My post this week is to advise parents of juniors and 18-month students about predicted grades. These form part of the application process for UK universities. We will be entering our predicted grades for A level subjects shortly after we return next semester. Very recently, Pn. Kas did a careful run-through of the whole process during an assembly for all students affected. I am taking the opportunity here to make sure parents, too, are fully acquainted with the procedure, which has been tried, tested and refined over several years.
Why do we have to issue predicted grades?
UK universities make conditional offers to potential students partly based on the grades we predict they will get in the A level examinations of 2017. Predicted grades, are therefore, an essential and integral part of the UCAS application process.
On what criteria do we base our predictions for 24-month students?
For 24-month students, we base our predictions (and the universities demand we do this) solely on AS level results. Typically, we predict the same grade that has been achieved at AS, or one level above. For example, if a student gets a (b) at AS (please remember that AS grades are shown in lower case letters; A level in upper case) we can predict either a (B) at A level or an (A). However, if a student gets a (c) at AS the best we can predict at A level is a (B). We cannot predict an (A) if a student obtained a (c) or less at AS level. If we did so, the universities would ignore it anyway, and our academic credibility would suffer, as a direct consequence.
On what criteria do we base our predictions for 18-month students?
Students on the 18-month programme do not take AS level examinations. We, therefore, base our predicted grades on internally-assessed criteria. In practice, this means the end of semester examination results taken in May, 2016. Again, typically we will predict the same grade or perhaps one above what they have achieved. In the same way, we will never predict more than one grade above their KYUEM internal assessment.
Academic departments at KYUEM have some flexibility in how they finally predict A level grades for 18-month students. They may use one of these three variants:
- 100% of the grade is based upon the examination result alone.
- 70% is on the exam result; 30% of the grade comes from ongoing assessment.
- 70% is on the exam result; 20% of the grade is from ongoing work; 10% is based on attendance in class.
It is up to each 18-month student to ask his/her teacher which system is being used for each subject.
A word about UCAS references
KYUEM must provide an accurate and confidential reference for each student applying to British universities via the UCAS system. This is assembled and collated by each student's tutor, who will have received detailed information from the relevant subject teachers. It is important to note that these references are 100% confidential and the information should not be given to students. Sometimes, students approach teachers other than their personal tutors asking if they will write the reference instead. This is not allowed under any circumstances. Only the personal tutor will be accepted as the reference writer. However, please note that not one single reference is ever submitted to UCAS until it has been checked individually by either Pn. Kas or myself. I can assure you that both of us take our checking and proof-reading duties extremely seriously. No reference is ever submitted unless it has been rigorously scrutinised by one or other of us.
The whole UCAS application process is completed online. The only part of this required by a student is the creation and uploading of a personal statement. Again, Pn. Kas has done an excellent job of going through the right way to create one, but we can do more than this, if required. I make a personal offer to every student each year to bring their personal statements to me in my office and we will go through them together. All they need do is make an appointment beforehand with my secretary. I am more than willing to offer help and advice for this: I see it as an important part of my job. If students don't take advantage of the service, that is entirely up to them. I offer it every year and am making the same offer to you all right now, via this forum.
University application is a testing time for everyone. At KYUEM we have the experience and expertise to ensure it is done efficiently and with minimal stress for all concerned, if the procedures are followed carefully. I urge you to impress upon your sons and daughters the wisdom of doing so.