uni admissions criteria– background not taken into account

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  • uni admissions criteria– background not taken into account
  • Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    anagallis_arvensis – Member
    You really believe that some fee paying schools didadvantage the kids?

    100% yes. That is why it is not “always” the correct choice for a child whatever the ability to pay/parents wishes etc. And within the independent sector there are also major differences in how children are educated and prepared/spoon fed for exams. Hence sweeping generalisations are unlikely to be helpful IMO.

    Sweeping generalisations like kids from poorer families do worse in education are useful imo to help try and get the best outcomes for the most people.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
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    Yes, directly (limited) and indirectly much more (brother and SIL, governor and headmistress in state sector) – hence lots of family discussions on these topics. I really dont want to go into the pros and cons here, because these debates tend to get unnecessarily “heated”. But my experience is very different to joe’s obviously – indeed the whole debate about spoon feeding and subsequent uni success was discussed en famille very recently. It was one of my nephew’s friends who was spoon fed through A levels (in a v successful state school) who told us that she found Uni very difficult as she was total unprepared. Now this has no bearing on being a state school per se – that is more likely a coincidence. But more that spoon feeding kids through A levels in whatever school is ultimately counter-productive.

    There are very good reasons why people send children to private schools – but those who believe that it will result in spoon feeding and automatic Uni entry are most likely to be very disappointed in their investment (sic).

    Edit AA, re earlier post about disadvataging kids, my response was in relation to some kids, not all. Different pupils require different types of schools to bring out the best in them IMO.

    jonba
    Member

    People must send kids to private schools for some reason.

    I imagine because, as this thread suggests, people think that they offer a better education and ability to get into University. We are talking about positively discriminating in favour of state schools which to me implies that they put their pupils at a disadvantage compared to the private sector.

    In answer to the OP, it is a difficult question. It would be nice to think that potential could be assessed and the places given out on a more equal footing. I would be interested in the mechanics of it though. If you went to a state school, how many UCAS points is that worth?

    I would guess in reality it could be used to decide split decisions and borderline cases.

    FWIW I went to Durham, well known for taking a high number of private school pupils (who failed to get into Oxbridge 😉 ) and after 6 months you probably couldn’t pick the state vs privately educated ones based on performance, attitude or anything else. Largely it seemed random.

    More time and better resources would enable me to spoonfeed less. I could send them off to research for example. But limited contact time and limited preparation time prevent this. I would love to spend a day or two at some top private schools to find out what they do. It was also noticeable in my previous academic life that ex public school kids had very different attitudes to education. Not always for the better. They seemed weaker but more confident as a sweeping generalisation.
    As for heated debate I am avoiding the rugby thread for that reason although very kittle debate happens there just mudslinging. You are at least presenting a considered case.

    Raouligan
    Member

    I think this actually goes well beyond qualifications, granted independent schools with their resources are able to tackle teaching for examinations incredibly well, but that’s not the whole story. If anyone cares to take the effort to find it “The Class Ceiling” which was on Radio 4 some time ago by Polly Toynbee makes interesting listening.

    What independent schools are particularly good at resourcing is technique for UCAS forms, coaching for interviews and instilling a particular attitude in their pupils.

    sbob
    Member

    anagallis_arvensis – Member

    Could you explain why you think he’s got a chip on his shoulder hes just presented a few facts and figures.

    I suggest you re-read his posts, then come back to me if you’re still struggling.

    Edukator
    Member

    Utter rubbish from the BBC as usual.

    Check out the points system for university admission and you’ll find it includes points for a host of activities poor kids will never get the opportunity to do.

    There’s clear evidence that a private school pupil with the same A-level grades as a state school pupil will on average achieve a lower degree score. A large part of that is not the better education at the private school but that a state school pupil achieving similar results with similar ability will have greater self-motivation and thus continue to perform well when away from home with all the extra-curricular distractions of university.

    Edukator isnt it just the bbc report someones research. Whys it rubbish from them.
    Chiefgrooveguru how do you separate the various different factors? How do you know its not the educatkon they recjeve?

    Raouligan
    Member

    Chiefgrooveguru that research is very very limited as you’ll find if you look at it…

    Oh and for other people who don’t know the points system is irrelevant to a good UK institution so your piano exam would only be any good as an illustrator of dealing with workload and flexibility in your personal statement.

    Grades not points matter, which is why students with BTEC will often struggle to gain entry to elite academic courses.

