University Lowers Entry Grades to Relieve COVID-19 Anxiety

The University of Surrey has announced it will be dropping its entry requirements by one grade for a majority of students applying for undergraduate courses next year.  

Grades are being lowered in a means to relieve the anxiety and pressure for students, who have had their learning disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic across the two academic years.  

The University of Surrey is the second institution to make this move within a week. The Government has announced that it will publish plans in the coming days on how it will manage disruption to exam pupils in England.  

Director of recruitment and admissions at the University of Surrey, Lizzie Burrows has said: 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.” 

The university has said that regulated courses such as foundation year courses, veterinary medicine, four-year integrated masters programmes and audition-based performance courses will be exempt from the grade reduction. 

The University of Birmingham became the first higher education institution to reduce entry requirements in recognition of the impact of the pandemic, earlier this month. For each university course, there is an expected threshold in regards to A-level grades, and now Surrey is saying that it will accept one grade lower in one subject this year. 

So, if a student is applying to study chemistry, they will only have to reach two Bs and a C at A-level to qualify, whereas in previous years, this would have been three Bs.  

This move by a large university could possibly be an early sign of how flexible universities will be with the year’s applicants. The University of Birmingham has already said that it will also be dropping requirements by one grade in one subject.  

A-level exams in England are expected to go ahead and ministers will be under pressure to find a way of recognising that a portion of students have had learning more disrupted than others.  

This could prove to be difficult, however, a more forgiving approach by universities could compensate. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *