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Should Scotland introduce an A* Grade?

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    I was wondering what you would think about Scotland introducing an even higher grade than an A (or a 1 at Standard Grade)?

    I personally think it would be a good idea, after all the highest grade we can achieve in Scotland is only 70%? Sure you need to work hard but to be honest it's not that difficult..

    I think A*'s would motivate students even more to work hard and try to achieve their maximum potential! They would most probably be awarded for 85-90%+ so people could have more credit for achieving A band 1's in their Highers!

    Of course, there is the possibilities Universities could start raising the standard of entry requirements as well. This could possibility limit the number of candidates applying to high demand courses such as Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Veterinary Medicine etc..

    How would you feel if they introduced it? Bad idea or good idea?
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    We already have it?

    A1 is generally >85%. A2 70% - 85%.
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    If it hasn't already got it then yes
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    (Original post by mimx)
    We already have it?

    A1 is generally >85%. A2 70% - 85%.
    Yes but when we receive our results in the post we are given no recognition or credit for achieving an A band 1, which in my eyes is a lot more work, having to secure another 15% in the exam. You basically have to memorise and know anything that could come up in the exam just making a few mistakes here and there.

    I'm not certain on this, but when you apply to University through UCAS, do you fill in what bands you received or just your overall grade? If it's just your overall grade it's sort of a lot of additional work for no reason.

    A*'s would give pupils who worked even harder more recognition and ultimately benefit their application.
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    Universities are free to ask for your bands if they want to use them in their decision. Some do, most don't.

    You are also free to mention it in your application if you think it will help.

    If you want to know your bands just ask your school or send off a DPA request to the SQA. Point is they do exist though.
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    Universities will often see your band, and the ones who expect A* from A Level pupils will almost definitely see them, thus we kind of already have the A* grade

    I'd really like to see the SQA start printing the grades with the band on your certificate, so instead of "A" it would be "A1", "A2" etc, or at least allow you to see them through mySQA!
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    They do exist and they shouldn't be on your certificate as it will just lead to grade inflation and universities requiring even higher grades.

    I have an offer to an English uni for A1A1A at advanced higher so it does exist, even though it can't be officially proven. If it was an official grade at higher and advanced higher, then it would mean a complete review and overhaul of the SQA, UCAS tariffs and uni entrance requirements.

    SG/Int.2's don't actually matter so there is no need, an A is an A.
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    (Original post by AeroLB)
    They do exist and they shouldn't be on your certificate as it will just lead to grade inflation and universities requiring even higher grades.
    Why shouldn't universities be able to differentiate between high A and low A candidates? Without bands the person with 70% has the same application as the person with 100% even though one of them didn't know almost a third of the course.

    It's not like the number of uni places will shrink, they'll just go to more deserving candidates.
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    (Original post by mimx)
    Why shouldn't universities be able to differentiate between high A and low A candidates? Without bands the person with 70% has the same application as the person with 100% even though one of them didn't know almost a third of the course.

    It's not like the number of uni places will shrink, they'll just go to more deserving candidates.
    Higher entrance requirements will push so many excellent candidates out of a place, high grades doesn't necessarily mean more deserving.

    It means more emphasis will be put on extremely high grades rather than other attributes. Anyway, there is no way the A* would be needed for entry into Scottish universities, English maybe, but not Scottish as entry requirements are in general pretty low.
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    In terms of uni applications I don't think it matters as the advanced highers are there to show who are the top applicants.

    But in general an A* for highers would be good.
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    (Original post by NR09)
    In terms of uni applications I don't think it matters as the advanced highers are there to show who are the top applicants.
    Do you mean an A* wouldn't differentiate people because there are already very few people getting As? Because the A area at AH is huge.

    As to OP-I think the current banding is fine. But mebbe I'm just nostalgic...
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    (Original post by AeroLB)
    Higher entrance requirements will push so many excellent candidates out of a place, high grades doesn't necessarily mean more deserving.
    That's up to the university. There are so many candidates per place that there will be plenty that are practically indiscernible. Lots of people have 5 As and an all right personal statement. Right now the way universities choose between such candidates is random chance. Why is that better than using the bands?


