Home Lifestyle Universities, is it time to ditch the predicted grade system?

Universities, is it time to ditch the predicted grade system?

Universities, is it time to ditch the predicted grade system?
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A recent study has revealed this week that a minuscule 16 per cent of pupils actually achieve the university grades predicted for them by their teachers, research also shows that around 73 per cent of 1.3 million pupils were handed intentionally inflated grades by their teachers in order to get them onto the conditional offers of their favourite universities.

There is of course another side to the argument, 9 per cent of all pupils actually did better than expected, meaning that their predicted grades could have possibly held them back in their choices and conditional offers.

It appears that the predicted grade system is not only becoming an unreliable form of assessment, but also a rather outdated and damaging one as well!

The UCU are now calling for universities to base their offers off of solid marks instead of conditional grades.

They are proposing that offers are made after A Level results, meaning that conditional offers will be abolished.

The UCU have also argued that the grades of poorer pupils are more likely to be under predicted, as 24 per cent of pupils from working class, low income backgrounds were ultimately handed incorrect predicted grades, which then arguably affected their chances of getting into university.

There is no denying that many pupils ask and essentially bug their teachers for high predicted grades. My French teacher, for example, finally caved in and gave me a predicted B after my constant querying.

The B was achieved and I was accepted into a Red Brick University, yet the frustration will always remain that stubbornness can at times prevent success, the idea is also called into question as to whether teachers should really have that much control over the future of a pupil’s education.

The BBC have claimed that poor predictions inhibit performance, as students with incorrectly predicted, low grades, will ultimately end up in universities that they are too qualified to actually attend, whilst students who are given overly inflated predictions will then have the frustration and confidence knocking realisation that they have ultimately failed.

The General Secretary of the UCU, Sally Hunt, has expressed her distaste for the current system, labelling it as ‘broken’ and desperately in need of reform; ‘the results strongly support our call for a complete overhaul of the system, where students apply after they receive their results.’

The UCU have also expressed their annoyance at the fact that the UK is the only country in the world that still persist in this method of university acceptance, labelling the system as damaging to pupil’s confidence, mental health, determination and emotional worth.

However, the head of UCAS, Mary Curnock, has responded to the backlash against the current system.

Curnock argues that it would be unprofessional to wait until grades are delivered to then start the application process, stating that the stress of organising finance, accommodation, interviews and enrolment in the short summer between results and the start of university will make for a fairly haphazard approach to the process, potentially leaving many students left behind by their institutions.

Finally, speaking on the topic, the Department of Education have declared that as universities are independent bodies, it will be up to them to decide on their application process, UCAS will simply have to cater to individual cases.

What do you think?

As a student, would you have liked to have applied after grading, or did the current system work just fine for you?

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Elizabeth Whittingham Elizabeth is a history graduate currently working in content and communications.