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Issue 1774 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

Natural Sciences Withstand the Pressure of Grade Inflation

Natural Sciences have not had to alter their admissions process in response to the inflated A level results received by students across the UK

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in Issue 1774

The Faculty of Natural Sciences (FoNS) has not had to alter its admissions process in response to the inflated A level results received by students across the UK on Tuesday.

A level results released this week broke the previous record in attainment for students across the country, with 44.8% of results awarded being A* or A grade. This figure was significantly higher for pupils of private schools, who on average achieved 70% of grades at A* or A, compared with a 39% average at state schools. According to The Tab, 36.5% of Imperial’s students went to private school (data published in 2018).

Felix approached FoNS as subjects such as Life Sciences within the department have historically not carried out entrance interviews, making distinction based on A level grades more important than in other departments.

“Life Sciences… have not particularly struggled in terms of balancing numbers this year” replied the FoNS Education Manager and vice-Dean for Education, when approached for comment. They also emphasised the multi-factorial selection process including personal statements and references, which helps to mitigate for exceptional A level results.

The faculty “were cautious in making offers this year, anticipating further grade inflation on last year”. Admissions targets were largely met or slightly exceeded across the departments of the faculty.

The approach taken by FoNS has meant they have not had to consider moves made by some other universities in incentivising deferral of entry or moving to another university in return for compensation. The University of Exeter recently offered incoming medical students £10,000 cash and free accommodation during their first year – incentives totalling around £17,000 – to encourage them to defer their course entry to the 22/23 academic year. The University of Leeds this week offered the same incentives to students who had met their offers to study Law or Business.

The faculty declined to comment on the government’s decision to award teacher-predicted grades to students this year, however expressed positivity to those who have had their offers confirmed and acknowledged the challenges that A level students have faced over the past 18 months.

For A level students, Whatever your results, if you want to find out more and get help to explore your choices visit: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/exam-results. You can also speak to a professional careers adviser for free and impartial information and advice via the webchat, or by calling the National Careers Service exam results helpline on 0800 100 900, open weekdays 8am-8pm Sat 10am-5pm.

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