Should the uni admissions system change?

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Poll: Which proposed uni application process would you prefer?
Applying to uni after you get your results (PQA) (588)
52.55%
Applying to uni before exams but only receiving offers after your results (PQO) (111)
9.92%
Applying to uni before exams, interview before results, then receive offers after results (PQO - UCAS) (150)
13.4%
Applying to uni before exams with predicted grades (Current system) (256)
22.88%
Another option (tell us in the chat!) (14)
1.25%
mnot
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#21
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(Original post by nexttime)
My interpretation of that, correct me if I'm wrong, is that they are saying that predicted grades might actually be slightly better for under-represented groups (mainly because state schools are far more lax with the predictions they make, I suspect), therefore they are "fair"?

Seems a very interesting definition of fair doesn't it?! My understanding is that predicted grades are horribly inaccurate. That alone makes them 'unfair', and is sufficient to make every effort to get rid of them!
Predicted grades are a total waste of time.

As many students get over-predicted +5 grades as get under-predicted by 1 grades.

75% of students get inflated predictions, and only 8% are under predicted (and these are almost always straight A/A* students) (and 16% get the correct tariff predicted).

https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/8409/Pr...rt_Dec2016.pdf
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8013
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#22
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(Original post by mnot)
Predicted grades are a total waste of time.

As many students get over-predicted +5 grades as get under-predicted by 1 grades.

75% of students get inflated predictions, and only 8% are under predicted (and these are almost always straight A/A* students) (and 16% get the correct tariff predicted).

https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/8409/Pr...rt_Dec2016.pdf
It is the reverse in my school as more than 90% of people in my school did much better than predicted, with the average student in my class being under predicted by 2.1 grades per subject.
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mnot
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#23
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(Original post by 8013)
It is the reverse in my school as more than 90% of people in my school did much better than predicted, with the average student in my class being under predicted by 2.1 grades per subject.
Well these are national statistics, but even still volatility is more evidence that they are a waste of time.

What year did you finish A-levels?
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8013
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#24
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(Original post by mnot)
Well these are national statistics, but even still volatility is more evidence that they are a waste of time.

What year did you finish A-levels?
I meant in AS. My class got mostly B-D predictions in A levels, but we got a big bunch of As in AS, and are expected to do the same in A levels. I finish A levels in 2021.
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mnot
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(Original post by 8013)
I meant in AS. My class got mostly B-D predictions in A levels, but we got a big bunch of As in AS, and are expected to do the same in A levels. I finish A levels in 2021.
My stats were UCAS predictions.
Im assuming these are in school predictions i.e. non-public and thus shouldn't impact university admissions. Although I would also say data from last year or this year is not a reliable source when comparing UCAS predictions Vs achieved results.
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TCL
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#26
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#26
(Original post by nexttime)
So solve the time problem by bringing back national service basically
Yes, I think a much broader national service, which is not military focussed could be a great way of giving people time to think about what they want and encouraging people to be community spirited as most placements would be in public sector or not-for-profit organisations. It would mean that people would apply to university with grades in hand, but would also mean that Y12/Y13 students would not drift into a course which might not be right for them just because everyone was expected to apply to university. It is a sad thing that lots of people will do courses they are not really interested in just because they can and, as you can only get funding for 1 undergraduate degree, they lose the opportunity to study something they are really interested in later.
Last edited by TCL; 2 weeks ago
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WassupLadz
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#27
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(Original post by nexttime)
There's just no way that could work though right. Uni admissions departments couldn't handle it (least of all those who actually make an effort with admissions tests and interviews - medicine, Oxbridge, handful of other courses). And that rather limits the solutions 2 + 3 as well.

Not without a major restructuring of when people are admitted in relation to exams anyway - uni could start in January after exam results in August, I guess?



Need to bring back AS. It was ridiculous that they were scrapped, seemingly just because one man thought it was time for a bit of a change? And it hasn't even been fully implemented, seemingly? Some people still do AS? What on earth were they thinking!?

I quite like the idea of basing all uni admissions off of AS. Main problem is what motivation would students have to do well at A2. Uni credit maybe?! Dunno.


You'd have to simplify student loans. Giving everyone the same loan regardless of income, which would be fairer anyway, would be a good start! Then all they need to process is proof of identity and bank details.

Agreed.

The whole idea of grades is just a dumbing down so that Joe Public doesn't have to deal with actual numbers, isn't it?

