Truly, madly, probably and possibly

21st June 1996 at 01:00
Teachers at a Fife secondary had a simple request for their board of studies: they wanted a system for recording a pupil's progress at Standard grade - Credit, General or Foundation. At each level the prospect was to be "probable" or "possible".

We, as they, were impressed by the logic and clarity of the board of studies' offering.

"Two categories are identifiable by teachers at end of S2 with some degree of confidence: the most and least able - destined to be recommended C (probable) and F (probable) respectively. By default, all the rest can only be possible C or F respectively.

"Since all classes operate a two-level course system, such pupils - and there are a very large number of them - must be in a GC class (or a GF class). If they are considered at best to be a C possible (as above), then inevitably G must be probable.

"The group is then properly defined as G probable C possible.

"Equally, if at worst F is possible then the greater probability is G, and G probable F possible is an appropriate definition.

"I hope this clarifies the matter; we certainly would not want to introduce further divisions to the prospects, given the hazardous nature of forecasting, often on minimal info, success in courses yet to be taken two years hence. "


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