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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

UK blames lenient pandemic grading for soaring college dropout rate

Earning A-levels was easier for British students during the pandemic. Passing college classes is harder. Worried by a 30 percent college dropout rate, the U.K. will return to tougher pre-pandemic grading, reports WION's Abhinav Singh.

Photo: ICSA

Fewer A grades will be awarded this year, warned Gillian Keegan, the education secretary. “It is vital that qualifications hold value so that universities and employers understand the distinction between grades when recruiting, and pupils get the opportunities they deserve."

For two years, teachers graded their own students on A-level exams. In one private school, "the proportion of A* results rose from 33.8 per cent in 2019 to 90.2 per cent in 2021," writes Singh.

In the U.S., first-year college dropout rates are 17.6 percent at public four-year institutions and 19.5 percent and non-profit, private four-year colleges. Open-admissions schools, such as for-profit colleges and community colleges have much higher failure rates.

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. students complete a bachelor's degree in six years at public colleges and universities, 78 percent at private, nonprofit institutions.

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