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University Admissions - Something Odd?

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A-Level results are out today - my daughter did OK <_<

She tells me that some of her friends, however, have been turned down for their offered Uni places because their A-level results are too HIGH.

My first reaction is that this is utter BS, and the kids are covering up for something - but I know the kids she refers to, and they are bright.

Given that our education system was manipulated by complete imbeciles for the past 13 years, is this possible? Is there some wierd social engineering going on in the background?

Has anyone else heard of a kid being refused a Uni place because they were too qualified? I am still sceptical.

Unfortunately our education system is so dysfunctional I am cynical enough to give this tale some credence, rather than reject it out of hand.

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A-Level results are out today - my daughter did OK <_<

She tells me that some of her friends, however, have been turned down for their offered Uni places because their A-level results are too HIGH.

My first reaction is that this is utter BS, and the kids are covering up for something - but I know the kids she refers to, and they are bright.

Given that our education system was manipulated by complete imbeciles for the past 13 years, is this possible? Is there some wierd social engineering going on in the background?

Has anyone else heard of a kid being refused a Uni place because they were too qualified? I am still sceptical.

Unfortunately our education system is so dysfunctional I am cynical enough to give this tale some credence, rather than reject it out of hand.

Ten years as a senior Uni lecturer and have never heard of this. Universities want the best performing candidates (for a whole range of reasons)- so why would they turn them away?

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She tells me that some of her friends, however, have been turned down for their offered Uni places because their A-level results are too HIGH.

It's BS. Once An offer is placed and accepted it's more or less set in stone. There are limited circumstances where the student can switch after meeting the requirements of the offer, but a university is bound to honour the place.

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Independent school perhaps? Could be that's what behind it and the 'grades too high' thing is just a euphamism.

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Its no time to stand by to be English and polite in these trying times.

I'd try the polite approach first, then complain loudly, and go in person to the head. Make a big fuss. Get the local paper involved if you must. Fight for survival.

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Ten years as a senior Uni lecturer and have never heard of this.

Only nine in my case, but ditto.

There are two types of UCAS offer: unconditional and conditional. Unconditional offers are usually only made in cases where the applicant has done their 'A' levels (or equivalent) and is applying in the subsequent academic year: i.e. their results are already known and therefore it's not necessary to make an offer on the basis of predicted grades. There are one or two exceptions, e.g. music and medical schools that set their own admissions exams or auditions, and will make offers based on those rather than school qualifications, processing unconditional offers through UCAS to satisfy the bureaucracy. Conditional offers, however, are the norm. They are an offer of a place if you achieve specified 'A' level (or equivalent) results. If you get that or better the institution has to let you in, and if the applicant has made a firm acceptance he or she is contractually obliged to go. If your offer is conditional on AAB and you get three As, it still converts into a firm offer.

For the programme I teach on we over-recruited by three (for a cohort of 45) on people who made their offer grades. No luck for the kids who just missed their offer, sadly.

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'A' levels are like dog years. BBB a decade ago is like AAB today. Anyway I do tire of all these 'A' level stories. Every August it's wheeled out for a day or two only to be stuck back in the cupboard for another year. It's like bloody Wimbledon!

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Have you also looked at the marking criteria?

No, the marking criteria and pass thresholds may have changed. Is anyone here able to make informed comment (i.e. are involved in setting or assessing A-level papers)?

I get the impression that teaching standards have not declined, and have probably improved. Some of the sociopaths who taught me in my school would probably not be employed as teachers nowadays.

I feel that kids who are being told that their A-levels are too easy and are worthless (or at least, worth less) are not being treated fairly by the media.

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She tells me that some of her friends, however, have been turned down for their offered Uni places because their A-level results are too HIGH.

At a guess, chinese whispers starting from "you didn't get the grades, and we're not lowering them to accommodate you because other applicants got grades too HIGH to leave us with spare capacity".

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No, the marking criteria and pass thresholds may have changed. Is anyone here able to make informed comment (i.e. are involved in setting or assessing A-level papers)?

I get the impression that teaching standards have not declined, and have probably improved. Some of the sociopaths who taught me in my school would probably not be employed as teachers nowadays.

I feel that kids who are being told that their A-levels are too easy and are worthless (or at least, worth less) are not being treated fairly by the media.

Isn't a lot of it modular now? Resubmitting the same coursework until you get the grade you want? And what about plaigiarism over the last decade due to the massive growth of the Web offering cheat sheets/answer cribs/software that provides all the questions in a multi-choice question bank. All available now on the Internet. I don't believe the growth in the Internet and the rapid growth in good grades aren't correlated in some way.

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I worked for an exam board in the UK. It was generally accepted that marking criteria had become more lax for some papers over the years. There is less focus on the quality of written answers (grammar, spelling etc.) and more on just mentioning certain points. This has effected GCSE more than A-level.

Some A level exams are still bloody hard though. An A in maths at A-level is a better indication of a persons intelligence than a degree result in my opinion.

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I worked for an exam board in the UK. It was generally accepted that marking criteria had become more lax for some papers over the years. There is less focus on the quality of written answers (grammar, spelling etc.) and more on just mentioning certain points. This has effected GCSE more than A-level.

