Surrey becomes second university to lower grade requirements

Webster reports on the dropped grade system adopted by some UK Universities.

Maud Webster
14th December 2020
Image: flickr

The University of Surrey announced last week it will be following Birmingham's lead, dropping offers by a grade for most of their 2021/22 incoming students.

This decision was made ahead of the government's recent announcement regarding how A-level exams will be structured this summer.

Lizzie Burrows, director of recruitment and admissions at the University of Surrey, commented: "We are taking this action now to relieve the pressure and anxiety facing this year's applicants, as they experience ongoing disruption and uncertainty surrounding exams and assessment of their learning.

"By taking this step, we can provide one additional element of certainty and reassurance that these students will be protected from unfair disadvantage as a result of the impact of the pandemic."

Meanwhile, the education department have revealed their plans to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on this year's exams; lenient grading, "exam aids", and in some cases, advanced notice of topics in the papers will be introduced.

The opportunity to repeat missed papers due to self-isolation will also be offered, alongside using a teacher informed assessment as a last resort if a student has a legitimate reason to miss all their exams.

Veterinary medicine, performance courses, and integrated masters courses will be exempt from the offer

The dropped grade system will work so that in one subject, students can afford to get one grade lower than typical entry requirements required. For example, Surrey's computer science course has a current offer of BBB, but if a student performs BBC then they will still be admitted into the university.

This is the same across all degree programmes within the university, aside from regulated programmes including veterinary medicine, performance courses, and integrated masters courses, which will be exempt from the offer.

It's unclear yet how students applying with other qualifications will be effected by the grade drop system.

At this time, Newcastle University is yet to release plans on how they plan to support applicants who may marginally miss their grades in light of inconsistent education due to the pandemic.

Featured Image: Flickr

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AUTHOR: Maud Webster
(She / Her) Second-year Architecture & Planning student at Newcastle University, and arts sub-editor for the 20/21 academic year.

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