The best UK universities have said they are ready to increase their numbers again this year to ensure that disadvantaged applicants don’t miss a thing after having exams canceled for the second year running.

The 24 universities in the Elite Russell Group have written a letter that will be shared with Ito reassure students that they will not be penalized by deciding to cancel exams.

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In the letter from the Group’s CEO, Dr. Tim Bradshaw said, “We know that many students in recent years of school will be concerned about the impact of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 on their education and future opportunities, including school closings and exam cancellation. ”

It continues: “We want to reassure students in all four UK countries that regardless of the grading system, Russell Group universities will be as fair and flexible as possible in 2021 to ensure they are not put at a disadvantage in their applications.

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‘Significant increase’

“Last summer, the number of students taking a place at higher tariff universities like the Russell Group increased significantly. This included those from the most underrepresented areas and groups and reflects the determination of our members to ensure that applicants are not unjustifiably affected by the difficult circumstances surrounding these assessments. Our universities will take a similar approach this year. ”

The letter said that Russell Group universities are also “considering the additional academic and social support” students may need in 2021. They promise access to services such as “counseling, social counseling and subject-specific study skills” to those who need them.

Separately, the University of Cambridge announced that undergraduate students who did not meet their stringent entry requirements would be given the opportunity to study at the facility.

The university is kicking off a free foundation year for up to 50 talented students who miss the top A-level grades.

2020 approvals

GCSE and A-level exams were canceled last year and this (Photo: PA)

In the past year, colleges with higher tariffs – those that usually charge the highest grades – have accepted significantly more students than usual.

According to the Ucas admissions service, the number of students at these institutions rose from 152,990 in 2019 to 171,470 – an increase of 12 percent.

The best universities have enrolled more students because the government’s decision to use more generous teacher-graded grades resulted in many more young people taking up their offerings. Some Oxford colleges decided to accept all UK bidders because they felt it would be unfair to turn away students who were unable to take exams.

Underestimate fears

All four nations of the UK have chosen to remove exams and replace them with teacher reviews. In England, the assessment watchdog Ofqual will launch a consultation this week on how the system is working.

A senior figure in the audit industry endorsed the Russell Group stance. The source who asked not to be named told the story I If universities go through “normal” admissions procedures, “there will be a number of people who are not on the right track”.

“We know that there are some children who are systematically overrated, and there will be a significant proportion who are undervalued due to a dysfunctional relationship with their teachers,” they said.

Last week I found that students in England might be asked to take tests in the classroom during the summer semester to help decide their grades.

Examination Boards

Young people took part in protests against the government’s handling of high school diplomas after their scores were downgraded when exams were canceled last year (Photo: PA).

The source confirmed that exam boards were looking into whether they could create tests for teachers. “We have stacks and stacks of very high quality questions tied to specifications. They could be put together for tests by teachers, we are currently investigating that. ”

They suggested that England could follow the Welsh approach of having an ‘assessment window’ where students would take the tests. “They don’t all have to be done on the same day.”

The exam boards could also create and distribute a range of different tests to protect themselves from student fraud by giving them a test that is used in another school, they said.

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