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Government’s exam algorithm provided controversial results

The University of Bedfordshire has welcomed the government announcement that A Level results will be based on predicted grades this year.

Many anticipating their A Level results last week were met with disappointment and confusion after the government’s exam algorithm provided controversial and unpredictable results.

It was reported that 40% of England’s teenagers were set to appeal their grades. The University of Bedfordshire had already amended its offer-making policy, where predicted grades would be considered if prospective students had been downgraded by the algorithm.

In light of the public uproar, the UK government announced on Monday afternoon (17th August) that the algorithm allocated grades will be scrapped. And instead teachers’ predicted grades will be honoured.

Bob Cozens, director of Admissions & Student Recruitment at the University, said:

“We commend the government’s decision to listen to the public and retract the algorithm’s results for A Levels and ahead of this week’s GCSE results.

“At the University of Bedfordshire, supporting students is our number one priority so we had already proactively chosen to make verbal offers based on applicants’ mock exam results or their teacher predicted grades, with places held open for any pupils going through the appeals process.”

Uni’s key message to applicants is “don’t panic”

The University said that its initial day of Clearing (13th August 2020) saw contact from over 2,500 applicants via telephone and its live chat function. With “hundreds more students” engaged with the Clearing team via social media, the chatroom and by submitting application forms directly through the uni’s website.

Due to the disruption of the pandemic, many students may now be rethinking their application, study options and university experience. However, Bob Cozens urged students to stand their ground as “2020 is still a great time to pursue Higher Education“. He said:

“Bedfordshire has a proud history of widening access to higher education and supporting students to achieve their potential. Students considering going to University this autumn should do so with confidence and the disruption of COVID-19 should not be a reason to put your learning journey on hold.

“At the University of Bedfordshire, we have worked hard to ensure we have COVID-secure campuses so that students can still have an on-campus experience, which they will get a range of face to face teaching and quality on-line teaching materials, as part of our blended learning offering.”

David Seaton, assistant director of Admissions & Student Recruitment, said:

“My advice to applicants is to consider the long term situation. By starting Higher Education now you will be on the path to a graduate level job. Also, with the national employment market for 16-24 year olds turbulent due to Covid-19, and with the current travel restrictions in place, applicants need to consider very carefully what they would do with a gap year.

“If you have plans to make the most of your year out and can come back to your university application next year with an enhanced CV then delaying your entry could be worth doing.

“The truth though is that it’s now harder than ever to set up a career boosting gap year experience, so for most potential students deferment to avoid Covid-19’s impact on their university experience is not a good idea.”

The University of Bedfordshire’s key message to applicants at the moment is simply: “don’t panic”. It said that there are lots of course opportunities still available across a number of subject areas.

A full list of available courses can be explored online and the team can be reached on 0300 3300 703.