Queen's University warns hundreds of new places will be needed to reverse A-Level decisions

  • Queen's University Belfast has appealed for urgent clarity over the decision to change A-level grades, as it could require them to create hundreds of new places.

    When the A-Level results came out this week, students across the country began posting on social media about their heartbreak over being given grades that don't match their ability. All A-level grades this year were predicted using a statistical approach as exams couldn't be sat safely, but a large percentage of results were downgraded compared to the teacher's predictions.

    Some students reported getting high grades in AS-level exams, A-Level mock exams, coursework, and continual assessment, only to wake up to an E or a U grade that didn't make any sense. It soon emerged that economically deprived areas were hardest hit, and that smaller private schools saw a rise in grades and actually had their teacher's predicted grades accepted.

    It was decided on Monday that the statistically calculated grades will be changed so that students will awarded the higher of either the awarded grade or teacher's prediction. The problem with this is that A-levels are primarily used for university entrance requirements, and the universities have already confirmed people's places.

    While some courses have not met their full capacity and are due to enter clearing, giving students who missed their grade targets a chance to still get into the course they wanted, some are now full. Many students had been made conditional offers based on achieving certain grades and were rejected as they weren't given those grades, but will now get updated grades that will mean they actually qualified.

    Those conditional offers should be honoured, and that poses a problem for universities as they have limited capacity. Queen's University has called for urgent clarity on the situation as it's predicting that it will need to create between 500 and 1,000 extra positions to honour those offers at a cost of around £4,000 per head. Queen's is currently capped at around 3,000 to 3,500 places by the Deparment for the Economy.

    In a statement made on Monday, Queen's University promised that "Any applicants to quota controlled courses who meet the conditions of their offer but can not be allocated a place for the forthcoming academic year will be provided an unconditional offer for the 2021-22 academic year."

    Source: BBC News

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story