Unis told to keep places open until September for students who miss grades

The government is also admitting bright students from worse schools will suffer

Unis have been told to keep places open for students who miss their offer grades, in order to give them a chance to appeal their grades.

After the chaos of last week’s Scottish results – where students spoke of having their B grades reduced to a fail by moderation – universities and the government are keen to avoid similar scenes for this Thursday’s A Level results.

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, wrote to uni leaders, saying: “Where you are aware that a student’s grade may change as the result of an appeal, I would encourage you, where possible, to hold  their place until they receive the result of that appeal.”

Along with the new system of awarding grades – where students are given grades by their teachers, which are then moderated – there’s a new way to appeal those grades for students unhappy with the grades they’re given.

Schools, rather than individual students, can apply to have grades reassessed. Where an increased grade might help a student meet their offer, exam boards are aiming to have appeals resolved by 7th September.

North of the border, the Scottish exam board SQA adjusted a quarter of grades, with nearly all of those moderated down. It said this process was essential to maintain the integrity of exam results, however the moderation left students relying on appeals to increase their grades and get them to uni.

It went so badly that Nicola Sturgeon apologised and confessed the Scottish government “did not get it right”.

Against that backdrop, the English government is now admitting those unhappy will largely be those who suffer as a result of their schools’ past performance.

“We anticipate that this group will include in particular some students who are highly talented in schools or colleges that have not in the past had strong results,” wrote Donelan.

“We expect the vast majority of grades to be accurate, but it is essential that we have this safety net for young people who may otherwise be held back from moving on to their chosen route.”

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‘It really could have screwed me over’: The students against awarding predicted grades

‘I went from a B to a fail’: Scottish students on their results being moderated down

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Featured image via: MNB – Monday Night Bridge, Oxford