Matthew Weaver quotes Sir Peter Lampl on predicted grades in an article on university admissions for the Guardian.
A university in London has banned the controversial practice of offering prospective students unconditional places in a move designed to “maintain standards”.
St Mary’s University in Twickenham announced the plan after admitting that a number of students who had been given unconditional offers did not go on to achieve their expected grades.
Such offers, which were given to almost a quarter of students in this year’s cohort, allow students to accept an undergraduate place without meeting their A-level or BTec grades predicted by teachers.
They are seen as an attempt to fill course places irrespective of academic requirements. Post-exam admissions are seen as a better gauge of academic standards and more likely to benefit students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Nearly 70,000 unconditional offers were made to 18-year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2018, up from fewer than 3,000 five years ago.
Overall, 22.9% of 18-year-old university applicants – 58,385 in total – from England, Wales and Northern Ireland received at least one unconditional offer this year.
When those figures were released in July, Sir Peter Lampl, the founder of the Sutton Trust educational charity, told the Guardian that grade predictions were often the least reliable.
“Having actual grades on application empowers the student. They can pick the right course at the right university with a high degree of certainty they are making the right choice,” he said.