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UCAS updates points;Curriculum 2000

A NEW university admissions points scheme is to give academic and vocational qualifications equal weight, writes Sarah Cassidy.

A-levels, general national vocational qualifications, key skill qualifications and access courses will be scored on a unified points system from 2002.

Under proposals by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, they will all carry points which can help candidates secure a university place.

The new points framework would award 120 UCAS points for an A grade and 60 for an E. Under the existing tariff an A is worth 10 points and an E two.

Vocational courses would carry the same weight as A-levels and the new key skill qualifications will carry up to 20 points each for tests in numeracy, literacy and computer skills.

But there is no guarantee the new framework would give students with vocational qualifications or key skills a better chance of a university place.

UCAS points are often used as a rule-of-thumb guide to university offers, but admissions tutors often specify which grades and subjects they require candidates to achieve.

A UCAS spokesman said: "The current system is very crude and outdated. It was never meant to be used as a guide to university admissions."

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