That's what I suspected. The biggest problem I have with first year undergraduates is trying to enable them to make the transition from just regurgitating facts and knowledge to using them to form an argument and/or make deductions. Nine out of ten 'Why did I only get 55? But I covered everything you said in the lecture!' type tutorials I give boil down to this issue. The current 'A' level system's emphasis on ticking boxes has also discouraged initiative, too. When they discover that they're supposed to find books and other research material that hasn't necessarily been cited in a lecture or flagged up as essential reading in the module guide, that is often an uncomfortable moment. Another one is the realisation that they can't routinely ask for their work to be remarked if they don't like the mark they got the first time round, and that if they fail the first attempt without formally recognised mitigating circumstances (for which - shock, horror - we ask for evidence!) the resit is capped at a mark of 40.

The impression I'm getting is to validate the one I got from almost a decade of university teaching: that in theory, some 'A' level questions can challenge the brightest to produce answers that are as rigorous as they've ever been, but also give the not-so-bright a much easier ride and, through an emphasis on surface level knowledge recall and the right to do multiple resits without penalty, enable them to achieve an inflated grade relative to their actual ability.

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She tells me that some of her friends, however, have been turned down for their offered Uni places because their A-level results are too HIGH.

Utter tripe. IIRC offers are legally binding. If they have met their offer (or exceeded it) the place is theirs.

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Isn't a lot of it modular now? Resubmitting the same coursework until you get the grade you want? And what about plaigiarism over the last decade due to the massive growth of the Web offering cheat sheets/answer cribs/software that provides all the questions in a multi-choice question bank. All available now on the Internet. I don't believe the growth in the Internet and the rapid growth in good grades aren't correlated in some way.

Colleges and universities tend to use pretty clever anti plagarism software these days I remember seeing it as early as 11 years ago. It highlighed suspicious bits and then you had to manually check them, verbatim things written were easily spotted. I reckon with 10 years + of software development it has become more advanced. Which I think coincides with a trend I've noticed where instead of essays for you to download, they pay somebody £200 to write something for them so that it is entirely original.

I can't remember the link but there is some software that also does this for pictures which is a much more difficult task. Some cheeky SOB downloaded one of my pictures, then cropped out my watermark (when I used to put them on the corners) THEN stuck his OWN water mark on it all over. Which is why most of my recent pictures are watermarked heavily and require substantial amounts of photoshop time to remove.

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I worked for an exam board in the UK. It was generally accepted that marking criteria had become more lax for some papers over the years. There is less focus on the quality of written answers (grammar, spelling etc.) and more on just mentioning certain points. This has effected GCSE more than A-level.

Some A level exams are still bloody hard though. An A in maths at A-level is a better indication of a persons intelligence than a degree result in my opinion.

How about University Maths? School math is so simple. They only touch on the concepts and you only have to do mechanical sums, not work out what the sums mean.

A level is a better indication of a person's intelligence sounds like, I didn't do Uni or I did a simple degree and am embarrassed about it, (Not saying that you did either) but subjectively, that is how it comes across to me.

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Colleges and universities tend to use pretty clever anti plagarism software these days I remember seeing it as early as 11 years ago.

The most widespread is an online thing called Turnitin.

It highlighed suspicious bits and then you had to manually check them...

That's the problem. In my subject area at least (modern history), it generates so many false positives as to be virtually useless.

I do, however, have a pretty clever anti plagiarism technique that doesn't require any software at all: it's called an exam!

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The most widespread is an online thing called Turnitin.

That's the problem. In my subject area at least (modern history), it generates so many false positives as to be virtually useless.

I do, however, have a pretty clever anti plagiarism technique that doesn't require any software at all: it's called an exam!

I always worked on the basis that if an essay features the correct use of a semi-colon, the work is almost always plagiarised...

:D

.

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I worked for an exam board in the UK. It was generally accepted that marking criteria had become more lax for some papers over the years. There is less focus on the quality of written answers (grammar, spelling etc.) and more on just mentioning certain points. This has effected GCSE more than A-level.

Some A level exams are still bloody hard though. An A in maths at A-level is a better indication of a persons intelligence than a degree result in my opinion.

Oops!

Indicative of slipping standards? :rolleyes:

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A-Level results are out today - my daughter did OK <_<

She tells me that some of her friends, however, have been turned down for their offered Uni places because their A-level results are too HIGH.

My first reaction is that this is utter BS, and the kids are covering up for something - but I know the kids she refers to, and they are bright.

Given that our education system was manipulated by complete imbeciles for the past 13 years, is this possible? Is there some wierd social engineering going on in the background?

Has anyone else heard of a kid being refused a Uni place because they were too qualified? I am still sceptical.

Unfortunately our education system is so dysfunctional I am cynical enough to give this tale some credence, rather than reject it out of hand.

I personally know of 3 kids who were given this reason by Oxford colleges. The term they use is "unteachable", meaning "the tutor is threatened by them."

One applied the next year (to a more prestigious college) and was accepted with open arms. Another one ended up in the national newspapers. The third never bothered applying again, and went to a good US school. (In this last case, they accused him of cheating on an entrance exam, based purely on the fact that he did too well...the fellow was a right genius, so I have no doubt that his test results were accurate. I suspect that the real reason was that they had had financial problems with his sister and just didn't want the ball ache.)

Having said all of that, I suspect the kids are covering up something.

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  • 261 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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