In the UK, most prospective university students study ‘traditional’ academic qualifications such as A-Levels. However, increasing numbers of students are entering UK higher education with 'non-traditional' or vocational qualifications. This has provoked debate about the relationships between entry qualifications and degree outcomes; this paper investigates this relationship in sport and exercise science. Data from five large cohorts of undergraduates at a post-1992 university in the Midlands of England are analysed to investigate predictors of degree outcomes. The models predict better degree outcomes for those with higher UCAS tariff points; who studied A-Levels; who were female and white. Students entering with only vocational qualifications were more likely to be BME, male, and from poorer backgrounds. Therefore, the apparent associations between entry qualifications and outcomes can misrecognise the importance of the qualifications themselves. Students are not randomly distributed between post-16 qualification pathways and any associations with degree outcomes might be a function of factors that influenced choices at aged 16. This is particularly important now, amidst major reforms of post-16 qualifications in England, including the development of the new Technical Level qualifications.
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- Sport and exercise science
- level 3 qualifications
- UCAS tariff points
- degree outcomes