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Disadvantaged students most likely to miss out under exam plans, warns UCU

3 April 2020

Disadvantaged students could be the big losers under new assessment plans to replace exams this summer

The union was responding to news from Ofqual about how GCSEs, AS and A-levels will be awarded this summer. Research shows that high-achieving, disadvantaged students are more likely to have their grades under-predicted than their wealthier contemporaries.

UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: 'These are difficult and unprecedented times and we welcome the speed with which these plans have been pulled together. We need to have similar proposals for vocational qualifications and time to properly respond.

'Our primary concern is that disadvantaged students are the ones most likely to miss out. Research shows that disadvantaged students fare badly when it comes to predicted grades, and they are less likely to be able to put life on hold to delay sitting exams, or have access to the tools required to navigate any appeals system.

'The context in which qualifications are achieved needs to be considered by colleges and universities; not all achievements are equal and they should not be seen as such. Colleges and universities will need to make greater use of contextual data so that students progress according to their achievements and, crucially, their potential.'

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