New Arden University Survey Shows A Level Students Worried Results Will Be Viewed Less Meaningfully

A new survey by Arden University reveals 92% of A-level students feel results will be viewed less meaningfully this year.

The new research shows A level students are worried about new grading system introduced for Covid-19 lockdown year.

•    51% also worry that the quality of their higher education will suffer as traditional universities learn how to best teach remotely.

•    Students are anxious (38%) and nervous (37%) about starting university in September.

•    64% of students would like a mix of remote learning and face-to-face teaching.

As hundreds of thousands of school leavers receive their A-level results  – which will have been based upon either teachers’ predictions or their mock exam grades from earlier in the year * – 92% feel that their results will be viewed less meaningfully this year, according to our new research.

Arden surveyed A level students and students currently studying at universities across the UK and found around 42% of current university students and those about to start in September worry they will be labelled a 'Covid casualty', as their education will be hindered by the pandemic, and 34% think their degree will be viewed ‘less worthy’ compared to those pre-COVID-19.

When prospective university students from across the country were asked how they feel about starting their studies in September, the number one feeling was uncertainty (44%) followed by anxiety (38%) and nervousness (37%). 

Carl Lygo, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Arden University, said: “It’s always an anxious time but this year there’s extra pressure on students receiving A level results as the media focuses on the injustices of a system that has dispensed with normal exams and assessments to determine final results.

“A generation of students have been badly impacted through no fault of their own and they’ll be looking at not only making sure their grades are fair but what their chosen university is doing to prepare for their first year in light of social distancing.

“At Arden we’ve been teaching online successfully for many years, so for us it’s business as usual and being experts in online-learning we’re able to provide support to students who may feel anxious about a new way of studying for their degree.

“We’re also supporting thousands of students who choose our blended learning offer which combines both online learning and face to face classroom study at six study centres across the UK and in Berlin.”

Carl adds: “There are many advantages to studying online: being able to work alongside your studies, independently managing your time and workload and we know students benefit from this. There are alternatives to the traditional campus-based university and our experience, and this latest research shows more and more students are open to that option.”

Importantly 39% of those university students surveyed - who are not studying at Arden - don’t feel their own university is set up to teach students on their return to the same level expected 12 months ago.

Lockdown has certainly influenced what students will be expecting when they return to, or start their studies in September, with 66% feeling the past few months has prepared them for more online learning. While those in work have grown accustomed to working from home, 64% of students would like to see a mix of remote learning and face-to-face teaching when they return after the summer holidays. 

43% of students believe an increase in remote working will allow those who suffer from social anxiety and other mental health issues feel more comfortable, while 38% believe it will offer greater flexibility and 29% think it will also prepare them for working from home in their future career.

Although 51% of prospective and current students are worried that the quality of education they will receive will suffer as universities are still learning how to best teach remotely, more than two thirds (69%) would like to receive more advice about online learning.

*On Tuesday, August 11, 2020  the Government said students could choose one of three possible A level grades. It means A-level students can choose between the grades they get awarded on August 13, 2020 – which are based on teacher assessments and a computer-generated 'standardisation' model, appeal through schools, or sit exams in the autumn, in what the Government has branded a 'triple lock'.
** The research for Arden University was carried out online by Opinion Matters between August 8-10, 2020. 500 surveyed – 250 current non- Arden university students and 250 students starting university – not Arden – in September 2020. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Date Protection Act (1998).

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