    It doesn’t matter what the factors are – the important point is that university admissions should take into account people’s backgrounds because achieving top grades at a rough inner city comp is a greater achievement than doing the same at a school where most of the parents are paying a lot of money to give you a better education. I was in the latter group – scraped a 2.2 at uni because I was enjoying the novelty of no longer being at school six days a week and having to work hard with exams being the main focus from eight to eighteen. Learnt how to play bass well though! 😉

    Edukator
    Member

    Because the BBC haven’t reported critically. Journalists should always report from a critical standpoint.

    One of Madame’s colleagues has a daughter whom has been offered a points target she is unlikely to attain not because she won’t do well in the Bac but because she doesn’t have better than grade 4 piano, a gold DOE and the number of GCSE grade “A”s she’d only be likely to get from a British public school. Ignoring the foreign factor how many poor British kids have DOE gold and grade 4 piano?

    chewkw
    Member

    Bring back Polytechnic … now you can either join the best Polytechnic or the worst University.

    :mrgreen:

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    I got into Cambridge having attended a comp which wasn’t exactly academically elite – the previous Oxbridge admission before me was 3 years above. Though clearly I was still privileged middle class with my grade 6 trumpet and silver DofE (never bothered to finish gold). Can’t say the interview was all that scary – it seemed to test ability to think rather than how much you’d been tutored, at least that was the impression I got and clearly I did OK. The question for those suggesting unis should take account of social background and not do interviews (as they apparently favour private education), how are Oxbridge supposed to select when everybody applying is predicted a full set of As and most get them?

    There’s clear evidence that a private school pupil with the same A-level grades as a state school pupil will on average achieve a lower degree score. A large part of that is not the better education at the private school but that a state school pupil achieving similar results with similar ability will have greater self-motivation and thus continue to perform well when away from home with all the extra-curricular distractions of university.

    Well I did do my best to disprove that theory 😳

    sbob
    Member

    Edukator – Member

    Utter rubbish from the BBC as usual.

    Check out the points system for university admission and you’ll find it includes points for a host of activities poor kids will never get the opportunity to do.

    Check out how Oxbridge uni’s admit students and you’ll find the points system is of zero relevence.

    CaptJon
    Member

    chiefgrooveguru – Member
    There’s clear evidence that a private school pupil with the same A-level grades as a state school pupil will on average achieve a lower degree score. A large part of that is not the better education at the private school but that a state school pupil achieving similar results with similar ability will have greater self-motivation and thus continue to perform well when away from home with all the extra-curricular distractions of university.

    Can you link to the clear evidence please? My experience is that self motivation cannot be linked to class or wealth.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Capt +1

    Same point with Olympics but that thread ended badly, so didn’t want to repeat.

    joemarshall
    Member

    Sutton trust did the long term study a few years back about grades at uni being better for state school educated kids (maybe 2011 – it’ll be on their website somewhere).

    There have also been various studies run internally at universities which have been reported – Cambridge did one while I was there, Cardiff have recently been in the news, as the observer obtained their private vs state school results study using a freedom of information request.All of them show state school students overachieving in comparison.

    I think the Cambridge interview differs per college, for me it was a night in a student room, followed by a grilling from a seriously unfriendly mathematician, then a nice chat (and some quick tests I think) with the computer science guy. Completely solitary experience, I only met two academics and a couple of porters. If it had only been the mathematician, who knows if I’d have gone there.

    Oh, and no chip on my shoulder about oxbridge, I had a lovely time there, I just feel strongly as someone who works in academia, that we should be trying to work out how to get the most able students onto our courses, rather than the current system, which clearly favours people with money to spend. If it takes some kind of ‘social engineering’ like looking beyond pure grades, then so be it

    Edukator
    Member

    If you want to go to Oxbridge your parents pay for Westminster school or Eton simple as. There’s also a good chance you and your cronies will end up running the country too so you can perpetuate the old-school-tie system.

    An interview (old-tie system) rather than a points system is even more insidious.

    Objective exam-based criteria that only include academic criteria all UK pupils have access to followed by an entry competition based exclusively on the subject applied for is the only way to avoid favouring rich, privileged kids.

    konabunny
    Member

    Good. Should be on merit only.

    You said merit but you meant exam results. Merit exists in a context.

    I’ve done two Oxbridge interviews (they correctly identified that I was a high A-level achieving layabout smartarse who would have just clogged up the course for a year before dropping out) and I’m willing to believe that the interviewers didn’t care how posh you were or not but gave everyone an equal shake. But if the whole educational system and social context is slanted in favour of certain applicants for the previous 18 years, that’s not really such a big impact on outcomes.

