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UK: University and college offers could soon be based on actual grades, UCAS says

By Sue Smith

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The proposed changes to the university application system in the UK is of great interest.  For a long time now, students have applied with predicted grades which their schools have provided, 6 months or in some cases, even 9 months before they actually sit their exams.  It is not easy to accurately predict how a student will perform, especially so far in advance.  It has been suggested that this system is particularly disadvantageous for students from disadvantaged group because it is felt that these students are often under-predicted.

There is, of course, a lot of pressure to ‘over-predict’ a student. I think it is fundamentally a good idea to try and offer students admission based on their actual grades, rather than predicted grades.  I support this system because I believe a lot of time and effort is put into predicted grades which could be avoided in the new system and the time better spent covering the syllabus.

It might mean that universities need to start a bit later, or exam might need to be held a bit earlier but in other jurisdictions – such as in Hong Kong and in Australia – while students do apply before their exams,  they are offered places based on their actual grades.  It should be possible to do this in the UK as well.




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