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GCSE results and subject choices predict final A-level score, say UCAS

Friday 5 August 2016 NUS News

A new UCAS report shines a light on the key predictors of whether a university applicant reaches their predicted grades.

A level results day can be one of the most stressful of a young person’s life. The opening of an envelope can determine whether a university offer can be taken up, or whether to look at other options.

The university admissions service UCAS has today revealed new research that suggests the key indicators as to whether a student achieves their predicted grades.

UCAS compared the A level predictions of half a million young university applicants to the A level grades that they actually achieved.

The biggest factors in whether a student met their predicted grades were the results that they achieved at GCSE, and their choice of A level subjects.

Students with lower averages at GCSE were more likely to miss their predicted A level grades, as were those who studied Biology, Chemistry and Maths.

NUS Vice President (Further Education) Shakira Martin stressed the importance of informative careers and training guidance, particularly in the context of changes to the GCSE and A-level system.

“The government’s reforms of the GCSE and A-level system are making it more difficult for students to choose the right option as they consider the next steps in their life,” she said.

“Grading students with sole assessments at the end of two years’ work is a backwards step that fails to take into account the range of students’ needs and different ways of learning.

“Students with a perfect grasp of the knowledge and skills required are often denied access to their preferred route forward.”

Previous NUS research has shown that changes to A-level are not in the interests of students.

The full UCAS report is available to download here: Factors associated with predicted and achieved A level attainment