Disadvantaged students could still lose out under changes confirmed today (Friday) to this summer’s exams, the University and College Union (UCU) has warned.

The union was responding to confirmation from Ofqual about how GCSEs, AS, A-levels and vocational qualifications will be awarded this summer. Research shows that high-achieving students from low income and low socioeconomic backgrounds and those with protected characteristics are more likely to have their grades under-predicted than their wealthier contemporaries.

UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said:

‘Our primary concern with changes to this year’s exams was the negative impact on disadvantaged students, and these plans still do not fully address that issue. Research has shown that disadvantaged students fare badly when it comes to predicted grades, are less likely to be able to delay sitting exams and worst-equipped to navigate any appeals system.

‘We are disappointed that more has not been done to recognise the impact that these changes will have on disadvantaged students. Without action, these groups are likely to be even more underrepresented.

‘We urge colleges and universities to make greater use of contextual data so students progress according to their achievements and, crucially, their potential, rather than their background.’

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