This year is set to be ‘one of the most competitive’ years for students seeking university places.
After years of disruption caused by Covid-19, exam boards are making the transition back to pre-pandemic arrangements.
But there will be around 60,000 fewer top grades this summer, the Telegraph has reported.
Schools that get higher results than in 2021 ‘will be few and far between’ following the exam season, according to exam watchdog Ofqual.
Dr Jo Saxton, speaking at the Confederation of School Trusts’ annual conference in Birmingham, described how grade boundaries would reflect a ‘staging post’ between 2019 and 2021.
Her comments come after Ucas, the universities admissions service, reported that 20% of students will not get their preferred choice in university.
Last year, universities made offers in response to 70% of applications, compared to this year where the figure stands at around 66%.
Dr Saxton, chief regulator with Ofqual, said: ‘Whilst these will be the most generously graded exams ever; nevertheless the approach means that overall, 2022 results are likely to be higher than in 2019, when summer grades were last determined by exams, but lower than we saw in 2021.
‘This means that your schools are highly likely to find their results are lower than in 2021 when exams did not go ahead.
‘Schools that get higher results than in 2021 will be few and far between, if any.’
Young people are currently sitting their GCSEs and A-Levels, with the majority of exams to end by tomorrow.
Dennis Sherwood, a former external consultant for Ofqual and partner with accountants Coopers & Lybrand, told The Sunday Times that 2022 will be ‘one of the most competitive’ if fewer top grades are handed out.
He added: ‘Their older siblings had opportunities, they were the lucky ones, but the class of 2022 is unlucky in that they were born into this year’s cohort rather than being in the class of 2021 or that of 2020.’
Around 5,000 schools and colleges are involved in GCSE, AS and A level exams with millions of tests marked each year.
Moving forward after years of upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be no easy task.
But ‘students will be our true north, our compass,’ Dr Saxton vowed.
She added there have been ‘real bumps’ in the journey back from the pandemic.
Speaking to education staff, she added: ‘I understand the distress that mistakes in papers and advance information will have caused. But I also hope that the overall effect and additional support provided is beneficial.
‘Overarchingly, I’ve seen at first hand that you have all had greater Covid-related disruption in 2022 than at any point in the pandemic to date.
‘And that it is your current Year 10s and 12s who are most anxious, whose attendance remains a great concern and that to think the impact of the pandemic is measured only on the 22 weeks or 109 days of mainstream school closure is to completely miss the point of how deep and wide the actual impacts of the pandemic are upon education and lives.’
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