Commenting on exam outcomes

Hi all! I am not a qualified teacher and I started tutoring straight out of uni. It’s not often, but I do sometimes get asked to predict whether a student will pass a certain exam or my opinion on taking a higher/lower paper. I could of course give my opinion/guess but I don’t feel very comfortable doing this. Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with responding to these kinds of questions well if you don’t feel qualified to answer? Thanks!

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Hi Katie,
I tend to say something like ‘If they do what we’ve practised/the revision I’m recommending… then they could get…’ or ‘he/she has shown me this level of work but he/she would need to show that in the exam’. I have found that some parents want a lot of this kind of information as a replacement for lack of contact from the school and it is worth remembering that you are only with the student for a certain amount of time and the school is able to predict grades based on years of data and outcomes.

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I think it’s important to be honest and open with the parents. It is fine to say that you are not a qualified teacher, so you don’t specialise in exam qualifications but in skill building, so you can confirm if the student is doing well with a skill but you can’t give grade predictions, for example.

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Thank you - yes that could be a helpful way to phrase things!

Thanks Heather, that’s definitely something I agree with and the phrasing makes a lot of sense too. Really helpful!

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I fully agree with all the points raised above.

Additionally, I conduct at least two standard tests ( like mock exams)for the student to determine his/her level and compare with previous grades to determine the future outcome in the pending exams. Though this is subjective!

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Agree with LJ12. We can still be helpful in this respect, while not being qualified teachers. Happier doing this for a student I’ve worked with on lots of problems. Less so for one I’ve just started with.

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I guess it does depend on the subject. I am an English teacher with experience as a marker and the marking is very subjective and varied (especially when you’re teaching different exam boards), so I think someone who wasn’t a qualified teacher would struggle to mark them accurately. For subjects that are less subjective I guess it would be OK.