CultureStudents 'robbed' of their efforts due to grade deflation

Students ‘robbed’ of their efforts due to grade deflation


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Amid A-level grade deflation, UCAS reports over 10,000 students have gained university places through clearing; a sharp increase from 6,600 last year.

Traditionally, A-level results day in the UK is a time of excitement and anticipation for many students. It marks the culmination of years of hard work and study, determining their academic trajectory and university prospects.

However, in recent years, due to covid disruptions, the education landscape has been painted by concerns of grade deflation and increased anxiety amongst students.

UCAS reports over 200,000 A-level students have gained places at their first or second choices, which is almost 10,000 fewer than the 2022 figures. Post-pandemic adjustments to A-level grades meant thousands missed out on their initial course offers due to adjustments made to restore grades back to pre-pandemic levels.

Grade deflation is where students receive lower grades than anticipated due to changes in assessment methods and adjustments made to marking standards. While the goal of maintaining the integrity of academic standards is crucial, the unintended consequences of grade deflation have been far-reaching. Students who would have comfortably secured university places are left grappling with lower grades and unexpectedly enter clearing.


The rise of clearing

This year clearing has gained new prominence due to grade depletion.

Clearing traditionally involves students who have narrowly missed their offers gaining spaces at universities they have not previously applied to. For many this process can be daunting as uncertainty around finding a course/place best suited to them can get the better of them. Hence, pressure mounts as they navigate unfamiliar territory that their future depends on.

The issue here stems from A-level students feeling like they have borne the brunt of covid impacting their education and still suffer the consequences post-pandemic. Although the integrity of academic standards must be maintained, surely there must be extra considerations put in place in an effort to support and acknowledge the severity of their situation.

Many feel ‘robbed’ of their efforts

The reality for many of these students has been periods of constant disruption where departments and staff are sent home due to covid outbreaks, and students have to self-teach and sit exams on content from a syllabus they’ve briefly completed. Yet, the education system has still not adequately performed to support these students as many feel ‘robbed’ of their efforts.

As grade deflation continues to impact A-level results, many fear a similar situation for GCSE results day on the 24th of August 2023. Moving forward, educators and policymakers must consider strategies to effectively address the post-pandemic long-term impacts that have emerged. For effective progress to happen, transparency in grading methodologies must be enhanced ensuring better guidance is provided to students. This in turn aids their understanding of grading.

Sharon Adebola
Sharon Adebola
Sharon Adebola content creator for the TCS Network. Sharon is a polymath and advocate for amplifying young voices in the political field. Being on numerous news platforms such s Sky and BBC News have invigorated her passion to be a voice for the voiceless and represent the concerns of her community. Two/thirds into her Politics degree, Sharon is keen to relay the political literacy she has gained to a plethora of individuals. Apart from that she is a Young Leader for the political charity My Life My Say and the President of King’s Gospel Society.

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