    Junkyard
    Member

    There are very good reasons why people send children to private schools – but those who believe that it will result in spoon feeding and automatic Uni entry are most likely to be very disappointed in their investment

    Are they? Could you explain your answer with reference to what % of those in private education go to a Russell group university and/or Oxbridge. In light of what % of the education system is made up of private and what % of the state what would you say this shows?
    I think even a cursory glance will show you they will be very pleased with their investment…tbh if they were not do you think they would bother? Do you think the schools make a point of stating their success in University admissions in their marketing blurb?

    I’m willing to believe that the interviewers didn’t care how posh you were

    Odd they keep disproportionately picking the posh ones then if they don’t care.

    Edukator
    Member

    Another possibility is a quota system: the number of places for privately educated pupils being the exact percentage of privately educated pupils in the country.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    The question for those suggesting unis should take account of social background and not do interviews (as they apparently favour private education), how are Oxbridge supposed to select when everybody applying is predicted a full set of As and most get them?

    The old Oxford entrance exams probably worked well for the top end – they were substantially harder than A-levels so could identify the raw talent, whilst filtering out the public school dross who might otherwise impress at an interview. Beyond those top and bottom bands, though, you just have the same issues with student coaching substantially distorting things.
    ISTM that it would still be a powerful selection method because they could craft the questions very carefully to try and differentiate between students. But the entrance exams were binned off a while back so you’d have to assume that was not the case.

    Premier Icon razor
    Subscriber

    Most of you a being a bit binary about this; private school = rich / privileged, comp = poor? What a narrow view.

    I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, went to an average comp, and didn’t make it to Uni. However, against all my political beliefs I have taken my own boys out of the state system which was failing them, and spent my whole life savings on sending them private. They have had great results, but they weren’t given them on a plate. They have had to work significantly harder and longer than they did before, with more discipline and much more pressure. Now I have to see their achievements downgraded to level the playing field with kids who are not as capable and / or did not work as hard?

    The fact that some of you are missing is how hard the entrance exam to the school was – it’s not just about your cheque book. They take bright kids and teach them well and they achieve great exam results. That is not co-incidence, and to suggest that they only achieved because they had time and money is complete rubbish.

    The real issue here is that this quality of education is not available in the comp system, and my view is that it should be. I can kind of understand why they did away with grammar schools, etc., but the comp system just seems to try to get everyone to the medium level of achievement whether you are academically gifted or challenged. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in society was capable of the same level of academic achievement? How fair and equitable. But who would do the rocket science and who would do the plumbing once they were in the workplace? If you happen to be “medium” academically, lucky you, but you are a minority in society and everyone else needs educating too.

    Teachers on here are not going to like this, but my experience of today’s comps is badly managed, inefficient, indisciplined, institutions held back from modernisation by political correctness and out-dated trade unions, that don’t properly prepare kids for uni or for work. It really wouldn’t be hard to get the system fit for purpose, and then there would be no place for the private sector. Instead it is booming in spite of a recession. Never wondered why that is?

    Lights blue touch paper and retires.

    trail_rat
    Member

    “but my experience of today’s comps is badly managed, inefficient, indisciplined, institutions held back from modernisation”

    ill be surprised if any teachers disagree with you …..

    It really wouldn’t be hard to get the system fit for purpose, and then there would be no place for the private sector.

    go on them?
    also could you let me know how much is spent per pupil in state and the average private school.
    if you hadn’t had significant life savings would it be fair the your kids didn’t do so well?

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    The fact that some of you are missing is how hard the entrance exam to the school was – it’s not just about your cheque book.

    Well I shared a flat in the first year at uni with a lad who’d had the most expensive private education money could buy. He was one of the most profoundly stupid individuals I’ve ever met in my entire life. He was so dense, he generated his own gravitational field.

    He’s probably a government minister now

    Edukator
    Member

    and spent my whole life savings on sending them private.

    If you have/had enough savings to pay for private education you fall into a common definition of rich “Some people would define rich as having more money than you “need” to live”.

    I’ve never wondered why, I know, been there seen that. 30+ in a class, a lack of resources and zero disciplinary back up are my first three.

    They have had to work significantly harder and longer than they did before, with more discipline and much more pressure.

    That’s my point. And once you go to university, does that pressure and discipline continue or was it from external sources such as the private school environment and the knowledge that your parents were spending so much to give you a better education?

    Then again, kids have to pay for university now (I was just pre-fees) so maybe that changes the mindset?

    Well I shared a flat in the first year at uni with a lad who’d had the most expensive private education money could buy. He was one of the most profoundly stupid individuals I’ve ever met in my entire life. He was so dense, he generated his own gravitational field.

