Sixth Form

UCAS Predicted Grades/applying to university

UCAS Predicted Grades

Definition and purpose of predicted grades

The definition of predicted grades provided by UCAS states that they are “the grade of qualification an applicant’s school or college believes they are likely to achieve in positive circumstances”. Formulating these predicted grades can be challenging due to the number of variables that affect a student’s final performance at the end of a two year course.

At Ripley we seek to provide predicted grades that are aspirational for our students, but they must also be realistic and achievable. This is to ensure that students gain access to the courses most suited to them in Higher Education or on an appropriate apprenticeship/employment-based programme. Advice from universities is that they generally presume that “the predictions will be optimistic but realistic – what the applicant can achieve on a good day if they put the work in” (P. Chetwynd, Associate Director, Undergraduate Admissions, King’s College, London).

Principles for formulating predicted grades

Teachers at Ripley St Thomas Sixth Form will consider the following when considering the most appropriate grade for individual students.

Predicted grades should be:

  • aspirational but achievable – optimistic predicted grades can be motivational for students, unattainable predicted grades are not.
  • determined by professional judgement – teacher expertise and experience are vital in informing predictions.
  • based on evidence – student performance across Year 12 will strongly inform predicted grades. This may include consistent performance in assessments and/or examinations during the academic year. Target grades are one possible indicator of potential future performance but not a guarantee. Students who have high target grades will not be automatically predicted high UCAS predicted grades however, conversely, students should not be limited by prior performance at GCSE or their subsequent target grades. Many students can flourish in their chosen A level subjects and outperform target grades. It should be noted that universities and employers will always have access to GCSE grades so will already have a method of judging an applicant’s prior academic achievement in external examinations.
  • transparent and in the best interests of the student – students are informed of their predicted grades and these grades allow students fair access to the most suitable courses for them.
  • not influenced by university entrance requirements or parent/carer pressure – predicted grades are set in isolation of an applicant’s chosen route or course/university.

Process for receiving and potentially upgrading predicted grades

Students will be informed of their predicted grades in July of Year 12. All students will have the opportunity to request that their predicted grades are reviewed in the Autumn Term. They will be given the opportunity to sit a UCAS Predicted Grades Upgrade Assessment in each subject during September. Teachers will provide information regarding the upgrade assessment in July so that they have plenty of time to prepare.

It should be made clear, however, that an upgrade is not automatic, and there must be clear evidence that the student has significantly improved their performance under timed conditions. The fact that a student ‘needs’ a certain grade for a particular course or university is not a compelling reason in and of itself. If a student’s performance does not improve (or remains the same) in this second assessment, they will retain their original predicted grade from July. Any predicted grade upgrades must be confirmed by the Subject Leader of the subject concerned and students will be notified officially of these during the first week in October.

Tutors will provide contextual information in the student’s reference, including factors which may have affected their progress during Year 12 or their earlier schooling.