In light of downgraded A-level results, The Saint contacted the university to seek clarity on how they are approaching results and appeals.
COVID-19 has presented a major challenge for 6th Form students from across the world. The downgrading of A-Level and Scottish Highers results from teacher predictions has caused a national furore. Condemnation has centred on the disproportionate downgrading of the results of students attending schools in more deprived areas.
Despite their earlier line, where grade alterations were seen as necessary for maintaining the credibility of exams, the SNP backtracked on the downgradings with the Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney saying it was “deeply regrettable we got this wrong.”
In the run-up to A-level results, The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) announced that students could appeal their grades using mock exam results. After the results were released, it was found that 39.1 per cent of grades were algorithmically reduced from teacher predictions. Appeals have been made free but there has been no reverting back to teacher predictions; however, a Government announcement is due at 4 pm.
In anticipation of a significant number of appeals, the Universities Minister Michelle Donelan urged universities to hold on to the places of appealing students so they do not have to put their education on hold. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge stated that they could not guarantee places for appealing students; however, many colleges announced their own approach to admissions and how they would handle the issue of results.
With term starting on the 14 September, one of the earlies start dates for UK based institutions, The Saint contacted the university for clarity on the steps that they will be taking when considering A-level results and appeals. We received the following statement from Julie Ramsay, the Director of Admissions:
“The confirmation process for places at the University of St Andrews is robust. Every single applicant has been considered in detail and every near miss assessed by an expert panel in our Admissions department and reoffered.
“Given the rapidly changing landscape and governmental announcements, we are holding to our admissions policy and the offers we have made. We will do all we can to support offer holders at this time.
“We require clarity on the appeals process so we can gauge how many students are likely still to meet their conditions.”
Regarding issues of accessibility and inequality, they stated: “We are also making strides to improve access, championed by our success with the Scottish cohort. This is evidenced this year, whereby for the first time, RUK access flagged applicants were made either a Standard, Minimum or Gateway offer based upon the contextual data presented.”