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

Richard Murphy () and Gill Wyness ()
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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

No 20-07, CEPEO Working Paper Series from Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education

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.

Keywords: University admissions; predicted grades; socioeconomic inequality; mismatch. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 I24 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 42 pages
Date: 2020-03, Revised 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
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https://repec-cepeo.ucl.ac.uk/cepeow/cepeowp20-07.pdf First version, 2020 (application/pdf)

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