    One of my worries was how many of the dim kids at my private school were the children of doctors and how many then went on to study medicine…

    Premier Icon razor
    Subscriber

    I’ve never considered myself rich, privileged or gifted, but I’ve worked hard for nearly 30 years and saved hard so I kind of think what I spend my money on is up to me, but my point is that this quality of education should be available from the state and it isn’t.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, went to an average comp, and didn’t make it to Uni. However, against all my political beliefs I have taken my own boys out of the state system which was failing them, and spent my whole life savings on sending them private. They have had great results, but they weren’t given them on a plate. They have had to work significantly harder and longer than they did before, with more discipline and much more pressure. Now I have to see their achievements downgraded to level the playing field with kids who are not as capable and / or did not work as hard?

    Sounds like you have this backwards, razor. It’s never about leveling the playing field for the less capable, it’s the opposite. The kids who stay in the state school, and get the same A-level results as your kids do, are 99% certain to be more capable, more hard-working and have more academic potential. But they have the same A-level grades. So how do the universities deal with that if a selection has to be made?

    ETA The quality of education certainly is available from the state, you just needed to have spent your savings moving to a new house. Oldest trick in the middle class play book that.

    I think private education is great – imagine how bad state education would be if it had to handle all the private school pupils too on the same budget! The sport and other facilities are in another league too. However I’m seriously worried that the cost of university level education is completely killing social mobility.

    There’s some lunatic belief in government (and has been since the ’90s) that almost everyone needs to go to university which is completely missing the point of high academia – and has driven the universities to have to charge fees, so eventually we’ll go from a situation where the clever kids from fairly wide backgrounds go to university to a situation where the family’s financials decide who goes.

    trail_rat
    Member

    “There’s some lunatic belief in government (and has been since the ’90s) that almost everyone needs to go to university which is completely missing the point of high academia – and has driven the universities to have to charge fees, so eventually we’ll go from a situation where the clever kids from fairly wide backgrounds go to university to a situation where the family’s financials decide who goes. “

    its not just government – have you tried getting a job without a degree OR OOODLEs of experiance in the job ?

    its going the way now that as a youngster to get a job you need a degree or a trade. There just doesnt seem to be the entry level posts that you can work through like there used to be – its all temps , and gone are the days when you can start as the cleaner and work up …. the cleaners are all outsourced for peanuts.

    i do think that if id had to pay my fees i wouldnt have gone to uni…. as it was i came out the otherside with a mech eng degree and it got me a good job – it took less hard work i believe than those doing apprenticeships…. just finding an apprenticeship in this day and age is a nightmare , very few companys want to afford to invest(money and time) in people and would rather poach skilled staff from other companies – its a never ending cycle that one.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Interesting thread and viewpoints.

    I believe the universities don’t have the tools or environment to correctly manage admissions. Firstly they are poorly funded which means they are pressured into admitting foreign students who pay higher fees at the expense of uk students. Secondly the exam system has been dumbed down to the level where differentiating students is very hard.

    Popular universities discriminate against private school kids for some courses, its a discrace and devalues the system. The issue with education is insufficient resources in the state sector, I’d love to have sent my kids to state school (they did their a levels at state school) but the rescources and standards were not as high. I went to state school and went to a good Uni and a postgrad at Oxford, it’s not about the background it should be purely about standards.

    konabunny
    Member

    The fact that some of you are missing is how hard the entrance exam to the school was – it’s not just about your cheque book.

    This is complete bollocks.

    Premier Icon razor
    Subscriber

    Really? You took the same exam did you?

    scuzz
    Member

    “Universities should consider where a student went to school, their parents’ occupation and whether either parent went to university.”

    Wait, so we should be increasing the impact a parent’s choices have upon their child? To all the people reading this at work who spend their time solving complex problems, go home! It turns out that to solve a very complex problem with no single cause, which no one can model, predict or accurately measure, we simply have to apply a very crude action across the board in the direction we’ve assumed is the opposite!

    (35%) considered that “evidence of success through a difficult start or background” was important.

    What does that even mean?

    konabunny
    Member

    Really? You took the same exam did you?

    My knowledge ain’t just academic 😉

    Raouligan
    Member

    PMSL at Jambalya…

    Yes there’s increasing numbers of overseas students, elite institution should have a large percentage of students from overseas as they’re global educators, their global reputation exists on pursuing, and recruiting the best students available to them from the pool…

    As for the best institutions disadvantaging students from independent schools have you read any of that Sutton trust material mentioned earlier?

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