Post results services may have just taken a new direction, Up!


Top Schools call for the end to unconditional Offers! - was the front-page story in Friday’s Times publication (28/09/2018) - with the call from Mike Buchannan, the new executive director of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) the umbrella group for 285 private schools that include Eaton, Marlborough and Westminster highlighting the growing concern over this type of university offer on student A level performances.


But the concern is not just in the independent sector. Wherever students take A level courses there has been a growing concern over students ‘taking their foot off the gas’ and under-preforming in their courses because they have been offered unconditional offers to university. The unforeseen consequence of this practice Mr Buchanan points out is that many students do not see that poor grades at A level may have an impact on their future career choices.


So, what has all this got to do with exam officers. Exam officers often play a very important part in providing information and advice on results days to staff, parents and students. They also play an important part in making sure all the exam body procedures and processes are adhered to within the time scales set and agreed with OfQual.


Over the past few years feedback from many exam officers have confirmed that the volume of requests to exams officers from students to chase down a university places because they did not get the grades they needed, had gone done. As had the number of those nail-biting episodes of having to chase down exam bodies over grade requests with a university place hanging in the balance. Some exam officers reported that as many students had unconditional offers they just did not seem to be concerned about their grades as long as they passed and did not even turn up as usual to collect their results.


Well that more relaxed environment may just be about to change if this call for stopping and/or reducing this practice by universities is implimented, as unconditional offers have risen to 23% from 1% in 2013. Exam officers will once again will need to be on standby to make sure centres are supported appropriately through the exam body results services and by their academic staff, especially on results and post results days when the pressure is on to secure that highly prized university place.