Repository logo

Progressing to Higher Education in the UK: The effect of prior learning on institution and field of study

Published version

Change log


Vidal Rodeiro, Carmen 
Sutch, Tom 
Zanini, Nadir 


Students applying to study a course in a Higher Education (HE) institution have to make two choices: what subject to study and at which institution. These decisions are influenced by a range of different factors, for example their personal interests, their socio-economic background and, in particular, their prior qualifications and performance. However, new qualifications that aim to prepare learners for study at university have been introduced quite recently, some qualifications have been withdrawn, and others are being comprehensively reformed. It is therefore crucial to better understand how current qualifications, both academic and vocational, are used by young people to progress to HE. The main aim of this work was to provide detailed quantitative evidence to shed light on this topic. Specifically, the research focused on the following issues: understanding the range of qualifications and combinations of qualifications held by learners aged 16-19 who progressed to different types of HE institutions to study different subjects, and identifying the HE destinations (both institutions and subjects) of learners holding different types of qualifications and of learners with a mixed economy of qualifications.



Impact of assessment, Higher/Further Education

Journal Title

Research Matters

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

Publisher DOI

Publisher URL