Education expert Professor Alan Smithers is warning continued grade inflation at A-level this year will lead more top universities to set their own entrance tests, The Times reports.
Nearly 40 per cent of A-levels taken received an A or A* last year and more pupils are expected to achieve these grades next week when results are released, an analysis by the director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham finds.
The study comes as the cap was lifted on medical school admissions in England after applications rose by more than 20 per cent, potentially allowing hundreds more students to become doctors or dentists.
The TES has also reported concerns at the DfE that the gap will widen this year between the performance of A-level students in the state and private sectors.
While some have said this is down to greater generosity from independent schools, experts say it could simply be the case that most private schools offered superior online provision throughout the Covid crisis.
Smithers said: “The early signs are that it will be another bumper year for grades, justified as compensation for all the disruption suffered.
“The expansion of the A* and A grades means that a much wider range of abilities is bundled up in them.
“Some of those admitted may not be able to cope and will have wasted time and money, and some who are more able will miss out on their first choice — due to the over-marking of others — when they could have done really well.
“Awarding higher grades in compensation for lost learning can be killing with kindness,” he added.
“Leading universities could be forced to set their own tests to help them distinguish between the many prospective students awarded straight As.”
Last year, 38.6 per cent of UK entries were awarded an A or A* grade, compared with 25.5 per cent in 2019, according to statistics published by the Joint Council for Qualifications.