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Picking a Uni *after* Results Day. End this prediction system now!

Discussion in 'Education news' started by harpplayer, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    I'm sitting here with the sun shining, but can't help thinking when I read about results what a silly system there is in the UK! Does anywhere else in the world get teachers to predict the results of 17 year olds, for their uni choices, then have a clearing system? The amount of time and energy that teachers, schools and unis must put into that contrived "system" year after year is astonishing.

    Surely, the country that one won the second world war, that had an empire stretching across most of the known world and who voted a strong political party like the Tories into power led by the brilliant Boris whilst keeping out a Marxist like Corbyn can sort this out? Here's one solution:

    1. Start the Year 10 courses one term earlier, in April (the start of the last term for year 9). From what I remember, it would make little difference to schools now anyway.
    2. Students take their GCSEs in February in Year 11 and then go and do work experience or voluntary work and holidays until April. They are marked and returned by April, when they pick their A Levels and start them at the start of the last term in the old Year 11. Teachers won't get a 'dead period' in the year like they currently do so should be happy at being able to work hard.
    3. A Level exams take place in May two years later. They are marked and results returned in July.
    4. Students then apply to Uni. There are three months for everyone to get sorted and do what they have to do, before starting at the end of September.

    PS There is no need to thank me for this help.
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Or simply have the A Level exams a couple of weeks earlier (as the IB ones are), get the results 2 or 3 weeks earlier, and start the University term in mid-October. All applications via the internet in late July/early August. Simples.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Or don't start uni until January so you have August to Christmas to sort of where to go. It's not as if anything happens in the first term. They go end of September and they are home again by first week in December.
  4. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    If memory serves there was a suggestion of doing this around mid 2000's. My daughter was studying at Surrey University , the academic year started 2nd or 3rd September. In her final year this was changed to begining of October. The reason given was that universities were going to look at actual grades not predictions. Clearly nothing came of it.
    agathamorse and border_walker like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The trouble is that in many schools. The predicted grades are not so much predictions as a compromise between the best grade hoped for by the teacher* and the minimum to keep slt and the student happy.
    * a combination of easy paper, student miraculously on form and generous grade boundaries.
  6. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    OMG! I only did two years in the UK but had forgotten all about this. If we dared to predict a student a grade less than their aspirational one to a university, we had so much justifying and explaining to do, were made to feel like we were letting the side down and students complained forever and got really difficult. It just wasn't worth trying to be honest. This system is so dumb.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    But id the exam boards cannot be consistent regarding the difficulty of papers and matching them to practice papers what is the point of predicted grades?
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    The argument for application post results is a strong one.
    The difficulty lies in making the change. Either university has to start later in the year, which would also mean finishing their terms later in summer, and would leave them empty of first-year students for a few weeks in the first round of post-results admissions, giving a short-term drop in income; or A Levels have to be earlier, shortening the course still further (in the old days they started in mid-June).
    With the current system, schools can give lots of support and advice on applications; there would be less opportunity post-results.
  9. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    None of the above is true if you read the first post.
  10. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    For the first term the 2nd and 3rd years get an extra lecture per week mopping up the academic time. Then in the 2nd and 3rd term the 1st years get slightly more lecture time to catch up. The fees for year 1 could still stay the same as the teaching time stays the same. However savings will be made in accommodation costs. I suppose that may be where the unis lose out as they will have their halls emptyish for a term.
  11. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    There's no need to make such radical changes. Pupils could have done all their research, personal statement, visits etc before results day. Even interviews could already have been held. There is already the ability to publish A level results at least a couple of weeks earlier than happens now. Pupils and universities would have well over a month to get sorted. Plenty of time, given everything else could be ready to go.

    Ps. Is university such a difficult word to use that it has to be shortened to the hideous 'uni'? It always puts me in mind of some very low brow, low level institution that probably sells rather than awards degrees.
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    Only in rubbish universities!
  13. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    When I was at Cambridge the terms were 8 weeks long (in terms of teaching; you could stay in college a week either end...If you wanted to!)
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    I am guessing that that the term was important though and you did learn something. The length of time being of 'less importance. (Sorry for not being clearer).

    So what is the problem though with the current system?
  15. letap

    letap Occasional commenter

    Skeoch post is perfectly valid - some of what you posted in the op was frankly gibberish and unworkable.
    For instance how can an 11-16 school start teaching A levels - especially if the school has no qualified teachers in certain A level subjects, not to mention reworking the timetable at the end of the year.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
    agathamorse likes this.

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