This years admissions cycle will be the first since 2019 to rely primarily on traditionally examined entry qualifications (primarily A levels in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland – and (SQA) Highers and Advanced Highers in Scotland).
We have also returned to more usual timings, with A level results day on the third Thursday in August, rather than the second Tuesday (alongside SQA results) in 2021.
In Scotland, students taking Higher or Advanced Higher qualifications have seen their results scaled to an arbitrary level below the 2021 results but above 2019 results – around, it turns out, 4.2 percentage points higher than 2019 for grades A-C (and for grade A only, 7.6 percentage points higher than 2019 for women and 5.6 percentage points higher than 2019 for men)
SQA Higher and Advanced Higher Results
Though there are some anomalies in less popular subjects of study, it is clear that SQA have succeeded in returning awards to the pre-existing trend after a pandemic-driven two year experiment with teacher-awarded grades.
Though many were concerned that a drop in entry qualifications would disadvantage this cohort, it does appear from UCAS data that universities have made good their promises to take this planned shift in profile into account. This chart looks only at Scottish domiciled 18 year olds – we can see that more students have been placed at their firm choice than in any year other than 2021.
Of course, as around 30 per cent of entry to higher education takes place, outside of UCAS, via FE colleges, we can never be certain of an overall Scottish trend from UCAS data. A quick look at acceptances by tariff group suggests a substantial rise from the baseline trend (this chart omits 2021 for clarity but you can always restore it with the filter at the top) for both high and medium tariff providers