Need to go through clearing to get a university place? Here is what to do next
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 09/08/2021
Teenagers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are getting their A-level results today.
But for some, they may have missed out on the grades they wanted for university.
How will grades be awarded this year?
Grades will be based on teacher assessments. They’ve made judgments using a range of evidence including mini exams results, coursework, and mock exams. Students have already been told what evidence is being used by their school or college, and will only be assessed on what they’ve been taught.
The teacher assessments have been checked by headteachers before being submitted. Exam boards have double-checked the approach of every school or college, and in a random selection of schools, they’ve also checked the grades.
Can students appeal their results?
The simple answer is yes.
Students in Scotland and Wales have already received their provisional grades and have been able to start the process. Students in England can appeal once their results are out.
They first need to ask their school or college to check their grade. If they’re still unhappy, they can appeal to the exam board – but students needing results to secure university places will be prioritised. Because grades have been awarded by teacher assessments it could be harder to successfully challenge results. Students can also sit exams in the autumn.
Are we likely to see the same problems as last year?
Last year’s A-level results were a fiasco, and that’s something everyone wants to avoid this year. An algorithm was used which downgraded nearly 40% of results. It was scrapped within days.
This time, results are based on teacher judgments using an evidence-based approach. The grading systems have been scrutinised by the school and exam boards, to ensure they’re as fair and accurate as possible. This is, however, a new system and everyone expects grades will look different from 2020 and previous years.
This is the second year grades have been given without the normal exam process, so it seems likely results this year will be higher.
If results are higher will this affect university places?
This is the big question. Is there enough capacity in the university system to cope with a bumper set of results? If there are too many top grades it could cause a crush for places on popular courses. Certainly, many universities believe there won’t be much wriggle room for students who narrowly miss their offer grades.
Another factor increasing competition is the fact there are 10% more 18 year olds applying for places this year. Plus, there is expected to be some overspill from the 2020 cohort.
So, is clearing likely to be busy?
Clearing is the system that allocates spare university places if a student misses their grades, or changes their mind. With competition for places tougher than ever, students going through the clearing process might find it harder to get onto the courses they want.
Record numbers are expected to try to use clearing to get into university, and UCAS the admissions service is predicting “hotspots” for the most popular courses and universities. Students are being encouraged to make decisions quickly to avoid missing out.
Students can contact the exam results helpline on 0800 100 900 to speak to a professionally qualified careers adviser if they need advice on next steps.
The helpline will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturday for two weeks from 9 August to 20 August.
Students should then get in touch with individual universities or colleges to talk about clearing places. Lines at most universities will be open from early morning until 8pm on 15 August.
If they need to speak to UCAS, they can be contacted on 0371 468 0 468, 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday and should have their personal ID ready.
© Sky News 2020