Use of contextual offer grades in law admissions - 2015 to 2019

John Dimitroulopoulos made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to London School of Economics

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

John Dimitroulopoulos

Dear London School of Economics,

Please provide the following data in relation to all of your undergraduate law courses (i.e. any course with course code M1**) for the following admissions cycles:

2015/16
2016/17
2017/18
2018/19

1. Whether the university currently operates a ‘contextual offers’ policy where law applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds are, subject to meeting certain criteria, eligible to be made a lower grade offer than applicants who do not meet such criteria;

2. If such a policy is in place, the A-level or IB grades that typically make up this lower ‘contextual offer’ (for example, AAA instead of A*AA);

3. The number of ‘contextual offers’ made to applicants to all law-related courses throughout these four admissions cycles (for example, 4 in 2015/16, 2 in 2016/17, etc).

Yours faithfully,

John Dimitroulopoulos

GLPD.Info.Rights, London School of Economics

Dear John,

With reference to your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, please find below the information you requested.

1. Whether the university currently operates a ‘contextual offers’ policy where law applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds are, subject to meeting certain criteria, eligible to be made a lower grade offer than applicants who do not meet such criteria;

Contextual Admissions Policy at LSE:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Underg...

For applicants from the UK that are eligible for Home tuition fees, contextual information is used to gain a more complete picture of the educational and individual context of an applicant. This allows our admissions selectors to assess achievement and potential whilst recognising the challenges an applicant may have faced in their educational or individual circumstances.

What contextual information is used?

The following six pieces of contextual information, supplied by UCAS will be flagged for the attention of the admissions selector:

1. Time spent in local authority care. This information is self-declared on the UCAS form and verified at a later stage.
2. The performance of the school/college where the applicant took their GCSEs (or equivalent qualification). Specifically, where the school’s or college’s performance is below the national average.
3. The performance of the school/college where the applicant took their A levels (or equivalent qualification). Specifically, where the school’s or college’s performance is below the national average.
4. The home postcode of the applicant is compared against the POLAR 3 dataset. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) assess how likely young people from different postcodes are to progress to Higher Education. We will flag applicants with postcodes in quintiles 1 and 2 (the 40 per cent least likely to attend university). The Office for Students has a POLAR 3 postcode checker on their website.
5. Participation in an LSE Widening Participation (WP) programme. Applicants who have completed an LSE WP programme, including LSE CHOICE, LSE Pathways to Law, LSE Pathways to Banking and Finance or LSE Year 11 Summer School.
6. Other individual circumstances that may have disrupted or adversely affected an applicant’s education and achievement, as outlined in an Extenuating Circumstances Form.

How is contextual information used?

Applicants who have been flagged for the attention of the admissions selector will receive additional consideration. The selector may use this information in the following ways:

- to make an applicant a standard offer where the applicant’s academic record (e.g., GCSEs/AS levels or equivalent) or personal statement may be marginally less competitive than the cohort overall

- to make an applicant a standard offer where the applicant is predicted marginally below the usual entry requirements

- to make an applicant a “contextual offer” (which may be marginally lower than the standard offer for the programme).

- when making confirmation decisions for offer holders that have marginally failed to meet the entry criteria (usually this means one grade below the standard entry requirements).

Contextual information is used as part of the holistic admissions assessment and applicants are assessed alongside all other similar applicants, therefore having a contextual flag does not guarantee that an offer will be made.

The current contextual admissions policy at LSE allows for contextual offers but in practice very few are made. Contextual data is mostly used to make standard offers where the applicant academic record (or personal statement) is less competitive than the overall cohort or where the predictions are marginally below the entry requirements.

2. If such a policy is in place, the A-level or IB grades that typically make up this lower ‘contextual offer’ (for example, AAA instead of A*AA);

Contextual offers are by definition 'non-standard' so there is no standard contextual offer. The offer will be made at the level deemed appropriate by the Admissions Selector (based on the contextual information) although typically this will be one grade below the standard offer.

3. The number of ‘contextual offers’ made to applicants to all law-related courses throughout these four admissions cycles (for example, 4 in 2015/16, 2 in 2016/17, etc).

2015/16 - 0
2016/17 - 0
2017/18 - 0
2018/19 - 0

If you think that the information provided does not meet your request, contact me on 020 7849 4622 or write to Louise Nadal, School Secretary, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE. We will then review the response to your request and get back to you within 20 working days. You can also contact the Information Commissioner's Office http://www.ico.gov.uk/, though they expect the internal review to be carried out before receiving a complaint directly.

The provision of information by the LSE under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not imply a right to copy, reproduce publish or otherwise use such information.

Copying or reproducing such information in any way either in whole or in part without prior written consent may be an infringement of copyright or other intellectual property right belonging to the LSE or a third party.

Yours sincerely,
Rachael Maguire
Information and Records Manager
London School of Economics

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