    (Original post by AeroLB)
    Anyway, there is no way the A* would be needed for entry into Scottish universities, English maybe, but not Scottish as entry requirements are in general pretty low.
    I don't understand. You claim to be worried that universities will up their entry requirements, but now you're saying there's no way they'll up their entry requirements?


    (Original post by AeroLB)
    It means more emphasis will be put on extremely high grades rather than other attributes.
    Which attributes do you think are more important than academic performance?
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    Ok, I'll make my point a bit clearer.

    There is no need for an A* in SQA system. There are no courses in the Scottish University system that NEED candidates to have secured 85% + in an exam.

    If the A* were to be introduced, then the system would be regarded at equivalent to GCSE/AS/A2 Level (even though we know it is not equivalent, but try persuading an English school/uni any differently) and the entrance requirements to ENGLISH universities would increase to include these A* at AH, which would be unfair as this is NOT equivalent to A* at A-level.

    Universities don't choose to give offers to similar candidates - thats why there are interviews and personal statements, where, surely if you are truly interested in your subject, it will show by means of work experience/interests.
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    OK, but there are lots of people interested in their courses and lots 'deserving' of a university place based on just the bog standard grades and all the other stuff. But that doesn't solve the problem of how universities are supposed to discriminate between two candidates who are at the same level on the basic info... they both love their subject, they both did great at interview, etc, etc, etc.

    Why on earth wouldn't they use bands in such a situation?
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    (Original post by AeroLB)
    Ok, I'll make my point a bit clearer.

    There is no need for an A* in SQA system. There are no courses in the Scottish University system that NEED candidates to have secured 85% + in an exam.

    If the A* were to be introduced, then the system would be regarded at equivalent to GCSE/AS/A2 Level (even though we know it is not equivalent, but try persuading an English school/uni any differently) and the entrance requirements to ENGLISH universities would increase to include these A* at AH, which would be unfair as this is NOT equivalent to A* at A-level.

    Universities don't choose to give offers to similar candidates - thats why there are interviews and personal statements, where, surely if you are truly interested in your subject, it will show by means of work experience/interests.
    Some english unis ask for A1s already. Pretty reasonable really, as for top courses, an A is not that much of a discriminator.
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    (S)he knows, I think (s)he's applied there

    I agree that English unis don't have a clue about our qualifications though. Well most of them don't.
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    (Original post by mimx)
    (S)he knows, I think (s)he's applied there

    I agree that English unis don't have a clue about our qualifications though. Well most of them don't.
    In fairness, I think the difficulty of AHs is a bit overrated by people in Scotland quite frequently. To my mind, the main disparity in results is to do with provision for teaching of both, rather than difficulty of course. Of course, modularisation of A levels is pretty helpful there.
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    Doesn't really matter if it's harder or easier or why it might be either, just that it's not the same.

    Ideally they'd pick a percentile based on % score and apply it across all qualifications in the ballpark for entry.

    It's probably way worse if you're an international, you must get a lot of silly offers. I imagine for many countries they just guestimate it.
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    (Original post by mimx)
    Doesn't really matter if it's harder or easier or why it might be either, just that it's not the same.

    Ideally they'd pick a percentile based on % score and apply it across all qualifications in the ballpark for entry.

    It's probably way worse if you're an international, you must get a lot of silly offers. I imagine for many countries they just guestimate offers.
    I suppose for the most part they don't really understand. I mean, I knew a guy who got an AA offer for maths at Warwick(ludicrously low really). IB I think gets it pretty bad, but some of the international stuff is rubbish, yeah.
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    (Original post by Slumpy)
    I suppose for the most part they don't really understand. I mean, I knew a guy who got an AA offer for maths at Warwick(ludicrously low really). IB I think gets it pretty bad, but some of the international stuff is rubbish, yeah.
    I don't know whether it's ok to be upset with them about it though. I'm not sure how many Scottish students apply down South what with the fees and all. If it's a considerable number then yeah it would be nice of them to look into it.

    But for other countries from which maybe one guy every three years applies, I'm not sure they'll have the resources to investigate what a 'good' set of results is. So they get ridiculously hard or ridiculously easy offers.

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