UCU calls for overhaul of university application system.

‘University workers are demanding an overhaul of the UK higher education application system after a report revealed that five out of every six predicted results for A-levels turns out to be wrong.

Research commissioned by the University and College Union (UCU), which analysed the results of 1.3 million students over a three-year period, found that the majority of students applying to university are predicted better results than they ultimately achieve.

The study by Dr Gill Wyness of the University College London Institute of Education revealed that just 16% of applicants’ grades were predicted correctly; three-quarters were over-predicted and 9% were under-predicted.

Under the current system, most students make applications to universities based on their predicted grades, which leads to uncertainty for both students and institutions when results differ from predictions – as they frequently do. Many students end up securing places through the clearing system.’ - Guardian

‘The report also found the grades of able students from disadvantaged backgrounds were most likely to be under-predicted.

Almost one in four (24%) applicants from lower-income households was under-predicted in their results, the UCU said, compared with a fifth (20%) of those from wealthier homes.

[Dr Wyness]… said students having their future grades under-rated by teachers should be of particular concern.

She said: "I find worrying evidence that, among high-achieving (ie AAB or higher) applicants, disadvantaged students are more likely to be under-predicted than their more advantaged counterparts.”’ - BBC

‘The union said it is calling for a move to a post-qualification admissions system, which would mean students applying to university with firm results, rather than predicted grades.

In February, UCAS chief Mary Curnock Cook suggested that teachers are intentionally bumping up students' predicted A-level grades to help them win places at top universities.

It comes as institutions are now "more flexible" with grade requirements amid intense competition to attract students, she said.’ - Telegraph

‘Ucas had previously pressed for a switch to post-qualification applications, but abandoned the plan in 2012 in the face of opposition from schools and universities.

Mary Curnock Cook… said of the UCU report: “These proposals would reduce choice and put students from challenging backgrounds at further disadvantage.

“It is not the case that only 16 per cent of predicted grades are right – the correct interpretation is that only about 16 per cent of students have no net deviation at all from their predicted grades across three A-level results.”’ – Times Higher Education

‘Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), which commissioned the report, said it showed that most predicted grades were “guesstimates”.

“The results strongly support our call for a complete overhaul of the system, where students apply after they receive their results,” she said.

Ms Hunt added that the findings were no reflection on “the hard-working teachers tasked with the impossible job of trying to make predictions”.’ - TES


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