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Minority Report: the impact of predicted grades on university admissions of disadvantaged groups

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Murphy

    () (University of Texas at Austin & Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Gill Wyness

    () (Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London & Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science)

Abstract

We study the UK's university application system, in which students apply based on predicted examination grades, rather than actual results. Using three years of UK university applications data we find that only 16 percent of applicants' predicted grades are accurate, with 75 percent of applicants having over-predicted grades. However, high-attaining, disadvantaged students are significantly more likely to receive pessimistic grade predictions. We show that under-predicted candidates are more likely to enroll in courses for which they are over qualified than their peers. We conclude that the use of predicted rather than actual grades has important implications for student's labour market outcomes and social mobility in general.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Murphy & Gill Wyness, 2020. "Minority Report: the impact of predicted grades on university admissions of disadvantaged groups," CEPEO Working Paper Series 20-07, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, revised Mar 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucl:cepeow:20-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
    2. Haroon Chowdry & Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Alissa Goodman & Anna Vignoles, 2013. "Widening participation in higher education: analysis using linked administrative data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(2), pages 431-457, February.
    3. Stuart Campbell & Lindsey Macmillan & Richard Murphy & Gill Wyness, 2020. "Matching in the Dark? Inequalities in student to degree match," CEPEO Working Paper Series 20-01, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, revised Jan 2020.
    4. Caroline Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2013. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 1-65.
    5. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2017. "Determinants of the Match between Student Ability and College Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 45-66.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Covid-19 is increasing the divide in life chances between rich and poor
      by ? in LSE Business Review on 2020-04-21 05:00:17
    2. Covid-19 is increasing the divide in life chances between rich and poor
      by ? in Democratic Audit UK on 2020-04-22 07:40:00
    3. COVID-19 and social mobility: the public support key policies that will help limit widening inequalities in employment and education
      by LSE BPP in British Politics and Policy at LSE on 2020-11-04 08:00:14

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jake Anders & Catherine Dilnot & Lindsey Macmillan & Gill Wyness, 2020. "Grade Expectations: How well can we predict future grades based on past performance?," CEPEO Working Paper Series 20-14, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, revised Aug 2020.
    2. Gill Wyness, 2020. "Higher education applications and admissions," CEPEO Briefing Note Series 7, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, revised Aug 2020.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    University admissions; predicted grades; socioeconomic inequality; mismatch.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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