A-level points system likely to be scrapped

The points-based system used by pupils applying for degree courses is likely to be abolished, after the move gained support from universities and schools. In its place, universities would ask students for specific qualifications and grades when offering places.

The Ucas report said: "It was widely felt that qualification and grade-based entry requirements and offers are clearer and more transparent for learners and offer those higher education providers who actively select applicants for their courses greater control over admissions."

But there were also fears that scrapping the tariff system could narrow students' choices at A-level and mean schools focus on exams that will win students places.

This could mean putting academic qualifications above vocational ones.

The Ucas report acknowledged qualification and grade-based offers "could lead to a narrowing of the pre-university curriculum, as schools and colleges prioritised the delivery of those qualifications and subjects that most commonly featured in higher education requirements".

The current system was designed at a time when A-levels were the main entry standard for university, but now it is thought about half of UK students apply with other qualifications.

The change comes months after proposals to allow students to apply for degree courses after getting their A-level results were ditched.

Ucas said there were "insurmountable difficulties" with a post-results system, because of differing term times and exam dates throughout the UK.

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