Pupils awaiting their A-level results may be able to pre-empt the little brown envelope by using this chart drawn up from Newcastle University's A-Level Information System (ALIS).
By computing a score based on average GCSE results (see below), researchers say that A-level grades in each subject can be predicted.
The ALIS team at the university's Curriculum, Evaluation and Management Centre (CEM), have analysed the marks and grades in each subject, which vary depending on the number and standard of pupils taking the subject. For example, a person with a score of 5.5 could expect to get a C grade in photography and art, but a grade D in geography and physics and between a D and E in Latin and French. The lack of A grades on the chart is because A is not the grade obtained on average, even by students with only A grades at GCSE.
According to Carol Fitz-Gibbon, CEM's director, some students will get higher or lower than the chart predicts. For example, research shows that among girls and boys with the same average GCSE scores, the girls tend to do less well than the boys. "Whether this represents over-achievement by girls at GCSE or under-achievement at A-level is not clear," she said.
The ALIS project first provided a dozen schools with value-added analyses in 1983.
Computer disks are available with data for the past three years. Details from the CEM Centre, telephone 0191 222 6588, fax 0191 222 5021.
[Graphic not available on the database] This table shows what grades at A-level pupils are likely to get, depending on achievement at GCSE. It uses data from the A-Level Information System.