ADR UK Research Fellows: Grading and Admissions Data for England

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ADR UK Research Fellow Dr Konstantina Maragkou will use key data about centre assessment grades and calculated grades in 2020, when assessment practices were changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Research using this de-identified data has the potential to generate better understanding of the impact of these assessment policies on students and schools. 

Quantifying pandemic-driven educational assessment modifications: grade predictions, student and school characteristics, and university outcomes

Dr Konstantina Maragkou is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the economics of education. Her project will test for the existence of a pandemic-driven modification in A-level assessment and investigate its potential effect on higher education application outcomes from a fairness and equity perspective.

View project details

The project aims to explore the following research questions: 

  • What is the relationship between predicted grades and awarded grades, and how does it vary with individual-, subject- and school-level characteristics?
  • How much did the assessment change within schools as a result of the pandemic, and how does any identified assessment modification vary by school-level characteristics?
  • What is the effect of any modification in assessment on higher education application outcomes? Are external assessments important for student outcomes?

The methodology used in this study:

The research will take place over three phases, using different methods at each stage.

  • For the first phase of the project, a multivariate regression model will be estimated for each cohort. This will show the relationship between UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) predicted grades and awarded grades and how individual, subject and school characteristics shape this relationship.
  • The second phase will test for the existence of a pandemic-driven modification in assessment within subjects and schools by considering potential changes in the gap between predicted and awarded grades between the pre-2020 and the 2020 cohorts.
  • The third phase aims to use the quantitative measure of assessment modification to estimate its effect on higher education application outcomes using a difference-in-differences framework coupled with statistical matching techniques.  

Published outputs:

About the data

The data shared through the GRADE initiative includes three main sources of de-identified, linked administrative data:

  • The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) – including data on GCSE and A level examinations and qualifications collected from awarding organisations
  • Department for Education – including extracts of the National Pupil Database for GCSE and A level students
  • UCAS – including data from the university application process.

For more information about the data, access the Grading and Admissions Data for England (GRADE) framework.

Duration: September 2022 – August 2023

Funding: £107,456

The GRADE fellowship is a partnership between Ofqual, the Department for Education, UCAS and ADR UK.

The dataset is accessible to accredited researchers via the Office for National Statistics Secure Research Service.

Categories: ADR UK Research Fellows, ADR England, Office for National Statistics, Children & young people

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