Sunday, August 15, 1999 Published at 00:46 GMT 01:46 UK
Plan to clarify university entrance requirements
Ucas says universities will still demand specific grades
Students who fail to complete A level courses will still get points toward university entrance, under proposals for a new points system currently being considered.
The University and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) is consulting on plans to revise the system, so that it incorporates qualifications other than A levels.
The proposals mean that pupils who pass as little as one A level module, amounting to one sixth of a course, will receive points.
In theory, this could mean students failing to complete any A level courses could notch up enough points to gain a university place.
But Ucas says that in practice, universities will still demand specific qualifications and grades from candidates, and not just points.
A spokesman said: "A levels are only taken by about half of people applying to university or college.
"Other people have other qualifications, such as GNVQs, the International Baccalaureate, BTECs, Scottish Highers and Access courses, and the problem is that there isn't a point-scoring system for these.
"At the end of the day, universities always decide on their own entry requirements, and will still require people to have certain grades.
"The system will just make it easier for them to see what qualifications are equivalent to each other."
The proposals also include changing the ratio of points awarded for the different grades at A level.
Currently, an A grade is worth 10 points while an E is worth two.
This ratio of five to one could be changed to three to one, or two to one, which is closer to the real difference in marks. Typically, candidates need 70% for an A grade and 40 % for an E.
Ucas has consulted the main educational agencies and bodies - including the Office for Standards in Education and the Committee of Vice-chancellors and Principals and is now consulting universities, colleges, schools and sixth form colleges.
The spokesman said any changes would be likely to be introduced for applicants set to start university courses in 2002, and would apply first to Scottish Highers and GNVQs.