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University Application after A level results

Discussion in 'Education news' started by gainly, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    A report on the BBC suggests applications could be made after getting results rather than universities making offers based on usually inaccurate predicted grades.

    I'm sure this has been suggested before but it is so obviously sensible that nothing will come of it.

    It would help if A level results came out earlier. IB results were released over 2 weeks ago. IB exams are slightly earlier, but I'm sure it should be possible to release A level results by the end of July.
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    It makes sense, but s you say, A level results need to come out earlier, otherwise place allocation will just be a mad scramble
  3. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    Or if students started their degree courses in January, giving them time to visit universities, attend interviews etc after they got their results. Then universities would issue a place, which once accepted, would give both the student and university clarification. So much less hedging bets / taking risks on both sides. As you say, so sensible, it seems most unlikely.
  4. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I know for a fact Edexcel have been in a position to release results significantly earlier for years, but the other companies lagged behind and them nothing was ever done about it. It's an excellent idea. Nothing to stop students visiting likely universities in their holidays, between exams and results, then applying to ones they stand a chance of getting into when they have their results. Australia has refined this system further, so after results, universities publish the score you need for every course, and if places aren't filled there's a second round for lower scorers and so on, until places are filled.
    bonxie likes this.
  5. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    I seem to remember, when it was suggested before, that universities wanted A levels to be taken in January. But if they start later it would be easy to do.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    This. 100%
  7. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I really think something needs to be done about using predicted grades, especially as many more universities are giving unconditional offers. The virtual abolition of AS exams has made the situation much worse.

    I tutor students from a number of different schools. Most of them seem to base predicted grades mainly on performance in mock exams. Many of my students tell me that their schools use past papers or practice papers which can be found on the internet, so there is very widespread cheating. The result is that a student could get a place at university based on their results in a mock exam in which they have extensively cheated.
    Easyasabc likes this.
  8. Easyasabc

    Easyasabc Occasional commenter

    Are you suggesting that A Level Exams don't take place in June then but all in May? Marking and checking and dealing with potential problems takes time. Wouldn't earlier results release mean more pressure and more mistakes with grades?
  9. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Actually I think this would be a good idea. It would reduce the chances of the exams being taken during extremely hot weather which must have an adverse effect on performance. Global warming means this is becoming a greater problem. I would also like to see the summer holiday 2 or 3 weeks earlier (as it is in Scotland) as they often miss most of the best summer weather before they break up.

    Even without these changes I'm sure results could come out earlier, see post 4. The exams are earlier than they used to be, with many exams already in May. The results date is the same as when papers had to be sent out by post. Surely now it is all done online it should be possible to speed the process up.
    bonxie likes this.
  10. Easyasabc

    Easyasabc Occasional commenter

    Are you are suggesting that Global warming means exam result days should move? In that case let school holidays begin in June too like in Ireland maybe...
  11. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    That's an interesting shift...I remember when I did A levels (and GCSEs for that matter) it was generally considered the case that we would probably score better in the real things with the benefit of having finished the course, a dedicated period of revision, the experience of the mocks etc. Our teachers tended to mark the mocks quite harshly (or at least so they told us) to give a worse case scenario/to buck ideas up about amount of revision needed etc. It doesn't really make sense to deliberately cheat in mock exams (I can understand how somebody might have seen the questions if they have been doing their own revision and the school has made a paper up by taking questions from multiple recent exams) because really you are only cheating yourself apart from the scenario you describe with unconditional offers. I have to confess I'm not a massive fan of unconditional offers unless it is something highly specific such as creative courses where you had to audition to get the place or there was a separate admissions exam you had to pass.
  12. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    It is common for schools to simply use a whole paper which is available on the internet as a mock exam. It would be very easy to modify the papers, even just change some of the numbers to make cheating less likely, but this doesn't seem to happen.
  13. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    Oh, I understand what you meant - using the last sitting of the paper is fairly standard I would have thought across schools - I just hadn't considered that pupils would actively go out of their way to download the paper and make sure they can answer the questions before they take the mocks to ensure a good result on their mocks. Although if it was drastically different to their class/homework, you would have thought that teachers would question whether the mock was a true reflection of their normal attainment or not...
  14. Easyasabc

    Easyasabc Occasional commenter

    I think its more to do with Universities grabbing potential money now that a student degree = approx 29,000 pounds per student. Thats money indeed if you start to get 30 or more on each Course!
  15. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Students can't download last year's exams on-line - it's only available to teachers and exam officers....

    I mark both A-level and GCSEs - they are very time consuming to mark but I manage as my own school finishes the end of June. There is no way I could manage in May!
    Easyasabc likes this.
  16. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Whilst officially last year's exams are kept protected, there are versions of the paper which go online very quickly (thestudentroom.com is a popular place to start looking).

    There is also the issue of external tutors getting hold of papers and going through them.

    We now mix and match (usually swapping sets of multiple choice questions) which can identify any cheaters
  17. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    We mix and match rather than use last years paper. Most students now practice past papers which it is very easy to get hold of. The saddest case I recall was a young lady desperate to get into medical school and under a lot of pressure from pushy parents. My colleague and I thought she was using mark schemes for homework and learning the mark schemes as her answers were too close to the wording used by the exam board. For the mock we used the first two questions from the previous summer and then mixed things up. She wrote all her answers as if we had used the whole of the paper from the previous year.She got full marks on the first two questions and no other marks at all.
  18. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    A bit like a case that a maths teacher friend of mine told me about. A boy had the mark scheme on his watch. He copied out the answers correctly but unfortunately for him matched up the answers with the wrong questions.

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