UK union calls for students to get their exam results before applying to university

The UK University and College Union(UCU), has called for universities to stop using predicted grades when deciding whether to offer students a place. UK is the only nation that uses predicted A-level grades, made by teachers, for university admissions, which is “out of step” with the rest of the world.


The UCU said that research has shown that only 16 per cent of A-level grade predictions are correct, thus highlighted the inherent flaws in the system. Unconditional offers by universities based on this system have “made a mockery of exams and led to inflated grade predictions, while putting students under enormous pressure to make a snap decision about their future”


In support of the UCU’s call for the government to overhaul the predicted grades system, the deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Malcolm Trobe, said that the system creates unnecessary problems – unconditional offers can demotivate students and lead to underperformance in the actual A-level exams which puts students at a disadvantage if their prospective employers take their grades into account.


However, the UK University Admissions body said that while post-results admission service has much appeal, it would be likely to significantly disadvantage underrepresented and disabled students  – students from disadvantaged backgrounds would be less likely to have access to teachers and support in making application choices. Universities and colleges would also have insufficient time to consider applications holistically. Furthermore, a system overhaul would require a massive structural change to either the secondary or higher education systems to implement it.


This article brings back memories of having to “predict” PSLE results when making our choices of Secondary School in the past. I remember my teacher giving advice on what schools to choose based on our perceived potential results before we even sat for the PSLE. Would we have done better if we chose after receiving the results? I believe it would certainly have afforded better clarity, if nothing else.


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