So you're proposing dedicated admissions tests for all subjects for all unis?

Problem is, most unis really just don't care enough about their admissions to want to pay for this. Their budgets are tight enough as it is, and selecting slightly better students doesn't actually gain them any extra funding, and it doesn't impact the grades they can award.



This is an interesting idea - getting people to number their choices before they apply. It basically removes power from applicants (as they have to decide earlier) in favour of making it simpler for unis, as they could be told their offer has been rejected far quicker. That might allow an extra uni choice or two, maybe?

I think you are also hinting here that you'd just let people apply to as many unis as they want? Definitely wouldn't be for that. It would make running admissions selection far harder and they'd have to resort to far more arbitrary measures. For example no way Cambridge could interview ~80% of its applicants if it were getting 20 applicants per place rather than 4.
1) regarding admissions tests - its there to discriminate pupils based on academic performance. There are ways to tax people based on POLAR quintiles etc. so use that to adjust scores. Secondly it'll save a lot of manpower for a lot of unis. Because they simply don't care about personal statements enough, as its too subjective. So that cost can be transferred, it could be a sort of nationwide testing at AS.
Alteratively make people pay for it, apart from the poorest (POLAR 5 quintile), 50£ per person isn't a huge deal if ur in a household making 20k+. Plus taking into economies of scale, this cost could be as much as 10£. The private sector works with government controls.

2) no I don't want limitless uni choices 5 is more than enough, majority of people only have 3 top max. Just list them from 1-5 in order of preference. For example I applied to imperial cambridge UCL Warwick and KingsCL. If I had to put it in order of preference id put Imperial UCL Cambridge Kings Warwick. This is because of the uncertainty of getting into Cambridge. Imperial is good enough for me. Therefore I would get a review of my application before those who put it as 4/5th. As a result Warwick can reject me, its a great school for maths no cap, and give my place to someone who's put Warwick as 1st. Like the reason im saying this is because with predicted grades system, it can mean that people with more than enough grades can get offers for lower uni requirement (for example I applied to kings with 4A*s but the requirement was 3A) but my friend got rejected with A*AA and he really wanted to go there. As a result of this a lot of students can get preference to their uni, "their fit" as well as make it easier for decisions to be made.
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Jonathanツ
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#28
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#28
I think the results speak for themself...

Just like Teens can increase grades drastically between a couple of months, teenagers can easily change their mind and the education system needs to accept that.

I'm still a kid!, what I enjoyed 3 months ago is entirely different from what I enjoy now.. and I can guarantee by summer ill be interested in something else...
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drbluebox
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#29
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(Original post by Jonathanツ)
I think the results speak for themself...

Just like Teens can increase grades drastically between a couple of months, teenagers can easily change their mind and the education system needs to accept that.

I'm still a kid!, what I enjoyed 3 months ago is entirely different from what I enjoy now.. and I can guarantee by summer ill be interested in something else...
Interesting, at school I was bullied and the times when I was stressed due to that I did badly on tests, when I felt good/good enough to study I got great grades, so my predicted grades were lower than my actual potential, I did screw up one class though as didn't understand it well, and another we had 1 day of teaching on the subject in 2 years as teacher said it had NEVER came up in the exams, and of course it happened to do so, and everyone did badly on it.

Fast forward over the years and like pretty much everyone I lost a lot of what I learned bar the ones I really loved.

So in that sense something I studied i may have forgot most of it and its just there for show and doesn't prove my interest or skills.
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willtj78
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#30
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(Original post by WassupLadz)
but ur kind of using the marginal case of not getting predicted well. Teachers want students to succeed. Id even go as far to say state schools are more lenient that independent/grammar schools when coming to predicted grades, but its just that students aren't achieving them so what's the point?
As someone that got sh*fted by their state school (and knows lots of other people at diff schools who were the same) this really isn't true. State schools only get decent amounts of funding when they're improving or require improvement, so there's a need at state schools (esp those who aren't part of academies which can shore up the gaps) to keep grades high enough to get decent applicants, but low enough to claim that the school still needs more money for improvement. There is far more incentive for Independent schools to over-predict as they have to keep up a reputation for excellence and getting students into top universities, otherwise people aren't going to pay the fees.
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nexttime
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(Original post by willtj78)
There is far more incentive for Independent schools to over-predict as they have to keep up a reputation for excellence and getting students into top universities, otherwise people aren't going to pay the fees.
That doesn't stand up to the facts though - private school predictions are most accurate, and state comps/FE colleges over-predict the most.

