New analysis compiled by UCAS has found that the GCSE results obtained by university applicants, in addition to the mix of A level subjects students decide to study, are key factors in determining whether predicted grades will be met and a conditional offer awarded.
The ‘Factors associated with predicted and achieved A level attainment’ report, which also acknowledged any distinctions between gender and race, revealed that the ‘interplay’ of GCSE results and the level of the predicted grades is the single most important factor, and a typical university applicant with predicted grades of ABB is almost 50 per cent more likely to miss by two grades or more if they have GCSE results averaging A/B rather than A*/A.
Although UCAS accepts that universities are ‘experienced’ at taking into account students who do not meet their predictions, even when GCSE grades are taken into account, it is thought that teachers predict higher grades relative to final outcomes for applicants from disadvantaged areas, as well as applicants in the Black, Asian, mixed and other ethnic groups.
UCAS chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook, commented on the report: “University admissions staff understand that predictions represent an optimistic forecast of an applicant’s potential. The increase in over-prediction of grades over time has not materially altered the pattern of admissions and universities are still admitting students who have the potential to succeed on their chosen courses.”
The report also found that over half of English 18 year olds applying to university missed their A level predictions by two or more grades last year; an increase of 34 per cent on 2010.
Download the full report here