen, UCAS and CAGs were made 6 months apart, the CAGs are more recent and therefore more accurate. CAGs also went through an internal moderation process that has altered some grades.

    DO NOT phone them, even with a witness present. Acknowledge receipt of their communication via e-mail and say that someone will contact them then escalate to your line manager. Don't just leave them hanging or they'll start e-mailing everyone - shut it down, keep it narrow, prevent everyone from sticking their oar into situations that don't concern them.

    Explain the situation clearly to your line manager - leave nothing out, even if it's unflattering. The worst thing that can happen when dealing with a complaint is when staff have left out pertinent information - you all end up looking daft.

    The worst that will happen is that you'll have to sit in a room and apologise for not communicating that child X's performance was now at grade Y not Z but with Covid normal reporting systems went out of the window, blah, blah, blah.
  13. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    If you are sure you have done the right thing at the stage of submitting the grades and ranking your students, my reaction to anyone challenging my judgement is to insist say that if they’re unhappy with the CAGs, they should prepare to take the exams in the autumn.
  14. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    A teacher at a successful public school told me this. After years of tracking offers at top unis they realised that in some courses requiring say BBB it appeared that the unis only gave offers to kids predicted AAA. They explained this to kids applying. The high UCAS predictions were to help them get an offer they could meet.
    phlogiston and ATfan like this.
  15. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    If you haven’t yet flagged this up with your line manager / SLT to deal with then do so immediately. You have done nothing wrong. Your UCAS prediction was an optimistic hope. Your centre assessment grade was a realistic estimate.
    Your SLT will have reviewed all the grades (or should have). I’m assuming they know what your UCAS prediction was? If so, even better. They didn’t pick it up as an issue when you submitted your CAGs (because it isn’t one) so you don’t have to justify yourself now. If they don’t know your UCAS predictions, then just explain as you have here. I wouldn’t say he was pushy for it, especially if you are not sure if that was the case, as it makes it sound as if that wasn’t your professional judgment. It was - for UCAS. But CAGs are different.

    Tell them and let them deal. If they won’t, I would (a) tell them you feel uncomfortable doing it as surely there is a whole-school line to follow; (b) say there is no way you can do it until you return to school, which delays a response (unhelpful to the pupil who clearly has been brought up to believe that if he stamps his feet mummy and daddy will make sure he can have what he wants) and (c), this is one where I would just drop my union a line to let them know because if SLT won’t deal, is it because they are hanging you out to dry. But that’s a hypothetical. At this moment they don’t know about it and you’ve done nothing wrong, they get paid for this so let them deal.
  16. mflmflmfl

    mflmflmfl New commenter

    Yes - there's a difference between CAG and UCAS grade (which is much more optimistic), as a number have said. When I see the word "prediction", I think some of the students with their placards and stories in the media may not be entirely clear about the difference. Does anybody else wonder about that too?
    ATfan, steely1, install and 1 other person like this.
  17. install

    install Star commenter

    1 Do not make contact with the parents. Keep your professional distance .
    2 The CAG Grade was moderated and signed off by your SLT. They could have risen it / lowered it - but they moderated it and gave it the CAG grade. (The UCAS Grades are generous predictions for a different audience). The Ofqual grade could also have been higher and Ofqual didn’t agree with SLT CAG - in fact they lowered it.
    3 I used to get pushy parents in the private sector and my advice is steer clear. You are now out of the process and the final grades are out of your control.
    4 Hopefully your LM/SLT will inform them to take the exams available for those who are unhappy with their grades. This is the student’s chance to prove how good they are.
    5 Do not give this a second thought and whatever you do forward any emails to SLT and do not talk about grades. Should they confront you personally direct them immediately to the HT. Do not allow yourself to be in the position of being threatened, intimidated or made to feel you did something wrong. You haven’t and your final decision went to SLT to be checked.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
  18. bobtes

    bobtes Occasional commenter

    We've just been instructed by the HT for GCSEs tomo not to discuss background behind grades with parent/pupils but to refer them to SLT
  19. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    Our teaching staff are not even going in tomorrow. All being done by SLT.
  20. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    If your management ask you to defend your CAG, look at the student's record since March. Presumably you set some work after March. Did he do it? If he didn't , say your grade was lower because there was no evidence of ongoing study and progress. If he did do it, was it really as good as the original predicted grade?

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