Trust predicted D grade for pupil who won scholarship to drama school

Tes Editorial

Teachers have told The TES of strange estimates of future performance being generated by the Fischer Family Trust for pupils they know are particularly gifted - or not - in non-core subjects.

One professional revealed that a pupil with a string of relatively poor test results at key stage 2 was being predicted to achieve a D grade in GCSE drama by the trust. But, he said, the child was so gifted in the subject, she had already received a scholarship to go to the famous Italia Conti Academy for Theatre Arts, in London.

He said he expected her to get an A*, which she duly achieved. He said the trust's data was "totally useless" at assessing performance in creative subjects.

The system is also used to estimate how well a child might do under teacher assessments. A head of PE said: "We have a pupil who has dyspraxia and is predicted to get a level 6 (well above average) in PE at the end of key stage 3.

"Similarly, I also have a Year 8 student who is a great all-round athlete, even having the potential to play county representative football and cricket yet he is only predicted a national curriculum level 4 at end of key stage 3. When we questioned this with the relevant bodies, they keep reiterating that all the evidence points to the accuracy of the predicted grades programmes over the averaging out of data from across the country."

A head of art said: "I am at present engaged in discussions with school management regarding FFT. Out of my current group of 42 year 11 students, 55 per cent of them have FFT target grades of A and A*. They may be bright academically but they do not have the technical ability to achieve the grades.

"As a consequence, my value-added is going to be terrible. This sends a message to the management team we are underachieving, which is far from the truth."

A business studies teacher said: "I have had some wildly inaccurate targets for my pupils." A head of music asked: "How can science, maths and English key stage 2 and key stage 3 results be used to give a predicted grade for GCSE music?"

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