"All three studies found the most exactly accurate predictions and the least overpredictions for applicants from independent and selective/grammar schools."

https://assets.publishing.service.go...April_2020.pdf Page 11.
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cchloepx
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#32
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I don't get why so many people have voted PQA. Like that means you would probably have to take a gap year because there's no way that unis could answer all applications between august and september.
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mnot
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#33
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(Original post by cchloepx)
I don't get why so many people have voted PQA. Like that means you would probably have to take a gap year because there's no way that unis could answer all applications between august and september.
I think a PQA is preferable in theory, of course when people see the details of a PQA proposal they may change their view.

Which is why I tried a more pragmatic response, where we keep the same rough timeline but change the assessment method such that most of the grades and trajectory of a student are known when offers are made and students firm a uni.
Last edited by mnot; 2 weeks ago
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8013
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(Original post by nexttime)
That doesn't stand up to the facts though - private school predictions are most accurate, and state comps/FE colleges over-predict the most.

"All three studies found the most exactly accurate predictions and the least overpredictions for applicants from independent and selective/grammar schools."

https://assets.publishing.service.go...April_2020.pdf Page 11.
My school seems to be a private school. We tend to get under predicted, as our UCAS predicted grades are 2 grades lower than what we are expecting to get now.
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WassupLadz
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(Original post by willtj78)
As someone that got sh*fted by their state school (and knows lots of other people at diff schools who were the same) this really isn't true. State schools only get decent amounts of funding when they're improving or require improvement, so there's a need at state schools (esp those who aren't part of academies which can shore up the gaps) to keep grades high enough to get decent applicants, but low enough to claim that the school still needs more money for improvement. There is far more incentive for Independent schools to over-predict as they have to keep up a reputation for excellence and getting students into top universities, otherwise people aren't going to pay the fees.
I mean if everything’s going to come down to money, nobody can really do anything tbh. You can’t expect a private education with £5k per person, and as far as increasing tax etc goes... im not gonna go too much into it, but there’s an extent to which one person should pay for others etc. Especially considering we do have the lowest tax rates by far... for the middle earners.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by TCL)
I think it would be great if it was normal to take a gap year before going to university and govt facilitated jobs in community service, in health, food banks, outdoor things like path building in national parks, military, big company sponsorships (which used to be common for engineering), classroom assistant jobs, so a bit like National Service. People could apply to university from their gap year. It would mean people were not rushed into a degree which might not be the right subject for them, but could get their results and some world experience before deciding what they really wanted to do next.
Honestly, I think this is the best solution. Post-qualification applications just can't work in the current time frame, and I think a lot of people would benefit from getting out of education for a year.
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nexttime
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
Honestly, I think this is the best solution. Post-qualification applications just can't work in the current time frame, and I think a lot of people would benefit from getting out of education for a year.
Does it have to be a year?
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krizbee
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Hi,

It should definitely change. My expected grades are now (much) higher than my predicted grades when applying to university, mostly due to a change in circumstance. Two of my choices have rejected me on the grounds of my grades, which would have been successful applications if I had applied recently (or after my exams). It may be rare to have a significant improvement in grades overall, but this has happened in my case (and I'm sure there are many other cases as well).

I will now have to rely on the adjustment system -- which is fine! But I think it's a lot of unnecessary stress that could have been alleviated with facts, rather than "what-ifs." Actual grades over predicted grades.

Cheers.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by nexttime)
Does it have to be a year?
Without some sort of study I couldn't tell you, but I'd say at least 6 months.
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hehe_x
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I think the whole application process needs major rethinking. You can't focus properly on anything at a time - neither your studies, nor the application process because of the whole ambiguous "when will I get an offer" thing and getting distracted by that, and uni research also eats up a lot of time (if you're doing it properly). Some people also seem to think they've got an offer so they can take the foot of the pedal for the rest of the year. And then if you don't meet the offer on results day that's another story. If people actually sent in their actual grades to unis over the summer I think it would be more rational. Also faster for the institution, because they'd have less people to reject if applicants knew what they got, hence applied strategically based on their published entry requirements. We can't be completely sure of the feasibility of the latter option either though. It's a difficult one, this.
Last edited by hehe_x; 2 weeks ago
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