Admissions Process Review

31 October 2011

Commenting on the release of UCAS’ Admissions Process Review, Russell Group Director General Dr Wendy Piatt said:

“We are more than willing to consider and explore ways of improving the current application system but we would need to be persuaded that the changes proposed by UCAS offer significant benefits to the majority of students.

“We are concerned that the UCAS proposals might restrict the ability of institutions to make a fair and thorough assessment of applicants and also limit the opportunities for applicants to make informed decisions about which university to apply to. It is far from clear that a new post-qualification system would be fairer or improve access to leading universities. Indeed, we would need to be persuaded that changes to the system will not hamper our efforts to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds, for example, by limiting the time we have to run special schemes and build relationships with those students. The vast majority of predicted grades are accurate particularly amongst the highest achieving students. And of those grades which are inaccurate most are actually over- (not under-) predictions particularly for students from lower socio-economic groups. Most importantly these changes would do nothing to tackle the fundamental problem of the attainment gap which restricts access to leading universities.

“We will take very seriously any evidence of unfairness in the current system and careful consideration must be given to whether improvements to the application process could be achieved in other ways. But we will still need to be persuaded that the benefits of the proposed changes will outweigh the disadvantages for students and the costs and major upheaval for both schools and universities.” 

Dr Wendy Piatt discussed the UCAS Admissions Process Review on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and BBC News Channel.

Notes for editors
  1. Overall, almost 90% of predicted grades are accurate to within one grade and over 40% of predicted grades are over-predictions while barely 7% are under-predictions. Source: Investigating the accuracy of predicted A level grades as part of the 2009 UCAS Admission Process, BIS, 2011


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